I said we could do anything she chose – and being a contrary five-year-old she opted to go to the cinema. She was beyond excited at the prospect of seeing ‘Hop’, having watched the trailer on the Odeon website a few million times.
For the uninitiated, Hop is a new movie about the Easter Bunny, and how he somehow ends up in Hollywood. Crucially, it’s a ‘U’ certificate which according to the BBFC website means that the film should be suitable for audiences aged four years and over. Moreover, ‘U’ films should be “set within a positive moral framework”.
So pretty near the top of a list of conversations I DON'T expect to be having with my five-year-old during a movie classified as a ‘U’ certificate would be:
“Mummy, what’s a Playboy bunny?”
“It’s just a grown-up thing, darling.”
“But why is it funny?”
“I don’t think it is.”
“But why does the bunny want to be sexy?”
Fuming doesn’t even come close to how I felt leaving the cinema today.
I’m an adult, and liberal minded. I’m not going into details on the Internet for all our sakes, but honestly, I am far from being a prude.
But I have a massive problem when a film deemed suitable for four-year-olds not only mentions one of the world’s biggest brands of pornography, but does so in a way that conveys the message that porn is funny, acceptable, normal. As an adult you may believe that, which is fine, but Flea’s five years old. Not okay.
I mentioned this issue on Twitter today (well, okay I ranted) and someone replied that they thought it would just go over most kids’ heads, so why worry?
Well, I don’t know what other kids are like, but very little goes over Flea’s head.
The weird thing about kids is that you never know what they’re absorbing, and storing away for future use. Today we went to a restaurant and when the waiter came to take our order he commented on Flea’s teddy, remarking that it looked like his wife’s favourite bear. “I know, it’s called Sam and he is old so he leaves a trail of stuffing around the house,” said Flea. She’d remembered the waiter telling her that story last time we visited that restaurant – six months ago.
The thing about kids is they often remember stuff that we think is just background noise. And that’s why it’s so important that we can be confident about the media our children are exposed to. I don’t think we can just assume things go ‘over their heads’. Because what about when it doesn’t?