According to a study by Harrison and Cantor of the University of Wisconsin on 150 college students about the effects of watching horror movies when they were children. As a result, immediately after watching the horror movie, 52% reported having a sleep or eating disorder, as well as increased anxiety, 25% said they were obsessed.
Most worrying, however, is that one in four students (25%) experienced such a “stretching effect” a year or even years after viewing the disturbing content.
However, is the horror content merely the movies about mutants, ghosts, and violence not real? The article below will help you better understand horror content, how terrible and long-term effects of horror movies on children, and how to protect them from this harmful content.
Horror is not just horror movies
Horror content includes:
- Unreal horror movies like ghosts, violence (Valak, The Conjuring, Saw, etc.)
- Pictures/videos of accidents, murder and stabbing are real in real life
The second form of horror content often appears on social networks or online newspapers and forums, this horror content are often ignored by parents but you do not know that they make your children suffer. The dynamic is much more powerful and negative.
With the growth of the internet and your child’s reliance on the internet for learning and entertainment, your child is at greater risk of accessing this harmful content.
Why horror movies are bad for your kids?
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Horror content, though, can help your child find and cope with his or her own fears and phobias. This process is called “catharsis” – purifying and eliminating emotions – especially fear – through any extreme changes in emotions that lead to renewal and recovery.
However, the harm of horror on your child is more terrible than the good it can bring.
Horror content arouses certain emotions such as stress, fear, and shock. They can cause the release of hormones in the body such as norepinephrine, cortisol and adrenaline from the autonomic nervous system.
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From there, your child can see the physiological response from these hormones by dilating pupils, increasing heart rate and muscle tension.
Adrenaline is released too quickly and can make it harder for your baby to sleep. So the feeling after approaching horror content is that your child will find himself activated, not relaxing, these thrilling emotions make it harder for your child to sleep.
Fear, anxiety and other psychological problems
By the age of 6-14, your child becomes sensitive and susceptible to external influences, so he may experience more intense fear when faced with stronger images such as blood and gore, accident, murder on news and social networks. Your child is influenced and absorbed by emotions easily such as the impact of positive images from fairy tales.
Some children are hit hard when they watch horror movies or see horror images/videos. Part of this is due to your baby’s age and developmental stage because your baby may not be able to make a clear distinction between what is real and what is imaginary.
Especially for children under 10 years old, regardless of what their parents say, they can still feel the character or the monster is real, as the human body and physiological response react to the scene and feel as if they were real.
That’s why your child can scream, gasp and close their eyes. The heart beats faster, breathing becomes shallow, palms start to sweat as if all we see is in real life. So the mind knows what is real and what is fake, body and physiology make no difference. This is how do horror movies affect the brain.
After being exposed to these horror contents, your child is more likely to experience negative effects such as difficulty sleeping, having nightmares, fear of the dark, anxiety, increased feelings of vulnerability and increased vulnerability to potential concerns.
Even for teenagers, horror content can have serious long-term effects. With the continuous development of film technology, the amount and quality of violent and gore content has increased and become more authentic over the past 50 years.
Besides, horror movies teenagers watch often contain disturbing images and sexual situations that can alter your child’s view of human sexuality.
What should parents do to protect their children from the negative effects of horror movies/horror content?
Keep an eye on what kids watch on television
There are often video/images/movies of bogus horror content on television such as ghosts, mutants, etc. so you need to pay attention to what your children watch on television to make sure they are suitable for them because as mentioned above, these horror content can cause negatively harm psychology and behavior for children.
However, one problem is that horror content that has a real bloody, accidental accident image will usually not appear on TV because the TV usually hides this content but instead, it will appear on the Internet where your kids are learning and having fun online every day.
Use content filtering tools on Internet-connected devices
However, there is a problem that content on television is usually just about bogus movies like Valak, Saw, etc. There are still other equally horrifying contents such as pictures of blood and gore, pictures of murder, accidents happening in real life.
Often these images will spread on social networks, online newspapers and forums so besides, keeping an eye on what your children watch on television, you must also protect them from these materials on Internet devices.
One of the most practical ways is to use online content filtering tools to hide murderous, accidental, bloody images/videos from reaching your children, protecting their healthy psychological development and well-being.
Create a friendly environment for your children to talk
Create a healthy and intimate conversation environment between you and your child as a daily habit because when your child trusts and sees you as strong support, he will share you with anything he feels questioned, annoyed, scared or even the most sensitive issues like sex. This topic is horror content.
When you create conditions for your children to share, they will freely talk about what they are afraid of, what they see, so you will have timely measures to reassure, comfort and protect them. More severe psychological events later occur, such as anxiety disorders, depression, or anorexia, which may even lead to suicide.
Often acts of self-harm or suicide or due to emotional disturbances are not explained because they simply believe that no one will listen to them or if they do, they will be scolded by parents.
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