Nightmares And Violent Movies
For many children, R-rated horror movies cause bedtime fears and nightmares that last for months. The content of movies has changed. We can now see the details of torture and brutality in slow motion. Cable TV and video rentals have also changed children's access to uncut versions of violent movies. Children see them at slumber parties or when no one is monitoring the TV set. Children simply don't have the defense mechanisms necessary to cope with gory movies, especially those that contain subjects such as personal attack and kidnapping. In addition, some of the mad slashers are portrayed as indestructible, which leaves even older children feeling vulnerable and helpless.
Here are some recommendations:
- First: Absolutely forbid all violent or horror movies before age 13. If your child breaks your rule, give a consequence such as no TV for 2 days.
- Second: Between 13 and 17, carefully consider the maturity and sensitivity of your child. Remember that some adults have nightmares after these movies.
- Third: Don't let your youngster rent any scary movies, unless you've seen them.
- Fourth: Tell sitters about your restrictions. Also mention your concern to other parents if your child is doing an overnight with them.
In summary: Being liberal about nudity or profanity in the movies is a personal matter, but allowing children to see gory movies is definitely harmful. Protect your child's mental health by knowing what movie he's watching.
If you have other questions about your child's fears, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.