13 votes

Should children's entertainment contain more violence?

No spoilers, just a vague example.

A long time ago, I watched TRON: Uprising (2012). It's a really good Disney kids show that was unfortunately cancelled after one season or 19 episodes. It carries a rating of TV-Y7.

One thing that always really struck me about this show was that it's actually quite violent, but censored. We see gladiator fights where "people" are just smashed into little cubes signifying their death.

This is not at all a new concept, and I'm not saying we need absolute realism, but is there an imbalance to the amount of violence we show without "real" consequence? And in doing so, glorifying the action of violence itself?

We don't want to traumatize kids, but maybe we should, just a little. And for those saying that the age range for some shows are too young for them to understand, these shows have really adult concepts to begin with. In Voltron, for example, we're talking about galactic war, genocide, torture and misuse of good technologies turning them to weapons.

And though I posted in ~tv, in games especially when there's a violent action executed by the gamer. Games are rated a bit differently, and I'm not as familiar with children games, so hopefully another Tilderino will have more to add here.

17 comments

  1. [4]
    Comment deleted by author
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    1. Catt
      Link Parent
      Voltron's a hard one for me to justify, because I honestly love the show as it is. I'm definitely not saying we should add violence for the sake of adding it. I think you put it better in: In...

      Voltron's a hard one for me to justify, because I honestly love the show as it is. I'm definitely not saying we should add violence for the sake of adding it. I think you put it better in:

      I don’t think it should, but I do think it should be able to.

      In Voltron specifically, I believe maybe it would help humanize the Galra more than they are. And I'm probably pretty desensitize to violence in entertainment in general, but I don't feel much empathy for really any death/maim in the show. This is probably purposeful, since it goes back to being a kid show.

      @s4b3r6 has a good example with Land Before Time and Bambi, where even without explicitly showing violence, there is still a mature dealing with death. Perhaps that is more of what I'm wanting. Not necessarily more blood, but more respect for the portray of violent actions and consequences.

      4 votes
    2. [2]
      StellarV
      Link Parent
      I actually just watched the first episode of the new Voltron series and I noticed that the main characters actually killed a large number of the aliens by destroying their ships or crushing them...

      I actually just watched the first episode of the new Voltron series and I noticed that the main characters actually killed a large number of the aliens by destroying their ships or crushing them with the lions. There was nothing graphic about it, it would be covered by smoke and dust or an explosion, but it was obvious it was happening. It surprised me a bit.

      1 vote
      1. Catt
        Link Parent
        Right? A lot of people actually die in that show, but it's all glossed over. I'm not even sure if kids are suppose to notice them, which I find a bit odd for a show about war.

        Right? A lot of people actually die in that show, but it's all glossed over. I'm not even sure if kids are suppose to notice them, which I find a bit odd for a show about war.

        1 vote
  2. s4b3r6
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    Looking at modern Disney movies, and older movies, it always strikes me how different their approaches to violence, and hard concepts like death is. The Road to El Dorado talks about human...

    Looking at modern Disney movies, and older movies, it always strikes me how different their approaches to violence, and hard concepts like death is.

    The Road to El Dorado talks about human sacrifice frequently, showing scenes where they cut watermelons, implying that would be the heroes fate if they're caught, or using magic to cause someone to walk towards their doom.

    Who Framed Roger Rabbit depicts violence, death, sexualisation and all sorts of permanent and difficult choices. But it's okay, because cartoon. And humour!

    And of course, we have the truly traumatising Land Before Time and Bambi, with onscreen deaths.

    ... Seems we used to trust kids to deal with this stuff, or ignore it, but now we don't.

    I'm not sure how much of that is based on psychology, and how much is based on crap psychology (Reproducibility Crisis), and how much is simply modern assumptions. With 1/3rd of psychology being thrown into doubt, and how soft a science it really is, I'm not sure whether this stuff has a lasting detrimental effect, or a beneficial effect, is a question we can answer this decade.

    8 votes
  3. Eylrid
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    I'm reminded of the Star Trek episode "A Taste of Armageddon", where two nations fight a simulated war, but round up and kill whoever the computer designates as fatalities. By divorcing themselves...

    I'm reminded of the Star Trek episode "A Taste of Armageddon", where two nations fight a simulated war, but round up and kill whoever the computer designates as fatalities. By divorcing themselves from the violence and destruction of what they are doing they lose the incentive to stop fighting.

    7 votes
  4. [2]
    patience_limited
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    It's not just the sanitized violence, it's more that there's a modern cheap, lazy trope of major characters never actually dying. The top-name characters are too valuable as commercial properties...

    It's not just the sanitized violence, it's more that there's a modern cheap, lazy trope of major characters never actually dying. The top-name characters are too valuable as commercial properties to vanish permanently.

