Today I am off with a large handful of small people and a few biggies to see the long awaited Toy Story 3. You can imagine the excitement. Lots of jumping around, giggling, rumbling and cuddles going on. The cousins are on the move.

I like to do a bit of research before I sit my three year old in front of a movie; especially when it’s screening in a dark, crowded cinema. Toy Story 3 has  had rave reviews. Pixar says that it makes animated films for both children and adults; which can be problematic.

I sometimes cringe in movies where sexual innuendo surfaces or there’s bad language or drug references. How protective should we be when it comes to children’s films? How much is too much cotton wool? The Australian government has a website that is all about how much exposure is too much for kids: childrenandmedia.org.au. You may be surprised at their recommendations.

For months I have been promising my kids an outing to see Toy story 3. There has been great excitement building as they see all the promotional gear around them. And now, there are previews. So, what did the website say? Have I failed motherhood 101?

“…there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five. They are enhanced by the 3D component of the film which causes objects to suddenly emerge from the screen.”

And then there are the cringe-worthy sexual references, oh Pixar, why? The websites says:

“There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Buzz feels ‘hot’ when Jessie moves up close to him
  • Barbie compliments Ken on his “ass”
  • Mrs Potato Head rubs her hands along a toy with big biceps and she says: “Why hello there….May I?”
  • Ken is showing Barbie around his house and states: ‘This is where the magic happens….’ and then shows her his wardrobe.”

I may sound like a bit of a prude but really, is all this stuff necessary?  Do they check with real live parents about what we want our kids to see? There’s all this hype and the kids get excited, then parents are left red-faced, carrying the guilt of exposing little minds to the rubbish of the adult world. And most of the time it’s accidental. I just want to run into the Pixar office and plead, ” run these ideas past us first”.

So, how much damage is done by these ‘innocent’ films? Am I overreacting? What is the harm? Doesn’t it just go over their heads?

I guess the important thing is that we continue to talk to our kids about issues. We cannot protect them from every foul message out there. It is good to be informed about how movies and the like will affect our kids so that we can keep the communication lines open and walk them from the world of innocence into the more disturbing real world. But only when it is time!

For Toy Story 3, Children and the media website recommends:

“This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as

  • mistreating and bullying others
  • not giving help when it is needed
  • being imprisoned or abandoned”

And they don’t recommend it for under fives! Tough call.

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