Hunger Games too frightening for children?

There’s a debate going on about the highly-anticipated movie The Hunger Games, based on the books by author Suzanne Collins, discussing whether the popular novel-turned-movie is appropriate for young children. The movie, filled with violent scenes of children forced to brutally kill each other in a televised competition, is rated PG in Ontario and not recommended for younger children. Lisa Gray, a family therapist who read the books, says she’s looking forward to the movie, but won’t be bringing her 10-year-old son because she doesn’t think “he can handle it yet.” She says it’s important for parents whose children have read the books or are seeing the movie to talk to them about the violence. “If you have a mature child of 10 or older and you have good communication,” she says, “there is a lot to learn here.” Common Sense Media, an American based not-for-profit organization, has rated The Hunger Games “Pause 13+” — meaning you need to decide if your child can handle the brutality in the film. Editor Betsy Bozdech told Entertainment Weekly, “It’s iffy for the age, but some 13-year-olds may be able to handle it, and some may not. You need to know your kid and your family and take it from there.” She also said the movie has positive messages from the strong role model Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence. ~Renita Naraine

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Joan • March 22, 2012 @ 12:23 AM

    Anyone who takes their kid to this needs to have their head examined.

  2. Sam • March 21, 2012 @ 10:27 PM

    Haha c mon you havent even seen it yet. Video games are violent too

  3. Olive • March 21, 2012 @ 10:34 PM

    Seriously? If u take a 11 or younger kid to the Hunger Games, or even a kid who cant handle violence, give your good head a shake. Besides, the people going to this can handle violence, so why bring someone that CANT? Its not the studios fault for distributing this, its the parents who decide to take an 8 year old to this. Be a responsible parent and pick something else like The Lorax. As for the whole “talk to your kid about the violence” thing, I dont understand the point. Yes, if your kid is very violent or have been disturbed by the books, then talk to them. But if they can handle it, I wouldnt. I saw Kill Bill when I was 15, my mom siad nothing. Its because I could handle it. So if your kid cant handle it, talk to them. If they can, screw it and let them go to it. Thats just my opinion.

  4. Ur mom • March 22, 2012 @ 10:43 AM

    Seriously?! I saw Rambo and Saving Private Ryan when I was 7 and I turned out fine. 😀

  5. Dawn • March 22, 2012 @ 11:13 AM

    If you have read the books, you would know that it will be disturbingly violent and bloody in places. Assuming they left all of that in…

    I agree with 13+.

    Saving Private Ryan at 7? Eep.

  6. Sarah • March 22, 2012 @ 11:37 AM

    This movie should be rated R just for the concept of it. Ridiculous!

  7. Erica • March 22, 2012 @ 12:31 PM

    If your child knows the difference between fiction and reality and knows what entertainment is then whats the problem? My daughter who will be 10 years old has grown up watching all the comic book movies and she is perfectly fine because she KNOWS its not real. All the people that die in movies are just fine in real life. People need to stop blaming all the different types of media for the way their children act. Its the parents responsibility to teach the child. Only you know your child and NO ONE has any right whatsoever to judge you.

  8. Greg • March 22, 2012 @ 12:35 PM

    Lol…you’re quite sad Sarah. That is all

  9. Gina • March 22, 2012 @ 1:25 PM

    The book is graphic the movie is not . . . worst scene is first one at start of games, but you don’t actually see kids being killed, you just assume they are because of what’s going on . . . then it pans and shows them just lying there. Is it violent yes, but it’s a movie and everyone can handle different things, to say that a parent that takes their young child to this should shake their head is stupid – we see more violence and brutality played out on the nightly news (which is real) than we see in this movie!!

  10. Tara • March 22, 2012 @ 3:07 PM

    I have now heard numerous reports that they don’t dwell on the blood and gore in the movie – yes, there is death and violence, but it pans over it rather quickly and isn’t “glorified” in the same way it was in, say, Kill Bill. Chances are if the child wants to see the movie, it’s because they read the book. If they can handle the book, they can handle the movie because they already understand the concept of it as a fictional tale and know in advance that yes, there is death in the plotlines.
    As a kid: who wasn’t freaked out by Ursula the sea witch who was scary as heck and then killed violently; who didn’t have a minor ( or major! ) meltdown when Mufasa died at Scar’s hands and Simba cried; worried about how scary the mutts will be in Hunger Games? What about the wolves in Beauty and the Beast! Yes, all beloved childrens movies that many good, kind, even overprotective parents put on for their children at a very young age. And no one questions that, and no one appears to be harmed because of it.
    To sum up – if your child watched Disney movies, and/or if they can read and understand the book, they can likely handle the Hunger Games just fine.

  11. HungerGamesFan • March 22, 2012 @ 3:25 PM

    I think people need to start accepting that kids are becoming more and more exposed to stuff like this at an earlier age. I dont think any 13-year-old would be shocked by this.

  12. Callie • March 22, 2012 @ 4:08 PM

    Hey my niece saw the lord of the rings trilogy when she was 6 or 7 and she’s fine. she knew the difference between real and not real. I saw Jaws when I was 6, scared the bejesus outta me (mainly cuz I wasn’t supposed to be watching it) but I’m ok today.

  13. Tracy • March 22, 2012 @ 6:12 PM

    what kind of warped mind would even think up a story like this, let alone have it made into a movie that children can go see??? it wasn’t long ago that a movie with swearing was restricted, and now you can take 2 year olds to see kids murder kids! it’s just not normal! dollars to donuts that someone is going to get killed emulating this movie.

