If your kid does something bad and, when confronted, says it was because he or she was mimicking some violent activity seen in a movie - don't start launching accusations at yourself and one another for bad parenting.
You will be missing the big picture - which is: as parents in today's brave new world you will be lucky if you get to have oversight over 40 percent of the total sum of impressions and influences - sensations, thoughts, fantasies and extrapolation of them all - going into the magician's hat that are children.
You will be lucky if what is pulled out of that hat is something you can recognize as what you intended.
Our whole society is messed up. It is a dog-eat-dog world and it saturates almost everything and every instance of social life - except maybe for relationships with family and friends. Well, if one is fortunate enough to have the time and energy for creating and maintaining one, that is.
What violent movies often manifest in a blunt and physical manner, is a theme becoming more and more salient in people’s social interactions and social behavior: self-indulgence and self-satisfaction
In American society today, influential and mostly unregulated commercial interests exploit, increase and perpetuate the tendency of people to use tangible and material possessions to identify and categorize others, and to quantify and compare individual prosperity and success. In this sense we are supposed to express our individuality by letting mass-produced and mass-consumed commodities show who we are, or to present to others and image we would like them to have of us.
At the same time, a combination of factors have generated and perpetuates a socio-economic system in which all but the very basics of material survival and security is left to individuals’ to provide for themselves, often in hard competition.
These two factors acting in synergy have created an American society in which people are being constantly reminded and conditioned to:
1. Indulge self-directed and self-enhancing desires
2. Look after yourself, take every opportunity to climb every ladder
3. Expect others to act accordingly, expect you to do so, as well as to expect you to expect them…so you would do well to “do onto them what they would do onto you, only first and worst”
Implicit is that we should go about doing this by making use of the many predetermined and commercialized available ways - none of them leading to satisfaction, but instead perpetuating the needs and the paranoia. All of them making sure our efforts to "indulge", "look out for" and “market” ourselves lead to profit for the people who prey on genuine needs and manufactured desires.
As crowds gather to cheer when death penalties are carried out...
As our paid and trained killers in uniform are celebrated for doing the exact same things that leads to such executions....
As we keep on facilitating and underwriting the destruction, death and pain carried out in our names inside and outside of our own society for those who pay because we act like spoiled children.....
As social behavior is replaced by strategic communications and strategic connections....
Let's all make sure our kids watch Disney only....Making sure the difference between what they are told vs. what they experience gets even more hypocritical.
And THAT is what makes violent movies dangerous - having a society in which the violence and egoistic and anti-social ways of satisfying and approaching one's own desires and the conflict of having to share resources with others, becomes understandable. In many ways the violence in the movies can be seen as HONEST expressions of that which we prefer not to see in our own society.
It is a natural drive in children to be attracted to that which is dangerous and forbidden that is the problem. It is that drive to explore the unknown that is at the heart of what makes human and children learn and develop. A much greater problem that the nature of the things that they might experience while doing it, is the inability of the adult society to cohesively and internally consistently show what is right and wrong.
But if you want to go for the easy Piñata - something to bang and slam to feel better about yourself as parents - sure, do by all means go for the movie violence.
But when you feel ready to replace the emotional crusade with something more constructive, consider this suggestion:
It is not the violence in movies per se, but the degree to which it takes place in such situations and being perpetrated by such actors that are realistic enough to be similar to situations and characters children will face in the everyday life.
In this sense, Freddy Krueger and Poltergeist are better than Mr. and Mrs. Smith, since children are not very likely to find the ghosts and creatures in Freddy Krueger and Poltergeist but try to explain why a woman, in situations that appears so similar to the quarrels between mom and dad, goes on to try to kick the living h--- out of her husband.
Sadly, movies have become more like society and society more like the movies. Part of what creates thrills and excitement for viewers is that the events just might happen here, to you, at anytime…..The special effects and the masks are so good that one has to use the logic and experience of an adult to distinguish the fantastic from the factual. A good example of this is the way the release of Blair Witch Project (the first movie) was, and continues to be, surrounded by the myth that it was in fact a real documentary.