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27 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t worry about the visuals as much as the audio. Usually the violence is accompanied by gunshots and screams. I don’t think the child needs to hear that.

shilolo's avatar

I would sooner watch a movie with sexual content than violent content. At least the former can be construed as “natural”, while the later can be much more disturbing.

spendy's avatar

I’m with you both. We are totally opposed, but have heard several other parents say, “Sheesh, they’re newborn (or 6 months, 8 months, etc.). They don’t know or understand and won’t remember.” Strikes me as a disturbing mentality.

allengreen's avatar

I don’t watch violence with my children either as infants or as the 4 and 7 year olds they are now. I will never forget my daughter’s reaction to Zimba getting killed in the Lion King—regardless of what any expert says, such strong emotional reactions by such young kids cannot be positive.

babygalll's avatar

I agree with johnpowell. I wouldn’t watch violent movies with kids of any age. The audio can be more disturbing than the visual.

To add to spendywatson comment infants at that age do understand and are very alert. They understand the sound between a comforting voice and a violent voice.

Trance24's avatar

It wouldn’t be the images I was bothered about. I would be all the noise that follows in violent movies. It would most likley scare the baby, and then induce crying. It’s hard to watch a movie when the baby is crying because of all the screaming, gun shots being fired, and chainsaws.

squirbel's avatar

I would not.

I do not underestimate the power of human memory. Children possess this memory and the ability to parse sensory input even at beginning ages.

People who assume that children magically start remembering things at 3 and 5 are idiots. Children are affected by all that is around them and in their environment.

Violent films, especially these days, are chock full of alarming sounds and visuals. All of these signal danger and can cause the child to worry. Because he cannot decipher the difference between the actors in the film and his own parents [aside from voice recognition].... the screams of terror signal fear. How is he to know that his provider isn’t in danger?

marinelife's avatar

I believe what Marian Woodman says about the images we take in having a strong impact on our psyches. I would think infants would be especially sensitive to violent images and sound.

cheebdragon's avatar

allengreen~ I wont let my kid watch disney movies anymore because they almost always have a traumatic scene that involves the loss of a parent…..

skfinkel's avatar

They try and make these films violent for adults—just think about what the effect might be on a child. And why do this anyway? After the child is in bed, watch all the violent films you want!

Maybe the overarching question to ask is: “Will my child be improved by this experience?” If not, don’t do it.

delirium's avatar

alengreen: not tone a stickler but mufasa was the one that died. ;)

that1mom's avatar

No, because although they are tiny and don’t seem to grasp the violence, they still hear all of the sounds and feel the tension from the actions being portrayed on screen. It can make for fussy and nervous little ones.

delirium's avatar

*tone = to be

treuprosperity's avatar

No, I don’t watch to many violent movies anymore since I had my children. I think about how I used to react when I watched violent movies and know that as a child it is not a good idea for them to watch either.

scamp's avatar

I would not watch violence or sex while a child is in the room, or within hearing distance of either. Sorry shi, but ‘natural’ or not, I don’t think kids should be exposed to this. They learn these things too quickly as it is.

Miss_Lys's avatar

No never, especially since when they are young there mind and education is still developing. you wouldnt want to be caught off guard when you infant is talking about blood and sex. This is why you see little girls and boys curious to know about private parts and other things. It not always the cause but it sure does have something to do with that.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I have no sources to back me up (and am too lazy to search right now), but I’m pretty sure there’s strong evidence that indicates infants’ brains are constantly forging neural pathways in reaction to their environment. Ergo, babies reared in a household full of arguing and stress will grow up with different brains than those raised in a calm household full of love and care.

At that age, they are highly responsive to emotional cues in the environment. I would think an excess of violent noise would permanently affect the infant’s brain and their reaction to future stimuli. So, no, I wouldn’t.

scamp's avatar

@AlenaD I would like to see the studies you have read on this. I donh’t doubt what you say, but I am interested in reading this information. When you have the time, please post a link? Thanks

MissAnthrope's avatar

I later thought about this and realized I didn’t explain myself very well. Let me try again. My reasoning here is that infants are highly sensitive to emotional cues in their environment. This includes tones of voice; therefore, I feel that a movie that involves screaming and other violent noises may be stressful to the baby.

