My littlest daughter said something very interesting to her tired big sister this morning:
"In heaven you can sleep and sleep and sleep without anyone making any loud noises."
And I thought, Yes! A mother's paradise. Sweeeet! And then I began to plan how long I would slumber before I explore my new, exciting and peaceful home (if I make it; still debatable). But my daughter wasn't done.
"And I'm going to have a Batman bed in heaven. Batman bed, Batman covers, Batman sheets...and I'm going to watch all the Batman shows!"
Aha! And it comes down to this yet again. My big five-year-old who can ride a bike with no training wheels, scale the monkey bars with no support and is soon to embark on her public school journey badly wants to watch superhero shows or movies. Blue and black are her new favorite colors because of her love and admiration for Batman. She dreams about Batman and relates their adventures to the rest of us in the morning. She tells strangers how cool and qualified as superhero Batman is, but her mama won't let her watch Batman - not even the cartoons. And the movies? There is no way in heaven or hell that I will allow my little girl to watch media "entertainment" with so much violence, so many absolutely bizarre and twisted characters. I haven't even subjected myself to the last few; each new one seems to want to outdo the last in graphic violence.
My little girl doesn't understand. I've told her that the movies aren't made for children. I did not tell her that they would give her nightmares and, if she continued to be exposed to such material, would desensitize her to real life tragedy and horror. I did not show her the handout for parents of toddlers and preschoolers from the pediatrician's office that said:
Children should not be allowed to watch shows with violence or sexual behaviors.
I take that to mean cartoons, too. She'll watch the movies someday, perhaps...when she's 18? While she's in grade school, she'll watch what her big brother and sister get to watch after school: PBS. If she wants a superhero, she will learn to appreciate the likes of Word Girl or even the Kratts Brothers of Wild Kratts.
I've heard many people say that children get from things - television, books - what children can understand, but I positively believe that what children see and hear alters their understanding of life, healthy relationships, respect for others, the possibility of peace. To better grasp how the content our kids watch affects their view on life, here's an easy-to-interpret, wonderful and thought-provoking graphic from EducationNews.Org:
Please Include Attribution to EducationNews.org With This Graphic