Well in my opinion definitely not the latest Batman, Spiderman or Superman!
I am talking children of pre-school/reception year here, so the under-fives in particular.
Films have classifications for a reason. Even those classed as parental guidance really sometimes should not be shown to very young children.
Television as well has its division, CBeebies and Milkshake for the under sixes and CBBC and CITV as older counterparts. I know that with the 500 million channels out there, there is also Disney Junior, Nick Jnr, etc.
But as parents we have to be responsible for what our children watch.
SC watches CBeebies, occasionally Milkshake (and even then the ads are censored, even these can be inappropriate for the age range)
I firmly believe that children are extremely impressionable at this young age. Their imaginations work overtime and everything and anything can be used in play situations.
A firm favourite at the moment is Tree-Fu Tom. This is a harmless animated series about a little boy who has magical powers and does tree-fu (gets the children up doing basic non-violent martial art moves) whilst saving Treetopolis and his friends from some disaster.
However, SC loves the programme so much that he really believes he can do Tree-Fu magic. He went into school and started practising this magic, I hasten to add not touching any other child, just moving his arms around and making swoosh noises, but other children thought that because of the sounds and movement he was doing something menacing like trying to shoot them!
I had to explain to the teacher that (a) he has no idea what a gun is and (b) he doesn’t watch inappropriate television. I know it was all innocent, but how did these other 4 and 5 year olds know about guns and shooting and killing people? Obviously they have seen it somewhere.
After I spoke to SC, we now have a mantra before we go into school each day that he mustn’t do Tree-Fu magic, make noise or move his arms around!
He also doesn’t watch inappropriate films. Disney’s about as far as it goes in this house.
As parents we, no one else, we are responsible for what we let out children watch. Surely, if we think it something is not suitable, they do not watch it. It cares not one iota if little Jimmy in the playground watches it.
I have seen children playing who have been allowed to watch inappropriate television/films. It seems, especially boys, to make them more destructive in their play! I remember a little boy the same age as SC who had watched Spiderman, Batman, all the latest, and then watched as he took a toy and then wreaked havoc as all other children were playing, by violently hitting their toys, knocking down stuff with no care or regard for anyone else.
I know all little boys love action heroes, etc. But if you look at things, the Batman TV series of the sixties was innocent compared to the mindless violence that Hollywood shove down our throats in the latest Batman movie.
And that’s the whole point. Innocence. Life, to some degree was more innocent two or three generations ago. You only have to look at the films, TV series, lyrics to songs and pop stars. There were no (at least very few) children getting pregnant at 11. Cheesy pop the 80s may have had but you can still remember the lyrics to Karma Chameleon I’ll bet? Gyrating pelvises and scantily clad females were not shoved down your throat (for want of a better phrase), films too were gentler.
Is it since the birth of so much advanced technology – 500 million tv channels (and still nothing decent to watch), i-pods, i-phones, internet on demand everywhere and anywhere, computer games, etc that we started heading down the slippery slope of moral decline and loss of innocence?
Next time you go to the cinema, just look at the violence that each and every film has? Is it necessary?
When was the last time you saw a computer game that didn’t involve killing everyone in sight?
Children are children.
Life is tough enough as it is without ramming thoughts of violence, death and destruction into their heads from a young age. Unless we, as parents take responsibility the world is going to keep falling into the downward spiral it seems to be in.
One last thought on how impressionable children can be:
SC was at school, one little boy said that he was going to take another little boy chop him up, put him in a hole and blow him up! This child was 5! Where on earth did he get that sort of idea from if not from watching something wholly inappropriate?