The way the brain develops and even how it works into adulthood, is to forge new neural pathways in response to everything. If you’re exposed to certain stimuli constantly, your brain adapts and reacts a certain way. This is the main reason why I discourage young people from partying too much; if your brain gets used to functioning under the frequent influence of alcohol or a substance, it becomes semi-permanently wired to function that way. Say you smoked pot every day for a year or more.. even when you stop, your brain will not function as well or as normally as before. It has made new neural pathways to adapt to functioning under the influence. So you will still think like a pothead (slower, worse memory, cloudy) for a while afterward. The fortunate thing is that your brain forges these new neural pathways continuously throughout your life, so with time your brain can re-adapt.

Houses that have a lot of loud yelling and arguing, for example, will cause a baby to become wired for stress conditions. Continually stressed out babies develop into children whose brains have become primed to react to stressful conditions. Cortisol levels will be high in the baby, this will influence its brain development, and as a result, you will have a child that is overly fearful, anxious, or even aggressive.

scamp's avatar

No, you did explain yourself very well. I would just like to read from your source if I could.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I’m trying to find it.. in the meantime, some food for thought..

The Human Brain – Stress – Reading this stuff with infants in mind makes it seem even more harmful than I was thinking.. basically, stress interferes with growth and development. ”[Some stress hormones] remain active in the brain for too long – injuring and even killing cells in the hippocampus, the area of your brain needed for memory and learning”

“Other hormones shut down functions unnecessary during the emergency. Growth, reproduction, and the immune system all go on hold.”

“Even everyday traffic noise can harm the health and well-being of children. In the first study to look at the non-auditory health effects of typical ambient community noise, it was shown that chronic low-level noise from local traffic raised levels of stress hormones in children, as well as their blood pressure and heart rates.

“We found that even low-level noise can be a stressor. It elevates psychophysiological factors and triggers more symptoms of anxiety and nervousness,” says environmental psychologist Gary Evans of Cornell University, an international expert on environmental stress, such as noise, crowding, and air pollution.”

scamp's avatar


MissAnthrope's avatar

I’m not having luck on finding where I read that.. but I have found related things that hopefully support what I’ve said. :P

Galen’s Prophecy [page 143]“Although the temporary consequences of an increase in cortisol are generally beneficial, chronically high cortisol levels, over a period of years, are potentially harmful.” (also pages 208–211 are interesting and discuss infant reactivity and the sympathetic nervous system, but not related to cortisol)

Psychotherapy with Infants and Young Children: Repairing the Effects of Stress and Trauma on Early Attachment [page 43] – Chapter 2 talks a lot about stress, basically saying some stress is normal and most kids adapt, but that continual stress is rather damaging to the brain.

Postnatal depression and stress: effects on infant cognitive development over a three months period – The idea is that depressed/stressed mothers treat their babies in a more irritated, stressful manner, which does in turn affect their development.

Stress harms brain in the womb [BBC Health]

scamp's avatar

Thanks so much for finding all of that for me. I apprecciate your hard work!

iquanyin's avatar

to research this, simply google such terms as “empathy in infants,” “neural development,” and—this tells quite a lot that relates to this question—“brain changes, PTSD” and similar queries. there’s plenty of well documented experiements and informative research in neurology on such things. you can also approach it from keywords on media and brain effects (for example, your brain does not differentiate between an experience, a dream, a vivid daydream, and an intense movie).

even if i didn’t know that tho, it would be clear to me that since babies react to upset around them, and they have no clue what a tv is, obviously they’d react to that as well. btw, your hormones—including stress hormones—have a profound impact on fetal brain and nervous system development.


If the child was really young, say 1 year and under, I would. At that age, a child doesn’t have an inkling of what’s going on, especially since the kid would be lying down and not watching anyways. But if the child is 2 and over, and is able to sit and watch, no.

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