Last night Joshua and I went to see the film “Cowboys vs. Aliens” – and Ben went with us. This movie is rated PG-13 for violence and cursing. But looking through the clips and reviews, I decided it was on par violence-wise with Raiders or Star Wars, and as to the cursing, when I mentioned it to Ben he shrugged and said, “Well I hope you know I won’t repeat it.”
The movie was great fun – Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig chewing up the scenery and battling ‘demons’ – and about 3/4 of the way through Ben leaned over to me and said, “Mama, this is the kind of movie I like!”
The argument I’ve heard is that I am desensitizing my kids to violence by letting them see such films. I asked Maya about this a few weeks ago – about if she thinks seeing violence in TV or movies causes her to be unaffected by it. She was emphatic in her response, which went something like, “Of course not! Movies AREN’T REAL. If I saw someone with a gun in real life I’d be afraid.”
Case in point: today my brother sent me a message about the son of a friend of his who was at the Indiana State Fair yesterday to see Sugarland in concert when a storm caused the stage scaffolding to collapse, killing four people in the front row and narrowly missing his friend’s son. (The woman standing next to him was crushed and killed.) With the message was a video clip, taken from some distance, of the collapse. And when we saw it we were all horrified and heartbroken for the people unlucky enough to have been in the front row that night. My kids gasped when they saw the stage fall. They were not dispassionate or unaffected by it. They are very clear on the difference between movies, TV and real life. Even in books, Maya says she prefers fiction because she hates to read non-fiction knowing that if something bad happens in the story it was a real event.
Our thoughts go out tonight to the families affected by the very real and tragic event at the Indiana State Fair yesterday.