The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 12, 2013

Monitor films

Daily Item

---- — As a middle school teacher, I often hear about the violent movies children enjoy. I've noticed that many kids are not only desensitized to violence, but often glorify it. If you're a parent, please closely monitor the films to which your children are exposed. There's a chance they aren't mature enough for some of them.

Do I watch violent films? Sure. For example, I love The Dark Knight trilogy. The violence in these films is incredibly disturbing. There is, however, an enormous difference between my watching them as a morally-grounded 30-year-old as opposed to my seeing them as an impressionable 13-year-old. My conscience won't allow me to enjoy when villains burn down mansions, blow up hospitals, or destroy football stadiums. I'm uncomfortable when a man gleefully videotapes homicides or opens fire on civilians in the city's stock exchange. But I also understand the purpose behind filming these sadistic acts: to accentuate the righteousness of the story's heroes. The heroes are clearly "good" because the villains are clearly "evil." Because of my values, I find the heroism inspiring.

When my wife and I decide our children are ready, we'll be watching these types of films as a family. Our kids won't be seeing them in a theater with some friends and no adult supervision. Through discussion, we'll help our kids understand the seriousness of violence and make sure they aren't simply enjoying the "action." I hope you as a parent will do the same.

Being a teacher, I understand how trivial violence has become to kids. Your children may still be too impressionable to watch certain movies without guidance. Please remember that you are the best person to help teach them the valuable lessons these films can contain -- right now, they may only enjoy them because of the violence.

Matthew Godshall, Mifflinburg