Last month, I emailed my neighborhood listserv to garner interest.
Of the several hundred people this listserv reaches, exactly two replied, "Yes."
A parent's yes, that is, which sounds like, "Josh has soccer and Alicia has piano and I work until 7 but I'll try to be there!"
I ended up with 5 great people sitting on my couch, which may not sound like a lot, but between these 5 great people they had 210 children.
Okay, not 210,but each of them had a small litter at home, which counts statistically for numbers in attendance.
It was all women, and although one father had wanted to attend, he and his wife played Rock Paper Scissors to see who would stay home with the brood.
Paper covers rock, she won.
So, in 6 degrees of separation, there were 210 people in my living room, represented by their mothers, who are out attending these things in the world while the young brush their teeth and get on feetsie pajamas and generally have no idea how much their parents are worrying for them. (Call your mother.)
After the film, one neighbor mentioned that her kids get one hour of screen time daily, and that they determine the device (computer/TV/video games). Also, since she has 4 kids, each of whom has requests about movies and shows they want to watch with their friends, she uses the website kidsinmind.com to determine what is appropriate viewing. Rather, they use this website, the kids, and based on the family consensus, determine if it's something that falls within or outside the boundaries they've determined together.
(Side question: if you watched TV growing up, were there rules around it? Did you watch programs with your family, was it laissez-faire, or violence but no sex, or sex but no violence, or bring it on, all things go?)
One neighbor, an artist, asked honestly, "Okay, I see that there's a lot of this stuff that's marketed to kids. But, why should I be upset about it? What is the problem exactly?"
The cognitive behariorist in me immediately thought, "Don't Should on yourself today!"
Her question led to more discussion, and some sharing of what people were noticing with their own kids, their responses to the world around them, to media, and how they were processing it. It was apparent: no two kids are the same, and each family had different things that top their List of Concerns.
At 11:00 as the group made their way out the front door, I thought to myself, "Well, that was delightful. Maybe next week I'll hold a screening of Halloween 5." And then I checked the website, and there is no way on earth the kids would let their moms watch that.