I’m seeing the movie on Friday and my daughter, 17, has insisted I read the book before the movie. It’s definitely subject matter that appeals to teens and pre-teens, but as a parent and adult, I am horrified that the movie industry will stoop this low. Killing kids in movies have always been taboo, and I fear that this is now the edge of a very slippery slope. What’s next, “The Hunger Games: Toddler Edition”?
My daughter insists that the violence is not what kids are attending the movie for. It’s the story of the lead girl’s challenge to stay alive in order to bring good to the family and communities. I agree, in that most kids don’t play video games for the violence. They play for the challenge of the game, which is also a central theme in The Hunger Games, and the violence is secondary, however, it is still there. I’m waiting to see how much violence the movie is going to show.
I know that for me, the book was very readable up to the point where the games actually started and the huge bloodbath for supplies had kids dropping all over. We are talking 12 year-olds! My youngest son, at 10, isn’t very good at crossing the street alone. People don’t think 12 year olds aren’t children? The details are horrifying for any parent: Little children lying dying alone with spears and knives in their backs and their parents get to watch it from the screens in their homes? Parents have only an hour to say goodbye to their children. They can’t hold their dying children. Some of the children are tortured by being denied food, water and shelter . The details describe children slowly freezing, dehydrating and burning to death. Can you imagine if the children were toddlers instead of teens in that arena? 24 little two-year-olds, in the most aggressive developmental stage, being given access to a pile of knives and then led to a tiny lot of a few toys to battle it out. Is that next?
First, our society and media sexualizes children at younger and younger ages, and now, they do the same with violence. I don’t know how much more reading I can take. But then again, I couldn’t watch the movie, “Sophie’s Choice” after I became a parent either. Killing children in movies, books or any media is just not acceptable, even if it’s by the children themselves.
Judy Arnall, Parenting Author, Educator and Speaker