Anthony Breznican, of Entertainment Weekly magazine, recently argued in EW’s new family section of the website that there are benefits to letting kids be scared by movies.
“Now, I don’t believe young children should watch The Exorcist. And I’m not sure humans of any age should watch the likes of Saw III. So we all have our opinions, and some are more easily agreed upon than others. That’s always how it will be. But as my generation of kids has turned into the parents, we’ve made a virtue out of sheltering our own children from any ghoul or ghostie less friendly than Casper. That can only lead to kids growing up to fear their own shadows. Generation X is raising Generation Ahh!”
“There’s a reason we crave scares, whether it’s the free-fall of a roller coaster or the dread of a Stephen King novel. As we clutch the edges of Pet Semetary, reading about a father resurrecting his deceased little boy, it’s the actual terror of losing a child that underpins the horror. The supernatural elements, if anything, are like those cushioned roller coaster straps that lock us in and make us safe before the plunge – this just feels dangerous, but it’s all pretend. It’s a defense mechanism as our psyches seek out the worst-case scenario….”
“Yes, we have to think about what’s appropriate for any given age, and yes, all kids are different. But to deny them access to the macabre entirely only creates a mind with a false sense of security. If we don’t let kids safely poke around the dark corners of their imaginations, how will they ever find out what’s hiding there?”
My kids are fairly sheltered from scary movies. I don’t like slasher movies and they have never seen anything close to those. (I do like adventure movies with surprising scares that make you jump but I don’t like any movies that show people being mutilated or killed.) We have just started watching some mildly scary movies like “Beetlejuice” or “The Nightmare before Christmas.”
Do you let your kids watch scary movies? How scary? What is an appropriate scary movie for kids, tweens, teens? Do you see benefits to these movies? (Check back in at noon for some great Tween “scary” movies ideas.)