Do you censor what your children see?

It’s no secret that I am a bit partial to a Dawson’s Creek DVD box-set on a winter’s weekend (and if it was, it’s not any more).

As a grown-up woman of almost 26*, some people might think this is not an appropriate thing for an adult to be watching but I don’t care – Pacey Witter is friend to woman at any age, in my book.

But when it comes to kids, we’re supposed to be a bit more careful about only exposing them to age-inappropriate content. It’s a lovely theory but one that simply doesn’t work with Flea, who is what might be termed an “advanced reader”.

Flea recently asked me to take all her Winnie the Witch, Horrid Henry and Enid Blyton books to the charity shop – they’re too young, apparently. These days, Flea prefers Percy Jackson, Dr Who and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, it seems.

Over the summer holidays, Flea raced through the first four Harry Potter novels and only stopped reading because I refused to let her read the final three books – arguing she was too young. I didn’t feel completely comfortable having Flea read about murder and evil, at barely six years old.

“But Mummy, Voldemort is supposed to be evil, and when the children die, they just get up and become spirits and ghosts instead,” Flea argued. "Besides, I watched the movie and I know it's only acting.

Deciding maybe she has a point, this week Flea and I sat down to watch a preview of the last Harry Potter movie on Blu-Ray – and she LOVED it.

Flea thought the action scenes were thrilling, the defeat of Voldemort prompted giggles of glee, and during the battle scenes, she hopped around with her own (makeshift) wand shouting spells and spinning around theatrically.

I loved it too, of course. The film is available in stores from Friday and if you have the option you really MUST buy the Blu Ray with the whole disk of special features, including a documentary about the final days of filming that I guarantee will make you cry – I shed a tear, and I’m basically dead inside. There's a great feature about the role of women in Harry Potter, and really cool deleted scenes and 'making of' features.

I like to make Flea watch the "making of" extras on films so she REALLY understands that it's people pretending, and being filmed. Seeing the bad guys having rubber masks glued on to them makes it fairly clear, I tend to think. 

Still, I can’t help but wonder if I should be censoring what Flea reads and watches, a bit more. Our local librarian told me recently that I am exposing my child to “clearly inappropriate” content, as she refused to loan Flea the book she’d chosen because it wasn’t from the “early reader” section.

I do hold firm on Hannah Montana and High School Musical, which I actually think peddle far more damaging messages to young girls about popularity and appearance and aspiration – but that’s a rant for another day. But I’m fairly happy for Flea to read about monsters and aliens and battles, where good mostly triumphs over evil, and characters are brave and honourable and get to use big swords and magic spells.

I’m interested in where other people draw the line between inappropriate and appropriate content. Do you censor your kid’s books and films? And what sorts of things are you NOT happy for your children to read, or watch? 

 * or thereabouts.

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