Is it bonkers to show ‘Jaws’ on movie night to a bunch of 9 year olds?

September 17, 2018


What would you think if you picked your little one up from a sleepover to find them ever so slightly petrified? NOT because anything awful happened, but rather movie night with their friends had a little more bite than they are used to. When I say bite, I’m talking Jaws! Gulp. The movie! Double gulp. The one with severed arms, kids being eaten and bloody water. *Feels faint.





No way right??! But actually, yes way!! That’s exactly what happened to one Mumsnet mum and her 9 year old daughter.


In my opinion, she did what any freaking-out mum would do. She asked the Mumsnet community for a bit of support and reassurance over on the forums. Except the overwhelming response she got wasn’t quite what I expected to see, generally speaking.


To be fair, it was a bit of a mixed bag. But by page 11 of the thread the general feel from parents after the 1st page was that her daughter should just blinking ‘get over it’. With only a handful being empathetic to the situation or indeed equally mortified.



Here are a few comments that had me spluttering into my tea. *Names excluded to protect commenters.


“Oh dear. Mine were 10 when DH showed them Jaws. My only concern was that they would find it a little lame after watching the Sharknado box set.”


“It’s very obviously a mechanical shark. My 6 year old has watched it and understands it’s not real. Can’t imagine getting too upset about this. Just play it down, yes yes darling I’m sure it was scary but it’s not real, off you pop.”


“Oh please. It’s Jaws. She’s 9 not 3. I must have watched it about that age- no big deal. Really. Get over it.”


“Definitely not as scary as the Jurassic Park films, honestly no need for such drama. It’s happened now and she will be fine I’m sure, I suspect she senses your anxiety about it. Now if they had showed her Saw that would be totally different. Jaws is a relatively suitable for kids so I imagine she’ll be over it pretty quickly.”





So, Is it bonkers to show ‘Jaws’ on movie night to a bunch of 9 year olds?

Yes. In my opinion, of course it’s blooming bonkers! Bonkers with a cherry on top! Jaws confusingly carries a PG rating on Netflix, but actually, the rating was increased to a 12A a good few years ago. I don’t think it takes a genius to work out that Jaws might possibly give a little one the heebie jeebies.


I think as adults, we have become hugely desensitised when it comes to thriller and horror movies. We are used to high end productions and the likes of Jaws could seem, well, funny to us now. Because there is nothing ‘real’ about Jaws anymore. Not in this digital age. Not to a grown up.


BUT. A 9 year old? You would hope hasn’t been exposed to such ideas. Forget the visuals. It’s the actual concept of a large shark attacking people in the sea. Because it’s not an abstract thing. It happens. In real life. Just the planting of the seed of this being something that ‘could’ happen could be the start of a fear of water. Throw in the visuals, and hey presto, freaked out child.




It’s made me think. Why do our 9 year olds have to grow up so quickly? Being exposed to all sorts of gory, suspenseful movies and what not. Shouldn’t we allow our little ones to stay innocents. Just because everyone else exposes theirs to violence, fantasy or not,  does that mean we should feel silly if we don’t agree to it too? And shouldn’t we have a say in what they get to watch in the first place?!


So. I suppose whilst the question still remains, should Jaws have been played on movie night to a group of 9 years olds at a sleepover? There’s also the element of who has parental responsibility in the heat of a moment at a sleepover. And, are we as parents getting a bit too easy going with what we allow our kids to watch on TV?


What do you think?




49 responses to “Is it bonkers to show ‘Jaws’ on movie night to a bunch of 9 year olds?”

  1. I would be on the side of the no big deal … look, if you apply that logic to everything, your child will be utterly traumatised by not having been prepared for the real world. No fairy tales either then! Read Bettelheim’s The Uses Of Enchantment to read about how children need the ogres and giants they meet in fairy tales to be able to process and deal with their own internal conflicts. Jaws is a movie after all, with the attendant it all works out in the end finish … yes, there was damage and destruction, but life goes on. Like reality.

