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Is 'The Hunger Games' too dark for kids?

By Christopher J. Ferguson

Time

Published: Tuesday, March 20 2012 1:54 p.m. MDT

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) in "The Hunger Games."

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Editor's note: Anticipating the upcoming release of "The Hunger Games" movie, Christopher Ferguson argues on Time.com why he will take his 8-year-old son to see the movie. Let us know what you think. Answer the two poll questions below.

I'm taking my 8-year-old son to see "The Hunger Games." Granted, we'd already crossed the bridge into PG-13 movies with "Clash of the Titans," so there was never much doubt. But I imagine many parents are grappling with the decision about whether to take their kids to see the long-awaited movie adaptation of the beloved but dark and violent novel by Suzanne Collins. Although originally marketed for a young-adult audience, any book as successful as this one has naturally grabbed the attention of much younger kids as well, and so will the movie.

Parents are free, of course, to use their moral compass to decide which media is appropriate for their families, but some of my own research suggests that the best option is for parents to consume violent-themed entertainment alongside their children rather than to either shield kids from it or leave them on their own. Parental input seems to help children understand the context of aggression and violence and better prepare them for how to address it in their own lives. Aggression is part of the human condition, something most kids experience shortly after they age out of Baby Einstein. But parents can be assured that The Hunger Games is not going to harm their child. So, game on. May the odds be ever in your favor!

Read the full story on Time.

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