Tuesday, June 17th, 2008
Discuss: What is Star Wars Age?
At what age will you, or did you, show your child the original Star Wars film?
A couple recent events got my brain churning. First let me say I’m a fan. Been there, done that with action figures, light saber play, even Play Doh character molds.
Yesterday, Thinga-reader My Boaz’s Ruth e-mailed a tip about an intricate R2-D2 cake made for a 4-year-old’s birthday. Cool, huh? But my first thought upon learning the cake was for a toddler was, "A 4-year-old has no business watching Star Wars."
In this case, a party wrap-up explains that the child loves Star Wars from playing a Nintendo Wii Lego Star Wars game. For me, that opens a separate can of worms about when to introduce video games, particularly ones that include sword and gun play. (I love video games, particularly first person shooters, but not for my young children.)
Last week I learned that my daughter’s 3.5-year-old friend wants to be a Jedi. He’s been listening to recordings of a National Public Radio Star Wars dramatization produced in the early 1980s. My 9-year-old mind recalls it being quite cool.
How much a toddler absorbs from a radio serial is up for debate, but he can hum the theme music like a champ.
Another layer to this issue could be the nature of the violence.
Maybe you’re opposed to, say, any killing, or maybe you draw a
distinction if no blood is shown. Death is quite sanitary in the Star
Wars universe. Even severed hands don’t bleed. Does that matter?
Consider a more graphically violent film such as Spider-Man,
which ranked a PG-13 to Star Wars’ PG rating. Spider-Man products have been marketed to toddlers, one would presume, because toddlers know something about the film. I spied some Spider-Man
costumes last October at our preschool.
If it’s not apparent yet, I’m one of those parents who won’t give
his children weapons as playthings. I’m also big on withholding violent
and sexualized media until, well, I’m not sure what age, but I’ll take
a wild guess and say fourth grade for relatively tame fare. I may be
using my own childhood as a gauge.
I vividly remember at age 4 being made to stay home while
my older brothers went to the theatre to watch the PG-rated King Kong
starring Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange. Yet, at age 7, I
thoroughly enjoyed The Muppet Movie in the theatre.
So… what’s my point? I’m in no rush for my kids to enter the world
of grown-up issues. I don’t mean giant apes and light sabers, but the
notion that violence is a normal course of action to resolve conflict.
All that will come soon enough.
Introducing my children to Star Wars will be a true joy for me, but
for the time being I’m looking forward to simpler content. How could I,
for example, even think of showing my daughter The Muppet Movie before
she has seen every episode of The Muppet Show? Seriously, the whole thing is slowly being rolled out on DVD.
Hey, so, I briefly touched upon a lot of issues, and I know many if not a majority of folks may disagree. So, what do you think? How will you handle Star Wars?
Also see previously: