Author Topic: Exposure to Horror at a Young Age  (Read 1131 times)

Chakor Channing

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Exposure to Horror at a Young Age
« on: October 18, 2016, 09:40:11 AM »
I'm aware that people have many different opinions on this subject.  Based on my research, it appears as though there are two types of people on this subject.  There are those who believe that children should be exposed to horror films at a relatively young age (I.E., 5 - 10) so that they can grow up to be dedicated horror fans (for example, the idiots on Facebook who think that young children should be exposed to horror simply because of how "awesome" it is).  Meanwhile, there are those who believe that children shouldn't be exposed to horror films until they are around the ages of 13 - 16.  Where do I stand on this subject?  Well, it's really hard for me to take a position on this topic because, in my opinion, it all depends on what type of horror films that the parents are allowing the children to watch.

For example, allowing your 5-year-old to watch a relatively tame film such as John Carpenter's original Halloween or even the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre probably wouldn't have a bad impact on someone of that age.  It might give them nightmares, but it probably wouldn't lead to a life of mental instability or crime.

Meanwhile, we have over-the-top excessively violent and gory films such as Rob Zombie's disasters (I know people will disagree with this statement, so sue me), and torture porn films such as the Saw franchise.   Watching films like these at a young age could lead to multiple things.  They could lead to A - nightmares and excessive paranoia or B - blueprints for real life crimes and murders.  The former is to be expected from a child who is still in their right mind, while the latter is a red flag for parents and could send the child down a dangerous road.  I live in the United States, so I am more than aware that there is a large problem in this country when it comes to irresponsible parents.  I'm certain that there are a good number of parents who don't give a crap about what their children watch in terms of horror films, and they would probably stick their 5-year-old in front of a television playing Rob Zombie's disastrous remake of Halloween

Speaking of which, one relatively young boy in the United States actually murdered both of his parents because he thought that he would feel "relieved" after committing his first murders, because he noticed how relieved the fictional Michael Myers was in the RZ Halloween when he killed his family.  That right there is proof enough that watching violent horror films at any age can be a problem for the mentally unstable population of the United States.  I mean, we've been reduced to Hillary and Trump as presidential candidates, so there's more proof of how unstable our country is right there!

When it comes to where I stand in terms of exposure to horror at a young age, I think that parents who genuinely care about their children shouldn't let them watch any remotely violent horror films until they are at least 13.  I remember seeing the first Alien when I was only 10-years-old, the difference being that Alien is a science fiction film that doesn't set up blueprints for real life crimes.  I know there will be a good number of people who disagree with me, and I'm not trying to change your opinions, but always keep the "RZ Halloween Murder" incident in the back of your head when thinking about exposing your 5-year-olds to violent modern horror films.

Also, keep in mind that most people between the ages of 5 - 10 are more interested in horror films about monsters (such as the aforementioned Alien) rather than films about slashers.  Most monster films are actually okay for the younger audience to watch, because there is no way that they could take place in the real world, and this helps the children to better understand that there is no point in trying to reenact the films.  I've been past the age of 10 for years and I'm still not all that interested in slasher films.  Monster films are definitely my cup of tea.

Thanks for looking,
Chakor Channing
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Wich2

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Re: Exposure to Horror at a Young Age
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2016, 10:40:39 AM »
As much as some fans don't want to hear it -

- their IS real study data showing horrific/violent material having a desensitizing effect on impressionable young people.

Big Bad Wolf

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Re: Exposure to Horror at a Young Age
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2016, 10:59:33 AM »
I think the important thing to do is really am important lesson about parenting overall: know your child. Know who your kid is, what they can handle and what they can't, what they're interested in and what they're not interested in, what they're exposed to and what they're not exposed to. It sounds like it's really hard and maybe it is, I can't say because I'm not a parent, but it's important to know these things before you introduce certain media to them, like horror films.

In my case, I was exposed at a young age to films like Halloween, A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Exorcist, The Birds, Jaws, Child's Play, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Poltergeist, Friday the 13th, the works. I grew up loving the Alien and Predator films. It helped that Kenner had an awesome/silly line of action figures at the time. I loved RoboCop and The Terminator and other violent films. At first I was scared by some of them. Child's Play was particularly scary thanks to a My Buddy doll I had at the time I saw it. The Blair Witch Project scared me before I ever even saw the whole thing simply because of its reputation for being "real" footage.

I grew up loving horror. There was a time when my parents were a little concerned. I mastered "the Michael Myers walk" when I was ten or eleven, for instance. But I never acted out or did anything violent. I was just really enthusiastic in my appreciation for the genre. A geek in other words.

I tend to take offense at the suggestion that horror films are objectively harmful for children, because I'm proof that it's not, and if I can name one person who wasn't harmed by growing up with horror films then I've already proven that theory wrong. HOWEVER...my consumption of horror films was okay because I was the kind of kid who could take it, and if I couldn't take it, I didn't watch it. Not every kid is like that.

