My youngest daughter (aged ten) has just got the news she's getting into the same high school as her elder sister (aged thirteen) and we were looking for a celebratory occasion. She's told me she wants to watch Shaun Of The Dead.
She'd seen a bit of it a few weeks ago when it was on ITV2 (as it ever is) and I was feeling particularly lax. The bit in the garden when they are throwing records. Since then she has been asking me more about the film. She has been on Wikipedia. She has spoken to other kids at her school who have seen the film.
We have talked through the concept of screen violence. Scenes that may disturb her. Bad language. Imitable behaviour. She has pointed out that she watched Doctor Who – and has done for years. She hears lots of swearing at school, though she never uses it herself (at least not when we can hear her). She plays Fortnite. The film has a rating of 15 in the UK, rather than 18, which she has no intent to cross. Yet. She'd watch it with me, to be sure. She knows I am in the movie for about three seconds (bottom right of screen when we see the Winchester for the first time) and wants to see that too. She knows lots of the actors from Doctor Who and she understands that they are actors playing people. And if they die that's only pretend. She even talked about tomato ketchup – man, she will love that scene in Hot Fuzz. She also pointed out that I let her read any book she wants as long as she talks it over with me, before and afterwards. If she changes her mind and doesn't like it, we can turn it off. Oh and she's going to be all of eleven in a week and she's been very good.
I mean, she makes a good case.
And it's one that's going to come up more and more as genres containing characters typically aimed at younger audiences start to cross the 15 and 18 barriers. Deadpool and Logan, I'm looking at you more than I am at Watchmen. But still.
So I did what any responsible parent does. I took to the internet to ask other people.
I am being persuaded to let my ten-year-old daughter watch Shaun Of the Dead with me. We have a number of discussions about content, violence, swearing, scariness and the like but she makes an impressive case. Either I would be a very good parent or a very bad one. Thoughts?
— Rich Johnston (@richjohnston) March 1, 2019
And there were lots of interesting responses.
Do it – we did they (one's 11 the other's 9) were cool with it. They really loved Hot Fuzz though.
— Dave Hendrick (@DaveHendrick) March 1, 2019
Well yes, obviously, that would come next but there's an order to these things.
With the Internet, kids have access to all kinds of content. It is better to expose them to most stuff with you in the room to frame it.
— Dean Hacker (@dhacker615) March 1, 2019
That's true, we did that with Doctor Who. And Nightmare Before Christmas. And Coraline. You may laugh, but that's one hell of a screwed up movie.
My boy is 10, almost 11. We watched Shaun of the Dead with him recently after he also pleaded a case. The window scene was the look away moment but we discussed it before watching the film.
— MynameisURL (@jaimehatesme) March 1, 2019
That is a pretty gross scene. Okay, maybe. Good point.
Nope…not ten…too young
In my opinion…
But then again I watched robocop at 7 and i turned out alright, didn't I?!
— Matt Garvey (@MattGarvey1981) March 1, 2019
Should I buy that for a dollar? This link to Matt Zoller Seitz showing a bunch of similarly-aged kids the James Cameron movie Aliens was a great link to send me.
I was still umming and ahhing. And then I got this response.
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) March 1, 2019
Well then. Shaun of The Dead it is. Haven't told her Mum yet though. Looks like she has a whole other battle to fight first… will let you know how it goes.