Saturday, March 24, 2012

Should Parents Control What Their Children Read?

Recently I encountered a question that asked whether or not The Hunger Games trilogy was appropriate for teenaged readers. The question was related to whether or not the series was too "grim" for young readers. However, I took a different angle when I wrote Is the Hunger Games Trilogy Appropriate for Young Readers? on Zujava.

As a parent, I like to know what my children are reading. It's important to me to have a solid grasp on what they are learning from the media that they take in, and it's not all about television. Ever since discovering that my four year old picks up on all of the bad habits in every television program that she watches, I've begun to realize that I don't have a choice but to be very thorough in screening absolutely every episode that she views and every story that is read to her at the risk of books and television having an undesired effect on her behavior.

But the big issue with The Hunger Games in particular is that I want to make absolutely certain in the case of my children (and step children) that they can understand the political ramifications of the novels, from my personal perspective. Anyone who has been following me for any length of time knows that I'm a political individual and most probably have an idea of what my politics are. My take on the novels is different from what others see, and while I value everyone's opinions, I want to be able to use the books to teach a lesson that I personally want my children to learn. 

Maybe I'm a traditionalist, like all those parents who told their children that they couldn't read Harry Potter because it involved Witchcraft, or Twilight because of the vampires. I believe, however, that parents should know what their children are reading, and be able to guide them when necessary. The Hunger Games may bring up a lot of questions, and I feel that it's important that parents and other support adults be prepared to answer those questions when their children ask.

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