While every 11-year old has read this book, along with many way-over 11 year olds, the graphic violence in the book is disturbing to protective dads like yours truly. The book, after all, is the story of a fight to the death put on annually by the leaders of a dystopian society. The players in the “game” are all just kids and do succeed in killing each others with arrows, spears, and old fashioned sticks and stones.
It’s one thing to read a book like Lord of the Flies, and another all-together to see Piggy wandering half-blind as he stalked by his classmates. That’s my memory from my adolescent viewing of the movie of that title, the images of which haunt me if I think about them. And that’s what I’m worried about for my just-turned 12 daughter.
The Hunger Games is getting a “Pause 13” rating from Commonsense Media for quite brutal scenes of violence: children being speared to death or having their heads smashed in. As this article mentions, it’s one thing to read about these things and another to see them happen on screen. From what I can tell, this sounds a lot more violent than Harry Potter and I’m tempted to say that my daughter shouldn’t see it at her age.
In canvassing other families, however, I get different reactions. Some applaud how involved and protective I am of my children. Some barely hold back a snigger for my prudish and unrealistic parenting in the face of modern media. Still others refuse to take a stand, believing that their kids can just what is and isn’t too much for them.