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How to Decide Whether to Let Your Child Watch a Scary Movie

How to Decide Whether to Let Your Child Watch a Scary Movie

With Halloween right around the corner, the question of whether to let your children watch a scary movie is on the minds of many parents. If your child wants to know what the horror genre is all about and you want to be ready with an answer, we've rounded up several different perspectives, all from Circle of Moms members, on how to decide whether he or she is ready for this very particular kind of thrill.

It's Clearly Fake, And Kids Don't Get Scared

For several Circle of Moms members, letting children watch scary movies just doesn't seem like it's even much of an issue. Amanda H. is one of these moms. As she shares: "My niece is 9 and she's been watching scary movies for over two years now. She doesn't get freaked out by them; she usually thinks they're lame, lol."

Desi B. even allows her toddler to watch scary movies: “I didn't want my oldest to watch a horror movie because she is two, but she did watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre and she liked it and didn't want me to [turn it off]. I was worried she would have nightmares but she didn't. She said she liked it.”

Think Desi's daughter will be traumatized by watching such a scary movie at such a young age? Not if her relationship with horror flicks turns out like Ashely J.'s did: "I have been watching scary movies since I was two. At sex scenes I'd have to cover my eyes and it was usually fast-forwarded. I learned...that it was all fake, and the blood was ketchup/paint. Horror is my favorite genre, and I have yet to be scared by one."


Scary Movies Are Definitely Not for Children

On the other side of the debate are moms who feel strongly that young children should not watch frightening movies. "There's no reason to expose children to those things," say Teresa. 

Brianna D. agrees: "Kids are so senstive and impressionable and can be hugely impacted, even traumatized, when seeing things that they cannot understand are not reality. I was exposed to scary movies as a young child and was hugely affected by it. I was very fearful, had nightmares, etc., for many years after."

It's not just nightmares that these moms worry about. As Kelly W. explains, "There is a lot of content in movies rated PG-13 or R that is not suitable for small children, including language and sexual content, as well as the violence and 'scariness.'" As a result, she strictly follows the film rating guidelines: "My kids honestly were not allowed to watch PG-13 movies until they turned 13, and R-rated movies until age 17.

It All Depends on the Child

Many Circle of Moms members share that they feel most comfortable waiting until their children are preteens or teens before they allow them to watch scary movies. "Most horror films have an age restriction for a reason," says Alison. "I don't think any horror films are suitable for actual children, but some are okay for teens. The ones with a science fiction or cheesy, comedy element to them are probably okay for most pre-teens too."

Jackie agrees: "I think it totally depends on the child. My husband's son is 14 and can't handle anything, really...I know plenty of 10-year-olds who love the mystery/suspense/murder-horror type movies and can just go about their business when it's over.

Still unsure? Amy K. offers a good final tip: "If in doubt, watch the movies without the kids and then decide for yourself on a movie by movie basis."

At what age did you watch your first horror movie?

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