Those with toddlers: age appropriate entertainment?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Timon Russo, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. Timon Russo

    Timon Russo Stunt Coordinator

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    My 2 year old son has seen Star Wars. He loved it. He asks about it all the time, and I deny him because he seems to have a growing interest in guns and shooting pretend stormtroopers and sometimes me and mom.

    He also saw me playing Call of Duty with a friend some time ago and asks me about the "gun game" on the computer. Again, I say no and change the subject.

    But did I mention how his favorite activity is creeping around the house holding a pretend gun and shooting stormtroopers, aliens and bad guys? I admit, I have fun doing it with him, but am getting concerned that I am encouraging the wrong things.

    He watches the Incredibles, too. That has lots of guns and bad guys, etc.

    I guess I am wondering if I'm being too uptight about this. Is it appropriate for a 2-year-old? I had all kinds of real and pretend guns growing up, and loved playing war, and I turned out okay.

    What are some limits other people have? Or more simply, is it okay for him to watch Star Wars? As a parent, I am pretty much obligated to say this, but he is quite advanced for his age!
     
  2. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    Just tell him the truth - good people and bad people use guns, but they are dangerous and can hurt people. You have to instill the fact that it is good to be a peaceful member of society but at the same time not to allow others to take advantage of you.

    I should also say that if he shows interest, go with it - target shooting is an Olympic sport!

    Way too complex to explain in a thread, but I've been lucky with my daughter.
     
  3. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I am reminded of two things, one a quote I heard long ago and one a direct observation from my sister.

    First the quote: "Some parents are fine with the fact their sons play with toy guns, others are not. The first group's boys are indulged with the latest and greatest in play weaponry, while the latter have to resort to shooting each other with sticks."

    Now from my sister: "I was one of those parents who believed everything in the parenting magazines about not letting your kids play with violent toys. I only bought pacifist toys, thusly my boy would grow up to be a gentle soul who loved mankind. In order to stimulate his intellect and capacity for spacial thinking, on his third birthday I bought him the biggest set of Legos I could find. The first think he built? You guessed it ... a gun."

    Not that there is not some overlap or exceptions, having 16 nieces and nephews has convinced me that boys are boys and girls are girls and the only time problems arise from this is when you try to fight it.
     
  4. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Screenwriter

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    As long as he's not play a crackman or serial killer don't worry about it. All boys do it at some point and most of do turn out right. Teaching him right from wrong and spending time with him is where it's at. Kids will be exposed to so much crap in their lives but it's up to you to guide him.
     
  5. Colton

    Colton Supporting Actor

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    Maybe it's in our nature (at least for men) to be curious about weapons of destruction. No matter how we are raised - even in a utopian society - little boys will use their fingers for guns.

    - Colton
     
  6. Micheal

    Micheal Screenwriter

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    My daughter is closing in on the 2 year mark about a week from now. She has yet to watch anything but childrens shows; like Dora the Explorer, Sesame Street, Max and Ruby, etc...

    She will have plenty of time to watch movies like The Incredibles or Star Wars when she gets older. My opinion is that those movies are not appropriate for toddlers.

    My daughter can speak very well, count, and is working on her ABC's. Still, she has no idea what a gun is... and why should she? She'll have plenty of time for that later.

    Really. Do we need to be explaining guns and violence to 2 year olds?
     
  7. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Seemingly contradicting my statements above, but not really, I too think 2 yrs. is a little young for Star Wars and other violent themed entertainment. What's to enjoy for a 2 year old from films whose plot and themes are argued about ad nauseum by adults in their 20's, 30's and 40's?
     
  8. Micheal

    Micheal Screenwriter

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    Exactly! [​IMG]
     
  9. Alf S

    Alf S Cinematographer

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    I kind of agree with Michael..my 3 year old girl loves anything on Noggin. PBS Kids etc...my brother in law loves Star Wars and she has seen some pictures and wants to watch SW to see R2 D2 and 3PO etc...

    When the DVD set came out my BIL plugged it in to watch SW 4....well of course little girl stops to see it asking where R2 is etc...of course the opening scene is full of guys blasting each other and falling over dead...we all looked at each other and stopped the movie. I just didn't want to have to explain to a 3 year old why each guy was shooting or getting shot...she's just too young in my opinion.

    In time we will probably watch it, but part of me wants to keep her innocent of stuff like that.

    Boy it sure is fun being a parent! [​IMG]
     
  10. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Everyone has to decide for themselves. My son has watched a variety of movies since he was very young (we took him to see Monster's Inc. in the theater when he was 18 months old). A lot of what he's seen includes cartoon violence (Bugs Bunny, Flintstones, Star Wars, Disney films, Gunga Din, etc.). He's now five, and while he's an active little boy, he's not violent, he doesn't hit or bite, etc. On the other hand, I don't let him watch films with cursing, or ones with graphic violence (e.g., no Simpsons - I don't want him watching Itchy & Scratchy). He loves dinosaurs, but he'll have to be a lot older before we let him watch Jurassic Park.

    Again, no one is going to agree on the exact parameters, but if you're an involved parents and you set the limits you think are OK, you should be fine. Practically every kid out there plays war or cowboys & indians, etc., and they grow up fine. On the other hand, you do read sometimes about the violent teenager who's been living on a steady diet of ultra gory horror films, but you're going to be hard-pressed to find concensus even on that.

    Of course my personal opinion is that factors other than watching films are going to have more of an impact, but that's even more controversial. we have never spanked my son, but discipline him appropriately, and I think that, more than anything else is why he is basically about as non-violent and well-behaved as any normal 5 year old boy can be.
     
