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Are you a parent who sometimes falls asleep at the wheel?

‘No’, you say, and of course I would believe you.

But, have you ever ‘fallen asleep at the wheel’ when it comes to steering Shark Moviewhat your children watch?

A few days ago, I wrote about a young woman called Bernice who in hypnosis reported that, aged eleven, she went to see the family film Parent Trap.  Watching this family film ― which was perfectly appropriate for her age ― unbeknown to her, it had a much bigger impact upon a sensitive and aware child living who was living in the Mediterranean area, than she could possibly imagine.  She discovered. whilst in deep relaxation, the source of her long-standing fear, a loathing, a terror, and an utter disgust ― her phobia of geckos.

Do you as a parent remember Jaws, the movie?

Let me remind you of some of the details.  A peaceful community on Amity Island is being terrorised. There is something in the sea that is attacking swimmers. They can no longer enjoy the sea and the sun as they used to, and the spreading fear is affecting the numbers of tourists that are normally attracted to this island. After many attempts the great white shark won’t go away and sheriff Brody, with friends Hooper and Quint decide to go after the shark and kill it.

It is now thirty-seven years since the film’s original release.  The British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) originally granted Jaws a 12A certificate.  When Steven Spielberg’s classic thriller went on to VHS and DVD it was later certified as ‘PG’ (Parental Guidance).  The BBFC upped the certification to a higher rating.

Is this a film fit for any five-year-old, and especially one living by the Mediterranean sea?

In conversation I learned of a parent who was complaining that their young son, aged five would not go to the beach.  The father complained about the child’s tantrums, his anxiety, and his prevailing fears of what was in the sea.  This young child is living on an island surrounded by the Mediterranean.  The gorgeousness of the sea and the warmth in Summer endears itself to the majority of islanders in Malta, and most Maltese flock there, after work, after school and college, and of course during weekends.  How inconvenient that their child did not wish to play ball and go to the beach!

This parent had fallen in to the Parent Trap

The parent of this young boy had let the five year old watch Jaws, the movie. This folly of allowing the five year old boy to watch Jaws had seeded within the child a fear of the sea, and of course a fear of sharks in particular, creatures that clearly lived in the sea!  I believe there is one reported shark attack in recent history in Malta.

Jaws the film is notorious for shock, horror and gore.

Here are some of the scary scenes this child would have watched to seed his fear, and now possible phobia!

* A character slides into Jaws’ mouth.  Jaws chomps down on his waist and blood fills the water. There is a close up of him being chomped repeatedly as blood spills into the water and gory wounds open up on his body.  Blood erupts from his mouth as the man is fully consumed by the shark. * A teenage girl’s hand, missing one finger, turns up on the beach. * A man is dragged out of a rowing boat.  The film shows him partially in its mouth as the creature bites down.  We then see his bloody severed leg floating to the bottom of the ocean.

Blood, Guts, and Gore.  How on earth does a five-year-old process those inappropriate scenes?  Need I say more? Check the parental guide for Jaws.

Remember that your child is like a sponge.  Children absorb everything literally.

In their formative years children are under pressure to accept what they are given.  They are equally under pressure to watch what they are told to watch.    Children are told to eat up all the food on their plates ― to ʹeat their greensʹ.  Children can devour and absorb words and images, even more effectively than dinner.  Children eat what­ever is given to them ― whether it is a family film, or a horror film ― especially when served up by loved ones or pro­tectors.  They accept trustingly the images, films, and verbal expressions that are given to them to digest and absorb.  Their faculty for dis­cerning what is an appropriate diet for their minds is limited by a lack of understanding, and an inability to process what they see.

Watch out.  There could be a shark or a gecko about ready to go down ‘the wrong way’. 

All children are different.  Some more sensitive than others.  This child was way too young to begin to gain a safe and balanced view.  Keep yourself free of this kind of Parent Trap.  Read the film certification, and use that old-fashioned but essential commodity, common sense.

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