  14. Thibz • March 22, 2012 @ 8:13 PM

    What kind of thoughts will this provoke in the eyes of the youth. A child can say “O yah mom or dad i can handle that” but be lieing just to see it out of popularity and in the end come out truamtized. To kill other kids for sport is absurd and no child should see that unless we want another columbind.

  15. derek jay • March 22, 2012 @ 8:50 PM

    I think it’s fine for all audiences whom have read the book to see the movie. If they are mature eneugh to finish the book. It’s fine to see the movie.

  16. Joshua • March 22, 2012 @ 8:54 PM

    Are you kidding me? Kids have been killing kids for a very long time. Even here in Northamerica. Just look it up, it happens all the time…

  17. Bob Dobbs • March 22, 2012 @ 10:33 PM

    Ratings are strange! If you cut off a breast its rated PG13 but if you kiss it its rated R.

  18. Olive • March 22, 2012 @ 11:03 PM

    Ok, really guys? Kids get exposed to this ALOT. To the person who said that the wonderful author that is Suzanne Collins has a twisted mind for thinking this up, that some kid is going to emulate the movie and kill someone, and that 2 year olds are going to see this u really dont get it. Its FREAKING PG-13! If u try and take a toddler to this, you will probably either get arrested or told that u need to go see The Lorax or some kiddy movie. Also, this wont end up like that guy and Taxi Driver, kids no this is fake. If some kid does this, then its not the movies fault: its because their mind isnt right an the movie kind of gave them ideas. As for the warped mind comment, I guess having that sort of mind gets u famous these days 🙂

    To the person who says that this will provoke another Columbine, that is not accurate. If a kid sees it and they are not ready for it and they come home upset and disturbed, THEN TALK TO THEM! Besides, kids these days know the difference between reality and fantasy. Also, Columbine ISNT a good example for that. Columbine was caused by bullying not some violent movie.

    They arent going to show the violence people. It would be rated R if they did, and since it isnt rated R its going to probably b low key violence with not tons of blood. And Bob Dobbs, ratings r messed (to quote some documentary I saw a while ago, violence is fine sex isnt.)

  19. Stacie • March 23, 2012 @ 12:12 AM

    I agree with the whole ‘if they have read the books and were fine, they can see the movies’ thing. Kids now a days see and hear about way worse on TV.

    People being killed and severely hurt in Iraq and Afghanistan, school shootings, murders, bombings. The list goes on and on.

    Kids of today have grown up with these types of things all around them.

    I myself wouldnt take a child under ten to see this movie until after I myself had seen it and decided if I thought it was appropriate or not. But if another adult decided to take their child or a young child to this movie without seeing it first, it is their decision. I am not going to judge them because of it because it isnt me that might have to deal with a crying and upset child afterwards. They are the ones that have to deal with the consequences of that young child seeing the movie, not me.

  20. joe • March 23, 2012 @ 2:40 AM

    here’s an idea folks…if you haven’t read the books…don’t comment on them or you sound like a f***ing r**ard…if you haven’t seen the movie, don’t comment on it…lastly for the love of God, mind your business what other people let there kids watch

  21. Dan • March 23, 2012 @ 3:41 AM

    Its rated PG! Cant get more child friendly than that. They will probably see more violence on the news than in this movie.

  22. anonymous • March 23, 2012 @ 8:31 AM

    Even the books say for audiences 14 years of age or older. Who would bring a young child to see the film anyways? Or let young children read the novels? It’s obviously intended for a mature audience.

  23. Debbie Magnin • March 23, 2012 @ 3:26 PM

    my grandchildren’s dad sees no problem letting his 6 and 3 year old kid watch violent horrors and other graphic movies i believe it is 110% wrong to encourage a kid to watch this kind of violence.

  24. Missy • March 23, 2012 @ 5:29 PM

    I read the first book Joe, and I wouldn’t let my kids read it or watch the movie. The subject matter is disturbing and this movie/the book is for people with blood lust, who like watching cruelty. It makes me very sad for society as a whole.

  25. spikelotron • March 24, 2012 @ 12:18 PM

    its PG! who cares, i was watching rated R horror movies when i was 7 years old. i knew it was all fake, so nothing wrong with it.

  26. Olive • March 24, 2012 @ 8:47 PM

    @Missy Again, the book is about the future and how society changed into a bloodbath since theen. I saw the movie yesterday and seriously, it wasnt that bad. They only show blood and gore in small amounts, and most of the time they dont show the tributes getting killed. Yes, you shouldnt bring, say, a child inbetwwen the ages of 1-9 to this no matter how mature they are, and that you need to make sure your kid wont become diturbed by some parts, but over all its fine for mature audiences to watch. Saying that people that go see this enjoy watching cruelty is a dumb remark. You know some people now have to go through true cruelty, not fictionalized, and saying we enjoy watching that is mean. Do you think we r fine with the wars going on and Kony and his army of kids running around? No. The Hunger Games is about being forced to kill, like Kony is doing, and about the aftermath of war, like the unknown about what will happen when the Afganistan or Iraq wars are over. We are going to watch it because the story has depth and is slightly relatable to what is going on right now. A former soldier is going to see this and relate with having to leave and possibly lose your family. A mother or sister will see this and unerstand what Katniss feels like when she leaves her sister and loses a friend in the games. You understand? We dont enjoy cruelty or murder. We watch certain movies because we connect with the story.

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