  11. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I have a suggestion. Only let your son watch the prequels (Eps. I and II). My sister's son (the one with the Lego gun) watched Ep. I when he was around 4-5 and thought it was just another movie. It wasn't until Ep. III came out that he ever showed an interest in Star Wars. I then loaned him my original trilogy DVD's and the first of the prequels and told him to watch IV thru VI, then I and II. He watched them all in one weekend and fell in love with the story and had to admit the originals were much better than the prequels (good boy!!). He told me he hoped RotS would be more like the OT, or he'd be disappointed. So, only let him see the bad ones is my advice.[​IMG]
     
  12. Alex-C

    Alex-C Screenwriter

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    This is kinda off topic, but if you the type of person who proactively tries to monitor and influence what our young children watch (I have a 2.5 yr old)....and if you like to analyze things....

    try watching an hour of television with the sound off. I find it truly amazing; mostly disturbing. I mean, dont get me wrong, some of what's on is disturbing with the sound on, but when its off, I really notice all the sexual and violent imagery, mostly the sex though. You'd think that every product ever made either (a) gives otherwise disgusting men a chance to lay playboy bunnies or (b) your gratification depends on that product. ha !

    You know what they oughta do (I dont know who "they" is... [​IMG] ), they oughta create channels for decades. You know, 70s channel, 80s channel, 60s channel, or specific years, that way, for all the people who say... it was so much better when XXXX was on, you could just live in that era. I mean, sheesh, we almost have it now with the likes of TVland and Noggin and so forth. Why not go all in and just make them all that way !? (purely hypothetical, please dont respond to this on how stupid it is..or impractical...I realize that)
     
  13. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    I think it's irresponsible to let toddlers watch or observe inappropriate material. And that includes movies, games, or whatever. We did not have a television until I was in my pre-teens - so me and my siblings used our imagination to play games rather that sit and passively watch a video monitor. Having said that, our toddler daughter won't be watching any television on a consistent basis. We have one tv in the house, no cable, and watch about 0-20 minutes of tv a day so it won't be a problem. We put her to bed at 8pm then go down to the HT room to watch movies via my projector.

    I had no concept what a gun was until I was probably 7-8, then I begged and moaned for one! Some of you may remember the old silver shooters and you put in the red roll of "bullets"...probably banned as a health hazard today! But even though I loved my toy guns as an adult I have no interest in guns. Never shot one, never held one. Call me old fashioned if you will.
     
  14. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    I should say, that except for PBS and Noggin, my son doesn't watch broadcast television - he only watches dvds. And when he sees shows my wife and I are watching, they've all been tivo'd and we skip the commercials. So he doesn't really even know what a commercial is - or at least he didn't until he visited his grandparents a few weeks ago, and was exposed for the first time to tv commercials.

    Edit - actually he's seen them a few times in movie theaters also. [​IMG]
     
  15. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    If you're saying that all movies, games, etc. are automatically inappropriate material, then I'd have to vehemently disagree.
     
  16. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    Same here - no commerc TV, only DVD's / LD's.

    And lots of music.
     
  17. Micheal

    Micheal Screenwriter

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    We have a channel called TREEHOUSE. No commercials, just childrens shows. The Wiggles, Dora, Max and Ruby, Franklin, Berenstain Bears, Bob the Builder, Thomas, Bear in the big blue house, and so on. The gaps in between shows are filled with children "short films" or children skits, songs, counting games, etc...

    Great channel for kids.
    I let my daughter watch it for half an hour in the morning (usually while I shower and shave) and for about half an hour in the evening. Sometimes close to an hour in the evening if it takes a while to get dinner ready.
     
  18. Alex-C

    Alex-C Screenwriter

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    I have a 40 hour tivo that is more than half full of Bear in the big blue house shows.
    We love that show. It's really enjoyable by the whole family.
     
  19. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    I agree, "innappropriate" is too strong of a word. Let's just say that I don't see the value in a two year old watching tv, movies, and playing video games. Poor role models from TV, movies and video games (devices that act as non-human surrogates and take time away from the most important needs children have for learning, social interaction, real life experience and creativity)are much too prevalent these days.


    As I said earlier, my daughter MAY get a glimpse of the tele as I watch the news while ironing my shirt for work but we will not plunk her down in the front of a tv set. We would rather play outside, engage her with a toy, or read to her, go for a walk, etc. Unfortunately we have a current culture of "baby videos", "Baby Einsteins this, that , and the next", and "talking everything" CDs. I perfer to "entertain" our daughter with active play, toys, books, and games.
     
  20. Jeff_Standley

    Jeff_Standley Supporting Actor

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    LOL, my Tivo is full of Thomas the Tank Engine and George Shrinks. Both are really good shows and have no (IMO) innapropriate material for children.
    I used to let my son (3) watch Samurai Jack with me until he started to act a little more aggresive and want to karate chop everything also. We started to curb his watching to other things like The wiggles instead of Jack. He still watches it with me but it is very limited now (Like once a month).
    I think the most important thing with agressive behavior is how the parent handles it. I have a newphew (9) that is very aggressive and mean. His parents on the other hand are very laid back and relaxed and watch everything he does and do not let him watch anything as they are very religous and monitor all. My nephew has always been like this, since he was 2 or 3. My son watches much more than he does and is not nearly as mean or agressive as my nephew ever was. So who knows. My son loves Star Wars to and gets his lightsaber when he watches it. I love the fact that he likes it and watches with me but even that we limit to watching very seldomly.
    Keep an eye out for good stuff. Theres lots of stuff out there that is even watchable to me. I cant stand the wiggles and barney but Thomas and George Shrinks (my sons favorite) is very watchable with out wanting to rip out your hair for parents.
     

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