I think that's really the bottom line here: not all children are the same, just like not all adults are the same. There's a tendency to see children in broad strokes, imagine that most kids, or even all kids, are alike, but it's simply not true. That's why it's important to know who your kid is before you expose them to things that might be harmful to them. You have to know if your kid could have some form of mental illness, or if your kid is sensitive and easily traumatized. You have to know what they think and what they want and what they're afraid of.

To one child Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein could cause weeks of sleepless nights and bad dreams. To another child The Exorcist might just be a fun monster movie where a girl turns her head all the way around and vomits a lot. It's not just that the films are different. The KIDS THEMSELVES are different, and that MUST be taken into account first and foremost.
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Count Zachula

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Re: Exposure to Horror at a Young Age
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2016, 12:43:10 PM »
I'd say show em the classics first and work your way up as they get older. 30's-50's horror for the youngest age, 60's-80's for the teens.

I think it also depends on what kind of kid it is and what kind of parents too.

Chakor Channing

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Re: Exposure to Horror at a Young Age
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2016, 01:31:04 PM »
These are very good points that you guys have addressed.  All children are different, and I agree that parents should figure out what they can and can't handle first.  The one problem with this is that it may be too late by the time that the parents learn what their children can and can't handle.  When it comes to the classics (I.E., Universal monsters films), I think pretty much all of those are good for young audiences since they are very tame compared to the unnecessarily over-the-top violent stuff that we have these days.

I live in an area where I see one too many cigarette-smoking druggies with little children, and that doesn't help my POV of American parents.  I'm aware that not all of the United States is like this and that it's not always the fault of said parents/druggies for being the way that they are, but at the same rate, there are way too many uncaring parents in this country.  It needs to stop, and neither Hillary, Trump, or any other future presidential candidates are going to help it.
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Barlow

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Re: Exposure to Horror at a Young Age
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2016, 02:30:06 AM »
Research doesn't show a desensitizing effect of horror or monster movies. It shows desensitization to repeated and frequent exposure to acts of violence. As in video games and modern gore and violence flicks. There's a difference. I certainly wasn't desensitized by growing up on horror movies, nor was anyone else I know.

Haunted hearse

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Re: Exposure to Horror at a Young Age
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2016, 03:35:23 PM »
If you want to expose your child to horror at an early age, there are ways of doing so, rather than playing "House of 1,000 Corpses" for them.  There are child friendly horror films in abundance.   Some of them are released by Disney.  I honestly can't see a child being traumatized by Disney's Haunted Mansion film, although I know of several adult fans of that attraction that were.  I grew up watching Disney Animated films, and there are hints of horror in them, but nothing  that should adversely affect a child.  In all honesty, you are probably putting the child at greater risk letting them watch CNN or Fox, then Disney classics like "Snow White" and "Sleeping Beauty".
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Mord

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Re: Exposure to Horror at a Young Age
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2016, 04:15:08 PM »
I grew up watching horror films. Frankenstein, Dracula,  The Wolfman, etc,  were my cartoon substitutes. Then came Hammer,  TCM, Halloween,  and so on. I never felt "desensitized" by them. On the contrary, I felt more compassion than my friends who grew up on action films. When horror is done right, you feel the pain of every victim. Most of the action films just mow down dozens of people without blinking an eye. Horror let's you get to care about the characters. You are invested in them and actually care what happens to them. Why do you think there's so much Internet chatter when they kill off a character on a show like "The Walking Dead"? The horror fans I know are very understanding, yet passionate about their views. When I disagree with anyone here, I realize we have more in common than not. I think I'm starting to meander here, so I will stop at this point.

CerebusLives

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Re: Exposure to Horror at a Young Age
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2016, 05:02:10 PM »
Movies, Video Games, Music, etc is blamed nowadays by inattentive parents wanting to absolve themselves of their lackluster parenting.

I was born in 86 and shortly thereafter my father was diagnosed with a lung disease that essentially atrophied his lungs.   Growing up wanting to spend time with my dad meant I got to put models together with him and we read books together and ultimately movies.   I was allowed to watch some movies that yes I proably shouldn't have, my favorite movie when I was seven was Child's Play later to be replaced by Last House on the Left.
Also at this time video games were becoming much more powerful and violent.  Grand Theft Auto was my favorite game; my dads too.  In the game you deliever drugs my dad and I would replay the mission over and over to see who could do it the fastest. 

With the disease it also meant my mom and dad were gone quite a bit for treatments, support groups,etc.  I'd sit by myself and watch movies like Henry and be absolutely repulsed by what I watched.  I also saw Showgirls the same night and the rape scene in sticks with me more then Henry's. 

