A couple of days back,a friend asked me, 'Do you write on parenting?' When I replied in affirmation,she asked me to take up a very relevant topic that I found intriguing.
'Kids and adult movies'
I decided to write on it but it soon it slipped out of my mind. A couple of days ago,when I went to watch a thriller certified A,thanks to the violence and abuses it was brimming with(don't get any ideas)with a friend, the number of infants and toddlers I saw there had me staring in disbelief.
I confirmed from my friend if we were in the wrong theatre,thanks to the screen number confusion in mutiplexes. Before she could reply,the movie started and lo and behold-it was the very movie we came to watch.
Then began the on-screen and off-screen drama!
The gory scenes onscreen had me worried about the minors in the audience. I have no idea how the parents were 'enjoying' the movie. One little girl was horrified by the villian's face and started shouting. The father scolded her to be quiet. How was it supposed to be an entertaining experience for the child? It must be traumatic.
The foul language being mouthed so comfortably on-screen had the little ones transfixed . I was so perplexed that I began concentrating more on the happenings in my surrounding than those on-screen. One mother was trying to shut her daughter's eyes while another took a bawling baby out.
I was curious as to why the children had been brought along. What the Hell had these people been thinking?
Curiousity got the better of me and during interval I asked a lady with a toddler in stow.
'Ab ghar kahan chhor kar aayein? Nuclear family hai,'
pat came the reply.
This was amusing. Could the craze of a movie be so much as to force a parent to drag a child along to an adult movie? I wanted to ask her further but my friend was not too pleased with my intention.
I still went and talked to the ticket guy and asked him how they had allowed minors in the theatre.
Did he not know it was a punishable offence?
He was a little scared but then admitted that people argue and create a scene if not allowed. Moreover with the online booking facility available, it is very difficult to reason with people when they arrive at the theatre and demand being allowed in.
When he saw the look of disgust on my face,he added,'No ma'am, we usually only allow lap babies or babies less than four years of age. They won't understand anything
. Many fall asleep during the movie.'
I pretty much heard him but it sounded more like a matter of money and collections at the ticket counter.
I re-entered the theatre after losing on at least half an hour of the movie and was given the silent treatment by my angry friend who refused to tell me the story.
Back home,I realised that what the ticket guy had said is what most of the parents probably believe too. They think it is ok to take along a child below 4 or a lap baby 'coz he/she won't understand anyway. It might be true for an infant (who won't enjoy an incredibly loud and dark place anyway)but I don't think it can be said for a toddler.
Who hasn't heard a three year old sing 'chaar botal vodka'
or another four year old dancing to 'sheila ki jawaani....I'm too sexy for you'
while the parents proudly look on?
Maybe the child doesn't know what sexy means but it is definitely not what we want the younger generation chanting!
For minds who do not know how to differentiate between reality and fantasy.....who believe that Chhota Bheem really lives in Dholakpur....how do you expect them to understand that what is going on on-screen is just fiction? Moreover,loud sounds in a pitch-black environment,without any distraction,create the best setting for influence.
Another logic people give is,'Our kids belong to the Internet Generation. They know everything.'
This is primarily due to the idiot box that kids today are watching without any parental control over the content. Don't we need to think again if kids need to know everything? I am not trying to say here that we need to keep our children away in a protective shell but I definitely believe that correct and relevant information must be fed to children at the appropriate age when their minds can process it.
A colleague was over for dinner when she coaxed her four year old to recite a poem for me( I hate this habit some parents have) but the offspring was stubbornly quiet.
I tried to help by saying 'Johny Johny...',expecting him to reply with 'Yes papa' but he started singing
'haan ji...maine pi hai...na ji'
The mother was laughing while I was appalled.
I think it is high time we re-consider our choices:
-Blurring of line between right and wrong
Exposing these impressionable minds to cigarette smoking,foul mouthing on-screen actors and actresses might not have your child craving for a fag but it sure will make him believe it is an 'okay' thing to do when he grows up...
Violence on-screen influences the young hearts a lot. It may not make them violent or anti-social but it can surely give your child nightmares .
As we are moving forward and talking of women empowerment,movies still continue to objectify women. Do not let your daughters and especially your sons, watch such movies.
-When to let your child start watching TV?
Fellow parents,do not use the idiot box as a baby-sitter. TV is appropriately called an idiot box and only slows development in a child as compared to unstructured play.
Go out,play with your child. If that is not possible,hire a babysitter,a human one! Your child is not a machine who needs to be constantly fed technology.
-How much to watch?
A child should not watch TV/play a video game for more than an hour in a day. Encourage group play and outdoor activities.
It is very important for a parent to use discretion and know exactly what a child is watching,be it on the small or big screen.
Please watch at least once what your child watches, I have seen cartoons that use and teach foul language. Do not let your child sit with you and watch saas-bahu
serials or gory action sequences.
Please do not take your child to an adult movie. The DVD will come out sooner or later....if the love of the big screen is irresistible,please leave your child with a babysitter or a reliable friend/relative. You can do the same for your friend.
-Do not underestimate children
Do not ever,I repeat ever underestimate the mental ability of your child. You will be surprised to know what all young children understand and imbibe.
I still remember an incident from when I was in standard XII and was staying with my younger cousins (who were in class V and III respectively) during vacations. We were watching a movie wherein a villian was holding down a hapless woman.
The one in class V asked me,'Why is he doing this didi?'
Before I could conjure up an explanation,the class III brat replied promptly,'You don't even know this? He is trying to rape her.' I was dumb-struck! I asked him if he knew what the word meant and he said,'Yes,holding a person down.'
Do you still think kids don't undertand?
-Let kids be kids!
Let kids be kids...do not encourage sheilas
...everyone grows up eventually! Retain the innocence as long as it is possible.
We owe them this !!!