    It's never actually depicted that violence has real consequences of pain, disability and death. There's no "gone forever"; no one has to grieve. "Evil" characters aren't shown suffering, they're just given threadbare excuses for psychotic modes of vengeance.

    Cartoon superheroes and super-villains get away with enacting their cosmic battles, and little people's suffering is magically erased. That's practically propaganda. Yes, it calls for showing some violence, and blood, and funerals, and the rage of the people who don't have a choice about being background.

    4 votes
    1. Catt
      Link Parent
      I do agree with the general lazy story-telling. Falling down a cliff and surviving is viewed as the expected in shows now instead of the exception.

      I do agree with the general lazy story-telling. Falling down a cliff and surviving is viewed as the expected in shows now instead of the exception.

      1 vote
  5. [4]
    thisonemakesyouthink
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    Eh, I grew up with GTA, Counter-Strike, Fallout, etc etc, and I'm incredibly anti-gun. Maybe I'm an exception, but I don't think violence in media makes kids violent or sexuality makes kids...

    Eh, I grew up with GTA, Counter-Strike, Fallout, etc etc, and I'm incredibly anti-gun. Maybe I'm an exception, but I don't think violence in media makes kids violent or sexuality makes kids sexual. I think we need to lighten up a bit on this stuff and educate about these things.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      brighteyes720
      Link Parent
      Yeah, but being gun or anti-gun has little to do with games and more to do with upbringing, Because, basically everyone outside US and a couple other countries are against ordinary citizens being...

      Yeah, but being gun or anti-gun has little to do with games and more to do with upbringing, Because, basically everyone outside US and a couple other countries are against ordinary citizens being able to carry guns.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        thisonemakesyouthink
        Link Parent
        True, but a lot of people think that violent games and violence in media makes people violent. I disagree which is why I made the comment. And yeah I think Americans are way too crazy with their...

        True, but a lot of people think that violent games and violence in media makes people violent. I disagree which is why I made the comment. And yeah I think Americans are way too crazy with their guns but I guess "mah constitution!!!"

        1. alexandre9099
          Link Parent
          on one hand it is good to be armed, on the other hand there are so many ways that this "protection" can be misused

          on one hand it is good to be armed, on the other hand there are so many ways that this "protection" can be misused

  6. [4]
    Nmg
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    For anyone who has seen avatar: the last airbender, you might remember how Jet dying was not obviously depicted. Nickolodean had limitations on depicting a child's death, and indeed the creators...

    For anyone who has seen avatar: the last airbender, you might remember how Jet dying was not obviously depicted. Nickolodean had limitations on depicting a child's death, and indeed the creators parodied the lack of clarity in the later "Ember Island Players" episode.

    Apparently, Nickolodean didn't have a lot of faith in the sequel, the legend of Korra. It attracted a more adult audience than what nick usually goes for.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      Catt
      Link Parent
      I always thought it was pretty clear that Jet died, but that's a good example. His death is part of the narrative and a pretty direct consequence and redemption of his actions. There was really no...

      I always thought it was pretty clear that Jet died, but that's a good example. His death is part of the narrative and a pretty direct consequence and redemption of his actions. There was really no reason just to leave it confusing...

      2 votes
      1. clerical_terrors
        Link Parent
        Fondly enough he ended up serving a not unimportant role later in the story, so it sort of worked out.

        Fondly enough he ended up serving a not unimportant role later in the story, so it sort of worked out.

    2. clerical_terrors
      Link Parent
      It always surprises me that people don't realize most children's entertainment has these restrictions in place. People don't believe you either when you tell them Mufasa's death in the Lion King...

      It always surprises me that people don't realize most children's entertainment has these restrictions in place. People don't believe you either when you tell them Mufasa's death in the Lion King is never directly shown, only unambigiously implied.

      1 vote
  7. [2]
    SleepyGary
    (edited )
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    One of the things that irks me in many shows where violence is the main point but it censors themselves to the point of absurdity. One of the characters fights with a sword but no one is ever...

    One of the things that irks me in many shows where violence is the main point but it censors themselves to the point of absurdity. One of the characters fights with a sword but no one is ever stabbed, they get knocked out with the hilt, or a character has a gun but only ever serves to shoot weapons out of other people's hands or cause things to fall on victims that would likely kill or maim them but just makes them go to sleep for a few minutes. I'd be happier if violence was reserved for nc17

    3 votes
    1. Catt
      Link Parent
      I know what you mean. I remember there was an episode of Young Justice where Blue, who's forced to attack his friends, purposefully "staples" them to the wall without actually puncturing them with...

      I know what you mean. I remember there was an episode of Young Justice where Blue, who's forced to attack his friends, purposefully "staples" them to the wall without actually puncturing them with the staples. They make a point of mentioning it in the story, but he's literally never shot a staple through anyone before or after.