I wasn't censored as a kid to what I could read, watch, listen to, play, etc.  both parents took the time to explain what was wrong or right. What was real or what wasn't
Blaming a movie for an act of violence is absurd. If a person watches a movie and sees someone get killed, tortured, whatever the case may be and thinks hey let's try that.  Has other underlying issues
then his/her taste in videos

All the violence I've seen, read, played, etc has shown me the outcome of it.   Horror movies are really the only ones that show the ugliness of the act.  I mentioned about the rape scene in Showgirls sticking with me more then Henry's because it was glamorized and really showed no consequence.   I think children don't see the consequences and that's the problem.   






« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 05:11:46 PM by CerebusLives »
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Hepcat

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Re: Exposure to Horror at a Young Age
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2019, 10:43:03 AM »
Research doesn't show a desensitizing effect of horror or monster movies. It shows desensitization to repeated and frequent exposure to acts of violence. As in video games and modern gore and violence flicks. There's a difference. I certainly wasn't desensitized by growing up on horror movies, nor was anyone else I know.

Yes, I agree. And there's a tremendous difference between the classic universal monster movies, the fifties sci-fi flicks and Hammer Horror films on the one hand and the ultra violent gore-filled present day slasher and walking dead/zombie flicks. The latter would certainly desensitize impressionable young minds to violence.

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KelG1

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Re: Exposure to Horror at a Young Age
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2019, 03:21:31 PM »
I saw the Exorcist twice at the age of 3 1/2-4 at drive-in I was taken to, it had a bad effect on me-made me afraid of an attic and girls with long hair. I eventually got over the attic fear.
I did not get brave enough to rewatch the Exorcist until I was 30.
Jaws I saw at 5 and it made me afraid of bathtub drains and ocean tides (thanks Jaws 2 burned boat victim).


I was reading horror books and Famous Monsters by 6 though. I didn't realize Famous Monsters had "ages 12 and up" on its cover. lol
I am pretty sure they had readers in the Wanted page which were younger than 12 though.

I think it helped my vocabulary-I had a university level vocabulary by my last year of high school.



Hepcat

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Re: Exposure to Horror at a Young Age
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2019, 06:16:25 PM »
I tend to take offense at the suggestion that horror films are objectively harmful for children, because I'm proof that it's not, and if I can name one person who wasn't harmed by growing up with horror films then I've already proven that theory wrong. HOWEVER...my consumption of horror films was okay because I was the kind of kid who could take it, and if I couldn't take it, I didn't watch it. Not every kid is like that.

Actually you've got it backward.

Nobody is arguing that "Horror films are harmful to all children". There's evidence though that horror movies (particularly some) are harmful to a certain sub-sector of children. Therefore just because you weren't harmed by horror movies doesn't mean that no other children are harmed by horror movies. All proponents of the link between say "anti-social" behaviour and exposure to horror movies need to show is that a definite percentage, no matter how small, of those exposed to horror movies at a young age suffer negative consequences.

If therefore you're making the statement that "Horror movies are not harmful to children", what you need to prove is a negative proposition. The problem is that only one counter-example is needed to disprove a negative proposition.

« Last Edit: October 20, 2019, 10:31:27 PM by Hepcat »
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Anton Phibes

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Re: Exposure to Horror at a Young Age
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2019, 07:29:27 PM »
I saw Jaws when I was 5 and never got in the ocean. It made me afraid of every monster in the water movie ever since. it didn't cause me to grow up and rob a liquor store or shoot anyone. Anymore than riding a roller coaster would. Different people are affected by different things differently.

zombiehorror

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Re: Exposure to Horror at a Young Age
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2019, 05:25:17 PM »
Just gotta say, there is no such thing as "torture porn", films like this existed long before some dumbass journalist that didn't know what he was talking about and in ented a sensationalized title for them; exploitation, gore, splatter.

As far as what a child is exposed to, it all depends on the child more than what age they are; some are just affected more than others.  Both my children were exposed to stuff intended for older viewers and so far they seem relatively normal....although I have noticed we go through family pets so fast, I don't know where they go or what happens to them.

Flower

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Re: Exposure to Horror at a Young Age
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2019, 01:54:31 PM »
Growing up, we had one television.  Later on, my parents had a portable one in their bedroom.  My parents enjoyed watching the classic Universal Horror movies, which we watched as a family from a very young age.  No blood and guts but great fun, werewolves (didn't everyone want one as a pet or think that Lon Chaney Jr would be a cool uncle?) .. My dad would quiz me on the actors real name and I had to know who Maria Ouspenskaya was and she reminded me of my Aunt Bluma.

Black and white classic horror movies made you use your imagination.  While this can be scarier than Technicolor blood and guts, it was more fun than graphic horror.

There was also the "fun" horror flicks such as Abbott & Costello Meet the ..... and the East Side Kid's "Spooks Run Wild"   :)

I don't believe that any of these flicks contributed to my becoming a vampire, werewolf or mummy .. it was all in the genes.   ;D
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