  2. Nicky says:

    I think that over time the old classic films have mellowed. If some of these films were released now then they would get a lower rating than they got originally. Personally I wouldn’t let my children see Jaws until they are teenagers.

  3. MomMom says:

    at least they were not playing the descent. that scared the life out of me and I’m an adult, give me jaws anytime.

  4. I have to be honest, despite being 28 years old, I’ve never seen Jaws! But I know the premise of the movie and personally I don’t think it’s something I’d want to show my children for a very long time 🙂

  5. Janet says:

    Both my girls (separately) when they hit 13 found themselves at a sleepover where 15 certificate films were on show. One even texted me in distress at 2am as they were watching 18 certificate horror. What the heck is the point of film classification any more? Other kids parents are so thoughtless!

  6. Jaki says:

    This is why I can’t stand these forums. Every child is different so for one parent to tell another that their kid should ‘get over it’ is totally and utterly irresponsible and unhelpful. It should be down to the parent what films they watch and I’m assuming Jaws is a PG certificate so the parents should have been asked first. #dreamteam

  7. Talya says:

    I’m with you….! It’s bonkers! I can’t believe people were being so casual about it – literally so shocked about that!

  8. Rosie Doal says:

    I’m a bit torn (pardon the pun!) over this one. On one hand, I think some of those comments above are right, my son knows most films are made with mechanical objects etc…and having watched Jurassic Park, he knew that wasn’t real too. But on the other hand, I feel there’s something about Jaws which has always been gory and a bit more scary. So honestly, I don’t know where I stand on this one x #DreamTeam

  9. Mrs Lighty says:

    Really good point about nine year olds not having been exposed to the same level of gory as us adults. Although I still think I’d find it scary if I watched it again, mechanical shark or not!! I think we also have to remember that different people find different things scary xxx

  10. Kate Goodger says:

    yeah, i’m unsure on what to think to be honest, part of me thinks that its not that bad but I do think it’s unnecessarily introducing a new fear to them that unless they watched that film they probably wouldn’t have. It probabaly does more harm than good but I wouldn’t full on freak out about at the same time. haha im just sitting on the fence really 🙂 #dreamteam

  11. Anosa says:

    I am not sure about those other keyboard warriors but I personally think it is too young to see that movie. Even now at 31, I am still petrified of it, it is definitely not sleepover material.

  12. I would go bonkers if my 9yo was shown Jaws. I hate the movie and watching it as a teen gave me a lifelong fear of swimming in the sea. So no, it is not a suitable movie for a 9yo to watch. Yes I know its a mechanical shark but Great Whites are real and yes they attack people.

  13. Laurie says:

    I would not have liked it if my children were involved. I don’t like gory movies and see no reason to expose children to that genre.

  14. Sophie says:

    It really does depend on the child and so, on that premise, I would not have shown that at a sleep over for 9 year olds. I agree whole heartedly with you Annette that we treat children too grown up, too quickly and we need to wait as the certificates are there for a reason! I remember my daughter aged 11 coming home from a sleep over having watched a 15 film and she was terrified for about a year afterwards. I rang the mum and said how I was upset that she had allowed this and she said she hadn’t even known they’d watched it…..well my daughter didn’t go to her house again! My advice? Don’t be persuaded that you are wrong….you know your child and only you can decide. Having said all of that, my son would have laughed at Jaws aged 9 so each child is different! #dreamteam

  15. Jenni says:

    I agree, those comments are a bit harsh. Every child is different. Would like to see those mummy warriors if their little darlings were shown something inappropriate that gave them nightmares. But it’s always easier to be condescending when the shoe is on the other foot. Jeez, I’m 39 and can’t sit through Jaws, lol.

