Archive for March 26th, 2012

The Hunger Games opened in theaters on March 23.  Some Christian parents read the novel and plan to let their children see the movie, but others are asking a lot of questions.  If I get the opportunity, I plan to view the movie for myself.  For now, I’m reading various reviews.  Perhaps the following may be helpful to any parent wondering about this PG-13 movie.

Dr. Brenda Hunter, a psychologist and the co-author of From Santa to Sexting, warns that the movie is really about child sacrifice.  According to Hunter, the adults portrayed in the story are either impotent or voyeuristic and watch as children kill each other.  Parents, she says, should be concerned.

Dr. Hunter writes that kids are being “desensitized to violence” on a regular basis.  “There are over a thousand studies linking media violence to aggressive behavior in some children.”  And once desensitized, she says, the children are no longer afraid or revolted by what they see.  Hunter says “that begins to erode their God-given sense of humanity.”

“There’s a new philosophy that parents and adults seem to have in this culture,” Dr. Hunter explains.  “And it is: Let’s expose kids to everything.  Let’s expose them to sex.  Let’s expose them to violence — and they’ll be the better for it.”

Those of you who know me are well aware that I have grave concerns — have had for a long time — about the goal of getting children “comfortable with their sexuality.”  I’ve just finished writing Faithfulness: One Child at a Time (Q & A on Sex Education vs. Instruction in Purity for Christian Dialogue).  It reveals the roots of what Dr. Hunter is talking about: “Let’s expose kids to everything.”  This concept is not Biblical, but secular.  The concept of “exposing kids to everything” opposes God’s mandate to protect the innocence of children and mentor them away from evil and the darker side of this world.  Sex educators have this theory that if they give kids all knowledge… all information, then they’ll be o.k.  But, an adolescent brain is not like an adult brain.  Adult brains use the PFC (pre-frontal cortex) to think, rationalize, or apply brakes to emotional responses.  The PFC is not fully developed in an adolescent.  In fact, it may not be fully functioning until the mid-twenties.  Is it any wonder that God wants parents to set boundaries for their sons and daughters?  The emotional systems, hormones, and “gut reactions” of an adolescent may be fully functioning, but without the ability to reason or use good judgment, this age-group is extremely vulnerable.

An interview with Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games trilogy, is instructive.  When asked why she thinks people are enticed by TV reality shows, she replied, “Well, they’re often set up as games and, like sporting events, there’s an interest in seeing who wins . . . sometimes they have very talented people performing.  Then there’s the voyeuristic thrill — watching people being humiliated, or brought to tears, or suffering physically — which I find very disturbing.  There’s also the potential for desensitizing the audience, so that when they see real tragedy playing out on, say, the news, it doesn’t have the impact it should.”

WORLD magazine responds to this statement: “This is a very poignant criticism of our culture, and one that deserves to be taken seriously. But for all the beauty and moral high ground [The Hunger Games] contains, it’s just as true that the world Collins has created is terribly evil.  Teenagers are dispatched throughout the movie by knives, swords, and mutated dogs; adults are either too powerless or corrupt to help; and [heroine] Katniss herself experiences an inward despair that will (in coming installments) lead her to attempt suicide . . . The Hunger Games  may produce the same deadening effect on the conscience that Collins seeks to warn us against.”  (This review to appear in the April 7, 2012, issue of WORLD.)

No wonder Dr. Hunter says that parents need to learn to say no.  Her recommendation: “Don’t let children go see The Hunger Games.”  (OneNewsNow.com 3-23-12)

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