The Dark Knight Rises officially joins an already action packed summer filled with movies about superheroes and fictional characters but are the movies sending the wrong messages to young children who may not be able to tell the difference between real and fiction?
As Crystal Luera and her two nieces were walking out of the Maya 16 Theater on Thursday, the poster for the Dark Knight Rises caught their attention. Having just watched the Chronicles of Narnia, they're already eager to see more.
"The animal was bigger than the people and he had a big, big mouth and he was green and looking really, really creepy and scary," said 8 year old Maria Ibarra.
But Maria says she knows it wasn't real. When her sister saw the Amazing Spider Man a few days ago, she knew it wasn't real either
"It wasn't in real life and it was just made up," said 7 year old Marisol Ibarra.
It's a distinction Luera makes sure her nieces know before they watch any movie.
"Even movies that come on TV, or even regular TV shows, there's some violence. We do talk to her," Luera said.
With a summer of thrilling blockbusters, movies like The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider man, and Snow White are tempting for parents to take their kids too. With the line between R and PG-13 ratings getting blurrier, psychologists say parents need to think about what their kids are watching.
"It's difficult for them to assimilate this kind of content. And its up to the parents. If they're going to expose them to this stuff, they need to help them understand it and digest it as well," said Clinical Psychologist Dr. Corey Gonzales. That's especially true with pre-teens and young children who may idolize the superheroes they're watching.
"The sensuality, the sexual themes, the violence, the blood, the gore can be very confusing for kids. They don't have the ability to think in the abstract," Dr. Gonzales said.
For Luera, while the new Batman movie looks interesting, she says she's going to think twice before she lets her nieces see it. "You can't just look at the ratings. You're going to have to do some research on it."
There are websites available that give more detailed explanations of what parents can expect to see.
For more information, visit: http://www.commonsensemedia.org/