Angela Ardolino of Tampa Bay Parenting,

Since the dawn of talking pictures (movies), audiences have craved gut-wrenching thrillers. But have you noticed the progressive turn to blood, gore and guts in the movies since you were a teen? Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is one of cinema’s most memorable horrors movies. In comparison to the Saw movies, which feature graphic torture and sexual violence, Psycho never shows violence instead using psychological techniques to scare movie goers.

Common Sense Media says this matters because our kids are becoming more and more desensitized to violence. Surely your teen understands that movies are fantasy but their bodies process the fright and gore the same way, hence causing your child to become accustomed to visuals. A recent University of Michigan study showed that teens who watched horror films experienced an increase in anxiety.

The solution is as simple as a 15-minute talk with your teen.

  • Explore their take on the violence. They may know this is fantasy, but point out that in real life, gruesome things happen all too often. Do your kids think horror movies condone this violence?
  • Try to talk about how the movies show sex in a violent way. This is a tough discussion to have with a teen who doesn’t want to hear the word "sex" from a parent. But take a moment to offer your values on the subject.
  • Check in about gender roles. How are the male characters portrayed differently than their female counterparts?

A conversation is important but know it IS okay for your teen to enjoy horror movies. Here’s a list of movies that will scare them not scar them.

- Psycho (1960)
- Poltergeist (1982)
- Blair Witch Project (1999)
- The Birds (1963)
- Sixth Sense (1999)


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