  16. I WOULD BE LIVID!!!! Someone would get the what for!! I am super careful about what Little Girl watches and I would be so mad to not have been asked! #dreamteam

  17. Toni says:

    I remember watching Jaws for the first time at 11 and it scared me, but I think if you want to show it to YOUR kids go for it. To make that decision for another kid I don’t think so. Certainly not with bringing it up to the parents. Of course you can explain to them it isn’t real, but do you know the kids enough to know if they are super sensitive or maybe already carry a slight fear of water. #dreamteam

  18. I think it’s up to the kids, I won’t watch it now, it still freaks me out and I never recovered from the darliks in Dr Who, my own kids are far more hardy. #DremTeam

  19. Tom Porte says:

    Oh…MY. GOD!!!! I don’t think I will ever show the Jaws films to my children – growing up by the sea in Bmouth my enjoyment of living ten minutes walk from the beach was destroyed by being shown Jaws at the age of 10 – I’m not sure how it came about to see it – no not bonkers at all!

  20. There is no way that parent should have shown Jaws to such a young audience – I suspect most of the people who feel the mother should ‘get over it’ would feel very differently if it happened to their children.

  21. Katy Stevens says:

    I don’t think I would want my 9-year-old to watch this. I don’t have a 9-year-old, yet, but it just doesn’t seem very appropriate really.

  22. Wendy says:

    Nope – this is not ok! I would have been furious, what if the kids end up being too scared to swim in the sea now because of this? I know we can’t censor our children from everything but I think watching a scary film like this (especially for the first time) kids should be with rheir parents so they feel safe and can be reassured that it’s not real from a grown who loves them and they trust. I think the Mum was right to feel upset about this xx

  23. Old Mumma says:

    Great blog – I don’t think Jaws is a big deal but i also believe every parent has the right to raise their bubbas however they choose. All the parents should of been informed of the movie choice before letting their bubbas sleep over. I love Jaws and would have no issues of my DD watching it but i would never show it to someone elses bubbas.

  24. I remember being scared by Jaws when I was younger. It’s clearly not a real shark but to a child with an active imagination it doesn’t need to look that convincing to still be terrifying! I wouldn’t be happy if someone showed it to my child at 9 years old. #dreamteam

  25. Heather Keet says:

    Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope! No parent should ever show a scary movie at a sleepover without getting consent of the other parents. Each child has their own fears and anxieties, it’s best to proceed with caution. My nephew was TERRIFIED of the cartoon ‘villain’ octopus in Finding Dory – he was on a school trip to the movies and the teacher had to wait in the theater lobby for his mom to come and get him. All his schoolmates did fine with it. So it’s always best to be cautious when showing movies to children who are not your own! #DreamTeam

  26. Kate says:

    I am very concerned for one that childhoods are getting squeezed more and more. Having said that you made me want to watch Jaws again #DreamTeam

  27. Kirsty says:

    It is beyond bonkers to do this… Only a parent knows whether their child is able for this type of movie. I was terrified by only 2 mins of Jaws when I saw a bone float down through the water. Nothing else, but a bone and I then couldn’t sleep on a Saturday night for weeks. I was probably 11. My sister however, watched the whole movie and was fine. She is two years younger. My parents knew I couldn’t take it so I was supposed to be watching something else upstairs. Different kids different thresholds. #DreamTeam

  28. All children are different and I think in this case the parents’ consent should have been asked for. I wouldn’t be happy about this, it’s a scary movie and 9 is still too young. Fantasy villains in fairy tales are one thing, but there really are sharks in the sea! #dreamteam

  29. I guess it depends on the child , but in a group scenario how can you tell. All I remember of Jaws is loads of blood ….my 10 year old would struggle with it . I’d def not be happy if it were at a kids movie night and noone else had run it past me first . Also can’t believe it’s pg on Netflix !! I’d rewatch to see but…too scared .
    Congratulations someone loved this post so much they added it to our #BlogCrush linky

  30. Crummy Mummy says:

    I think I was about nine when I saw this – & it’s so obviously not a real shark, especially to today’s kids used to CGI. So I guess what I’m saying is I don’t think it’s that much of a big deal! #DreamTeam

  31. John Adams says:

    Utterly daft. The way kids react to this stuff, they may not be too upset at first, but it can come back and bite you on the bum (no pun intended) weeks later when a kid has a nightmare and then won’t sleep in their own bedroom for weeks. Yes, can you tell we’ve experienced similar?

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