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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Parents Walk a Fine Line These Days When It Comes to What Movies and Videos They Let Their Kids Watch

5 Oct, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

America Online's "Parenting" page has an interesting dialog about what movies and videos parents let their kids watch, and which ones they don't.

One poster has a pair of kids ages 11 and 13. They don't get to watch anything other than 'G'-rated movies. Another parent wrote, "Our kids get no 'PG' movies and some 'G's are off limits for now. It depends on the message. My kids' lives -- I have a son, 5, and a daughter, 3 -- are not going to suffer because they don't get to see Shrek or Dinosaurs. My kids are well behaved, thoughtful, generous, funny and creative. The day we instigated rules about their viewing was the day they began acting like angels."

Both of these parents were chided by other posters, one of whom basically said his kids can watch whatever they want. A nine-year-boy also wrote in; his message, verbatim: "lissin lady Im 9 and I have watched scary movie one and two and I watched amarican pie one and 2 and I watch south park all the time! ont shelter your kids! they need to know about the real world!"

Ah, it's such a fine line we parents walk! I don't know of any parents who have the same menu of allowable viewing for their young ones; even the one in my own home -- I've got two boys, 3 and 5 -- changes regularly as I try to strike a balance between sheltering and informing.

I let Justin watch the second Austin Powers movie with me when he was not yet 4. I learned a valuable lesson when he called a friend of mine "fat bastard." Now I stick with the tried-and-true -- Scooby-Doo, Little Bear, Rugrats and Blue's Clues, along with Disney features -- but even there I cringe from time to time, like during the lost souls scene in Hercules or when Angelica calls Tommy and Chuckie "stupid babies."

Lately, the kids and I enjoy some more unusual fare. We've watched All Quiet on the Western Front, from 1930, and had a long discussion about why war -- and hitting -- are bad. We've watched To Kill a Mockingbird and The Sound of Music. And lately, with Halloween right around the corner, we've been watching those wonderful old monster movies from Universal. Creepy, but not gory, like the new breed of horror films. Both my boys simply adore Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Wolf Man.

Am I doing the right thing? I don't know. I don't think any of us know. It's like every parents' dilemma: how do you teach a child hitting is wrong when the history books are filled with tales of wars in which one country tries to annihilate another?

You can only control so much.

Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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