The Clown Car 8: What are your kids watching?

Welcome to The Clown Car, the crazy parenting journey where two parents talk about how they and you can survive your own personal circus.

Here’s what happened this week:

Attack of the sick kids, staying up way too late, Paleo Diet, toilet face, and perler beads.

Aliens, baby seals and monkeys.

What are your kids watching?

  • Kids who view violent acts are more likely to show aggressive behavior but also fear that the world is scary and that something bad will happen to them.
  • Young kids are particularly frightened by scary and violent images. Simply telling kids that those images aren’t real won’t console them, because they can’t yet distinguish between fantasy and reality. Behavior problems, nightmares, and difficulty sleeping may follow exposure to media violence.
  • The average American child will witness 200,000 violent acts on television by age 18.
  • A 1999 study, for instance, highlighted that scary movies can have a damaging impact on children and teens. The research found about 52 percent of kids had trouble sleeping or eating after watching “a frightening film or TV program.”
  • .
THE PAYNE FUND STUDES- developed by the Motion Picture Research Council
(5 areas- information, developing attitudes, Stimulating emotions, affecting sleep, influencing conduct)
This part of the study tested how much children will retain of what they see in movies. They found that 8 year olds will catch three out of every five things that the parents see. (Charters, 8) This means, for example, that if there are 20 murder scenes, then the child will remember 12 of them. The next thing that they learned was that the 8 year old will remember 90% of what they saw in the movie six weeks after they saw it, and three months later, they still remember the same amount. The last thing that was observed was that children of all ages tend to accept as true the things that they see in movies. In addition, the scenes that children remember the most from a movie are action scenes, especially when it deals with sports, general conversation, crime, and fighting. The evidence that was found in this part of the study makes it clear that children do pick up a lot of information from the movies that they see and will remember the scenes for a long time. Because of this, being exposed to the kind of information that is shown in a rated R film will be unhealthy for the child.
Influencing Conduct
The last section of the study was on overall conduct of the children. They found that in studying two thousand children, one of the major influencers of the patterns of play, are films. The pretend worlds that children create often include people or places that they have experienced in a movie. Charters shared that parents who know what is being shown in the theaters must be careful and see that their children are viewing good pictures and are being defended from bad ones. They also felt that “an obligation rests upon those producers who love children to find a way of making the motion picture a beautiful, fascinating, and kindly servant of childhood.”


Thank you for listening to The Clown Car. Parenting is hard and we believe you should get a GOLD STAR just for trying! Just remember, our way’s not the only way, find what works for you. You’re doing a good job. You can follow us and share your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter @theclowncar and email us at, until next time, enjoy your circus.

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