UNITED STATES—Its October, and it’s a month that screams all things scary and spooky. Turn on the television and you are bound to see tons of horror movies on network and cable television. So what’s the big issue with being scared once in awhile? There might be more problems than we think.
Horror is something that sends chills down the spine of many children. The fear of the boogeyman or something lurking beneath the bed can create many sleepless nights. So I ask the question of rather its ok to allow children to see horror movies at a very young age? I would say at a very early age is a definitive no-no because the psychological trauma can be a bit much for a young child to take on. You might be asking how do I know, well I was a child who for some strange reason was intrigued by seeing scary movies at a very early age.
In fact, I think the first horror film I saw was “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers” and I was only 4 at the time. Yep, quite young, very young to say the least! The funny thing is the entire time I was in the movie theater, my eyes where tightly shut; it was as if I wasn’t even watching the movie, just listening to the sound. Now, before you go all bonkers, it wasn’t like my parents were ok with the idea. My mother was adamant about me not going. She was not having it at all.
So I literally sat on the stairs balling my eyes out because I so wanted to see this movie that I had no idea about. Why the need, I honestly can’t tell you as I can’t recollect all of the memories from all that time ago. But with the incessant crying my mother caved in and allowed my father to take me to the multiplex, but she warned “If he has any, and I mean any nightmares, it’s on you.”
I think that was a warning my father heeded, and did his best to convince me what was being depicted wasn’t real it was fake and I should be scared. That’s difficult to explain to children nowadays because a lot of what they see on television presents itself in such a realistic life they may not be able to decipher what is real from what is fake. Horror films back in the 70s and 80s had gimmicky special effects; in the present the goal is to make things as realistic as possible.
My biggest concern with the horror genre and its impact on youngsters is the level of violence. Horror is going for the jugular and has no remorse about the amount of bloodshed that is thrown in the viewer’s eyes. That is a big misconception. Horror does not equate bloodshed; horror is an impending sense of dread and fear. There is a big confusion of exactly what that means, but we can thank the 80s for creating that ideology and destroying the genre at the same time.
I think children should have the ability to be exposed to horror films when they can understand the difference between what is real and what is fake; but at the same time when their mind is psychologically adept to such content. Should a 2-year-old be watching a horror movie? No.
If you don’t have a babysitter unfortunately the child should stay at home. There is just such content the child shouldn’t be exposed to like: nudity, excessive violence and worse of all, some psychopath in a mask or with a frightening face. For some children it becomes difficult to rid themselves of a seeing a really scary face. So if a parent is concerned about what content is suitable for their child or not, then you already have the answer to your question.
I will argue one point I do not believe a child exposed to horror flicks at an early age becomes violent. While some studies have shown otherwise, I do not fully believe that theory 100 percent. I was exposed to horror films at a very early age and I might be the least violent person I know. The funny thing is I’m not a fan of violence in horror films at all; the bloodshed and brutality that is depicted in some horror is quite unnecessary in my opinion.
If a parent chooses to so a child a horror flick think of something that is scary without being overtly too scary. Think “Jaws” or perhaps “The Omen.” Those films are quite scary without throwing the excessive bloodshed into audience’s mind.