UNITED STATES—I’ve never been a fan of any sort of violence against children on TV or the big screen. To me I think it’s the one issue that is taboo in the entertainment industry. Not only do I think most individuals are not fans of seeing it, I frankly think it’s in bad taste. Last week’s episode of the AMC hit “The Walking Dead” raised the question rather violence against children should be depicted on the small screen.
The series has raised a few eyebrows in the past with its depiction of violence against, I mean Carl getting shot in season two, Carol killing Lizzie, and just this month the death of Sam and Ron, which might have been the most gruesome deaths I’ve witnessed on the series to date. Yes, “The Walking Dead” is unlike any series on television; we’re talking about fictional world where anything and ANYONE can die at any given second, including kids.
The issue that many have begun to raise is rather the gruesome nature of the violence has to be so vividly expressed to the viewer. I mean fans of the show were well aware that Sam never had a chance of survival, but to see the character viciously attacked in a way that just rips your heart out of your chest is hard to fathom.
Making matters worse is perhaps the emotional beating the viewer witnesses by watching his mother helplessly watch, then she is attacked, Carl is at risk, and then Ron is viciously stabbed to death with a sword, but not before firing a bullet into Carl’s eye. Yes. All of this took place in a matter of maybe 2-3 minutes.
I totally get the concept of the series, I’m not arguing with this notion that ANYTHING can happen at any given time, my concern is rather the boundaries are pushed a bit too far when we place children in such situations on the small or even the big screen where the violence is not covert, but depicted right in the viewer’s face? Do we have a responsibility to be socially aware of what is being put out there for the masses to consume?
Yes, plenty will make the argument that so much worse is seen in daily life for kids, and unfortunately that is a sad reality. Kids witness and see things on the nightly news that just should never happen, not to mention just this weekend; I heard a horrific news story about the body of a missing 4-year-old who was found in a basement. Hearing anything where violence is enacted on a child, is not only disturbing, but also enrages most adults I would suspect, it does to me.
This could be the reason that many filmmakers are quite careful about what they depict on the big screen in terms of children being in perilous situations. It’s ok to see them in danger, but perceptively speaking we as adults never want to see actual harm come to such innocence. The one question that those on the other side of the argument would make is that bad things happen to children all the time, sometimes we have to explore that territory and not be afraid to unleash that to the masses.
Understood, but I would make the argument by doing so what message are we acknowledging as a society, to our children, to our children’s children? You open a can of worms and all sorts of things will fall out, and with the entertainment industry (particularly film and television), we have to be more aware of what things we evoke to the consumers of our products, not just the adults, but kids who may witness such things as well. I mean “Days of Our Loves” is currently tackling a rape storyline involving a teen, which is just as controversial if not more difficult to watch unfold than what was witnessed during “The Walking Dead” premiere.
Bad things happen to adults all the time on TV and in the movies, but it has become apparent whenever it happens to a child, we automatically clam up, we ponder our thoughts, we emote, we feel 10 times harder than if it were an adult. I guess we have to ask our self why that is. My thought is, we immediately come back to reality and raise the question what one would do if that situation happened to our child or someone else’s child we know. We identify and we react with such ferocity it is hard to calm us down.