Is it safe for kids to be allowed to see superhero movies/TV shows because more often they portray themselves as superheros and perform the moves done by them?

In India some two years back there was a superhero show called sakthimaan and kids of ages 5-10 became crazy about his moves and stunts. Some 15 children died trying to portray him.

So for a safety reason, should we allow kids around 5-10 yrs to see superhero movies/TV shows?

asked 11 Mar '10, 09:34

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Pandiya Chendur
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edited 11 Mar '10, 09:40

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I think it is ok for kids to watch a superheromovie, and be a superhero when he's playing.

But the child should be aware that there is a difference between fantasy and reality (or: the movie and the real world), and that's what you as a parent can teach him.

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answered 11 Mar '10, 11:42

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+1 Fisherman, it helps if you can watch shows with them that depict how the stunts were done, how complicated it is to pull them off safely and all the precautions that are taken.

(11 Mar '10, 15:05) Neen

As Fisherman says, children need to be aware of the difference between fantasy and reality. They also need to be made aware of boundaries when playing. So for example make it clear it is OK to "fly" round the garden, but not to climb the walls or to hit - even if you are a super hero. Accidents will always happen, but it is important to not overestimate the risks of play. Some risk is healthy for children as it helps prepare them for the world.

I'd probably not let my child watch TV unsupervised until they are older, firstly because I don't want them to watch too much TV, and secondly because I think a parent should be there to help the child make sense of what they're seeing and answer their questions. If your child asks you if they can fly, you could say something like "yes, but only if daddy is holding you" then pick them up and fly them around the room a bit.

As far as the risk is concerned, You should bear in mind that we are as a species not fully adjusted to the levels of information now available to us. Until fairly recently people's experiences of the World were mostly pretty direct. We'd experience some things often and others rarely. We use the incidents we see to judge the level of risk of something and act accordingly. With the globalisation of news, and good news not being report worthy, we are often exposed to rare events and they come to be seen as real problems.

For example, people often say that the world is a much riskier place than 20-30 years ago, when in fact crime rates are falling round most of the world, we just read about or watch them on the news more often so perceive the risk to be higher.

If you think of 15 deaths in the context of the entire population of India, it starts to put the deaths in some perspective. First think of all the children in India, then think of the percentage that have played at being 'sakthimaan'. If it is 1% of the 360 million children aged 0-14 in India that would represent 15 deaths out of 3.6 million children that may have played as Superheroes. I'd be interested to see how that rate compared with the death rate on the roads or due to faulty appliances for example.

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answered 11 Mar '10, 15:27

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+1 very interesting. LIke thinking about it in terms of "we are as a species not fully adjusted to the levels of information now available to us."

Also agree with not letting them watch TV unsupervised -- advertising is another good reason for this. You need to teach them to take advertisements with a grain of salt.

(11 Mar '10, 16:58) Anne
1

+1 for putting the problem in proper perspective of incredibly minuscule compared to the population.

(11 Mar '10, 20:38) lgritz

Skeptical hat firmly on:

I'm not sure I believe that the superhero movie caused them to do it. Sometimes kids do dumb things, and when you ask them later why they did it they are unable to articulate a reason so they make something up. (For that matter, so do adults.) And since the kids died, I'm assuming they didn't say in their own words why they did it. I wonder in how many of these cases the superhero connection is a post-hoc justification by adults searching for a reason for the tragedy when none exists. I find it very plausible that the accident rate is statistically fairly steady (before and after Shaktimaan), but now those accidents are being blamed on a new show that certain adults aren't fond of. That kind of thing happens all the time.

I've done some web searching on the topic (google "Shaktimaan child death"). There are a number of articles about "Shaktimaan-inspired deaths", but they all appear to be simple hangings or jumping off buildings.

From my research, it appears that IF -- and that's a big if -- these deaths are Shakthimaan-related, it's not that they are imitating the superhero's stunts, but rather than they are making a suicide attempt expecting Sakthimaan to save them (example here). Not a single article I saw said why anybody would think this -- for example, a note saying "Sakthimaan will save me."

I can imagine the following scene: Distraught parent: "Why would my son hang himself?" Policeman: "I'm sure he didn't really want to leave you, he probably thought Shaktimaan would save him." Times of India Reporter: "I'll make page 1 if I blame this on Shaktimaan rather than just report another pointless child suicide or accident." Yeah, that sounds much more plausible to me than kids as old as 14 actually believing that if they hang themselves the superhero will save them.

Late-breaking edit: this article (read the last 5 paragraphs) about media and kids is also highly skeptical that kids are as simpleminded as the media paints them when it comes to blindly imitating Shaktimaan.

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answered 14 Mar '10, 13:33

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edited 14 Mar '10, 13:44

Slightly off topic, but I gave in to nostalgia and recently bought:

  • Ivor the engine
  • The Clangers
  • Bagpuss
  • Trumpton
  • The Wombles
  • Paddington Bear
  • Mr Ben

With my daughters, we are working our way through one episode a day, before bedtime. It's a lovely routine, short and sweet, they both love it, and it's pleasant for me too.

And I don't imagine there have been any fatal accidents related to these particular series :)

(Still hesitating for The Magic Roundabout, Rhubarb and Custard, Crystal Tips and Alexis.)

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answered 15 Mar '10, 13:25

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You missed all 13 flumptastic episodes of the Flumps. I'm gradually collecting the free DVDs you sometimes get with the Sunday papers

(15 Mar '10, 13:32) Rich Seller

@Rich Seller. Don't remember the Flumps. To be honest, I think we only had a telly for 2 or 3 years, before it died and my parents decided that was a good thing. I clearly remember hiding behind the settee for Doctor Who though (Tom Baker, the only true Doctor, of course)

(16 Mar '10, 05:58) Benjol

Tom Baker rocked as the Doctor. But my daughter has declared Doctor Who is too scary and refuses to watch it with me.

(30 Jun '10, 17:09) mkcoehoorn
-1

Yes, it's making 5-10 years kids to watch superhero tv shows. But we have to make them clear that what all the stunts or fantasy are not real things.

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answered 29 Jun '15, 07:11

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This sounds like personal opinion. Please see our "back it up" principle. We need to have some link to the source, or explain it's your personal experience and how it worked for you.

(24 Jul '15, 20:26) Scott ♦♦
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Asked: 11 Mar '10, 09:34

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Last updated: 24 Jul '15, 20:26