Your child and mature media
As our children get older and older, we start to wonder whether certain topics or scenes are appropriate for their ability to understand. Do you censor the media that your child is exposed to? Are you inclined to let your child self-censor? Emily recently emailed her question, wondering if she and her spouse were the "squarest parents ever":
Our almost eight year old son thinks we are the squarest parents ever. Maybe we are, but we feel pretty strongly about limiting television, not owning any sort of video game system, and carefully screening movies for appropriateness, etc. I do feel somewhat hypocritical, however, as both my husband and myself were not raised by such picky parents. My husband has his old comic book collection in the basement, and is knows minute details of most science fiction and martial arts movies. WE both saw Star Wars when it came out in 1977, and WE were only 8 and 9 years old. We have planned on letting our son watch SW when he turns 8 in a couple of months, but he seems to be the last kid on the planet that hasn't seen it. Many kids in his class have seen ALL the Star Wars movies. And all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Transformers, all the Spiderman movies, Fantastic Four, and other mostly PG 13 movies. I don't get it, these are seven year old children. And younger. Many of these kids (including younger cousins) even have several different game systems and play fighting games that are rated for teens. II often refer to http://www.kids-in-mind.com/ to check out the scenes that might be violent or too mature and am curious about whether other parents do the same. We have bent on a few things: we'll allow supervised computer games on my laptop-even on controversial websites (to us, anyway) like bionicles.com lego.com, or even some cartoonnetwork.com games. We let him watch Saturday cartoons till nine-thirty or so. He's allowed to read some comic books.
My son really thinks he's ready to see more mature films, but I know he is not. We recently watched Black Beauty together and he covered his eyes and cried when one of the human characters got stabbed. He would probably react the same to the violent imagery in PG-13 movies, and once those images are in his head they are not going anywhere. But he's feeling left out and too sheltered, and maybe he his. Are we surrounded by inattentive parents, or are we too paranoid? Anyone else in a similar situation?