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The Effects of Watching Horror Movies

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: Is it considered normal or OK for a four-year-old to love to watch alien movies and "Godzilla-type" shows?

A: I do not consider it appropriate developmentally for a four-year-old to be watching alien-type horror/suspense movies or "Godzilla-type" shows. Kids at this stage and age are not able to distinguish fully between fantasy and reality. There is no reason for them to be exposed to the frightening images and content of movies and TV shows such as these. Kids have enough natural fears and anxieties to contend with during their preschool years without having to deal with the worries, confusion and fears that these shows conjure up. All his TV viewing (which I hope is minimal) should be carefully monitored and preferably accompanied by an adult's presence.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


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