Galactic Hot Dogs
Home > Entertainment and Activities > Movies, TV, Internet > Movies > Can Movie Violence Influence a 12-Year-Old?

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Can Movie Violence Influence a 12-Year-Old?

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

Q: My son is 12 years old and he is into scary movies. His teachers and other family members are very concerned. He is constantly drawing scary things,like the grim reaper and things he has seen in different movies and books. I don't discourage him because of his interest in wanting to become a special effects artist.

So my question is, am I wrong for allowing him to watch them or read about scary subjects? He is very good at his art and I'm not sure what to say to my peers about discouraging him. I would love some advice on what to do.

A: The gore and violence in the horror genre movies that you mention is not something that I would recommend for the healthy development of a preadolescent. He's at a very impressionable age and stage now. The sex and violence themes rampant in these teen-oriented films do not offer him appropriate pro-social attitudes or images of man-woman co-existence. It's difficult for me to ignore my concerns for your son simply because he says he want to be a special effects artist.

I would not encourage or support his obsession with these movies or their images but I would brainstorm with him for other fantasy images that he could draw. I'd also set up some correspondence or meetings with actual special effects artists who work in the movies. Take his artistic dreams seriously but expand his vision by exposing him to real artists who do what he dreams of doing.

More on: Expert Advice

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.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


10 Best Creative Apps for Kids
Looking for apps that foster creativity? Check out these top-rated art and music apps for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

A New Intergalactic Reading Adventure!
Get your reluctant reader hooked on an irresistible new story, Galactic Hot Dogs! Join the Book 1 reading marathon, and get behind-the-scenes tidbits on the official Galactic Hot Dogs blog. Also, print this cool Galactic Hot Dogs reading log to keep your bookworm excited about reading!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks