Sydney Mum finding motherhood is totes hectic
What films are you taking your 5 year old to these holidays? Paddington, Big Hero 6 or maybe The Hunger Games? I didn’t take my preschooler to see Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part 1, but the family in front of me did. They took their 5 year old and 6 year old. Two mums with two small kids who could barely see over their seats. I’d seen them in the movie foyer earlier. I thought the small one looked like Rue, the 12 year old who was killed in a previous Hunger Games film, except he was about 5, which is why I noticed.
My husband and I were shocked to see them enter the cinema. Aren’t they too young? what’s the classification of this film? Mockingjay is an M classification. Recommended for mature audiences of 15 years and over, but if you are younger than 15 a parent or guardian can accompany you. Basically a 5 year old can see this film provided they are not alone. This is not the first time I’ve seen primary school ages kids (under 10) at an M film.
Legally you can take a child under 10 to see a violent film, but would you? would you take them to see three people forced to kneel with black hoods over their heads being shot from behind? Or rows of injured people in a makeshift hospital who are soon blown up ? or bullets mowing down the rebels as they storm the dam walls?
The Hunger Games books are aimed at young readers. Suzanne Collins, the author, has a recommended age of 12 and over. Her publishers, Scholastic Books, says 13 and over. The film is classified as PG-13 in the United States, and 12A in the UK, meaning adults should accompany children which is similar to our M15 or M15+ rating.
What effect are such films having on young children. According to the American Pediatric Association
“Children younger than 8 years cannot discriminate between fantasy and reality, they may be especially vulnerable to some of these learning processes and may, thereby, be more influenced by media violence.”
The long terms effects? acting out violence, aggression and bullying behaviour. These are not recent findings in a small study. The medical community has been concerned since the 1950s and the evidence is clear and convincing. Watching violence creates real world violent and disturbing behaviour.
The Lancet’s study in the effects of violence both TV and video games, showed a more conclusive link between young boys and short-term fearfulness and aggression.
“There is consistent evidence that violent imagery in television, film and video, and computer games has substantial short-term effects on arousal, thoughts, and emotions, increasing the likelihood of aggressive or fearful behaviour in younger children, especially in boys.”
The Herald’s Film Critic, Rob Lowing, said kids aged 3-6 are ‘Disqualified!’ from seeing The Hunger Games and even at aged 7-12 it’s ‘Dubious’ to recommend the film.
If kids aged 8 and below have a hard time understanding fact from reality and young boys consistently show disturbing behaviour because of such violence, should there be a ban on kids under 8 even going to these films?
What do you think?
Note 1: I love these books and films but will hold back on showing them to the 2 & 3 year old for many years.
Note 2: Author of The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins, lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, the town of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.