Depending on how old you are, you might claim that the movies and television shows of your childhood were the best. Some may be adapted from books, some only bear a faint resemblance to literature, and others still are brand-new. If you have children of your own, you likely only look into the movie rating before carting them off to the theater.
But what if you’re children’s “G” rated movie is inspiring foul language and violence, without even knowing it? Studies by the Association for Natural Psychology show that as children’s films are slowly becoming more violent, they’re also playing a major role in children’s development.
What’s so bad about Beauty and the Beast?
While this may seem like just another Disney creation to keep your toddler quiet and entertained, let’s take away the animation and look at the storyline. Belle isn’t just your average girl; she’s the most beautiful girl in town (and she seems to know it). While she’s still kind and sweet, there’s an entire song number focused on her beauty. For a woman who reads books, the focus may more likely be on her intelligence: do you really want to tell your baby girl that beauty is all that matters?
Films such as Peter Pan, Bambi, and The Lion King also feature intense emotional scenes that may be traumatic for young children. Besides violence and scenes involving death, seemingly innocent films also involve themes of ostracizing, manipulation, and deception.
More recent films, such as the Shrek saga, began from a storyline loosely based on a book. However, after the original film, the sequels have quickly turned to tales of in-laws, children, and careers: all subjects not typically found in children’s stories.
Not all the news is bad: after all, Disney movies are popular for a reason. Besides the lovable characters and fulfilling storylines, the popular children’s films also work to help develop your baby’s brain.
It’s common knowledge that a child’s brain is still developing, and very impressionable. Children’s movies are designed to help improve them by supplying larger vocabulary words, examples of social situations, as well as new languages. At the same time that Pocahontas is largely historically inaccurate, it’s teaching your toddler new Native American words and values.
The next time you pop in a Disney film and plan on napping, watch the film from your child’s point of view. What new words (good and bad) are you learning? Do you even realize the inaccuracies and violence in the films, or are you more concerned with the princess finding her prince?