I know lots of tweens and younger kids have read “The Hunger Games,” which I am still baffled by since it’s about teens fighting other teens to the death, but some groups are warning parents that seeing that type of violence is a lot different than just reading about it.
The website Common Sense Media is advising that kids only 13 years old or older see the movie. Here is some of what the site advises:
“What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although the bestselling Hunger Games books are enormously popular with tweens, there’s a clear distinction between reading about violence and seeing it portrayed on screen. Developmentally, the 10- to 12-year-olds who’ve read the book may find the movie’s visceral, sometimes bloody teen-on-teen violence upsetting — especially the brutal scene that opens the Games, in which several teens are slaughtered by their fellow contestants. Even young teens need to be mature enough to deal with the 20+ deaths in The Hunger Games; characters are viciously dispatched with various weapons — including spears, arrows, and swords — as well as by having their necks broken, their skulls cracked, and their bodies ravaged by carnivorous and poisonous creatures. Despite the violence (which is, overall, less graphic than the novel’s descriptions but is still very intense), the movie explores thought-provoking themes about reality television, totalitarian government, and screen violence as entertainment. And Katniss, the main character, is a strong heroine who’s resourceful, selfless, and a true survivor. Her mentor, Haymitch, is initially depicted as a cynical drunk, but he ultimately proves to be a valuable ally.”
The School Library Journal offered these thoughts on the movie:
“The filmmakers provide only a glimpse of children lying dead or in the act of killing other kids. Blood trickles, but doesn’t gush, as arrows, spears, knives, and even deadly wasps are employed to kill off one child after another. Still, viewers will be disturbed by some scenes, like when one of Katniss’s allies is felled by an arrow that’s hurled straight into the heart. In the end, the film, like Collins’s novel, offers as unflinching a look at the darkest side of human nature.”
“The filmmakers balance the action with some moments of calm-before-the-storm silence. The script leaves enough time to catch one’s breath (especially after an unnerving scene involving genetically engineered wasps). There’s also time allotted to watch the unfolding of the budding friendship between Katniss and Peeta, who gently flirt with one another amidst the orgy of human destruction erupting all around them.”
So what do you think? What age child/tween/teen are you willing to take to the movie? On a side note, can someone please explain to me how 8 and 10-year-old are reading this? (Kids in Walsh’s third-grade class have been reading it. He asked to and I told him “No Way!”)