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?