I have a bit of a mommy confession and I'd wager a bet that some of you will be appalled. Not only has my son been exposed to and allowed to watch copious amounts of television since birth, he has also been allowed to watch PG-13, NC-17 and R rated movies from toddlerhood, too. Yes, he was watching "Halloween", "Lake Placid" and "Star Wars" and more at age 3. Here's the thing though, if you knew my son, you would know that he was/is super smart and that his vocabulary and verbal skills exceed his peers and even most adults I know by leaps and bounds. He also was very imaginative and understood real and fake from very early on. Most kids begin to try to pretend/copy at 18 months, my son was an expert pretender long before his peers. He also could carry on a conversation and took directions well. His brain did not function like most little kids, he was not happy with "kid" shows and movies. He rolled his eyes at Barney even at 2. Seriously. So, I slowly upped his level of shows. And the more I did, the more interested he was and asked SO many questions. He wanted to know how they filmed certain stuff and how they used make-up and computers. Really, have you ever had to discuss very detailed, technical, high order thinking stuff with a toddler? It's overwhelming. You are never sure what he knows and can reference to and what you may need to explain. Well, based on this, I allowed him to watch whatever I watched as long as I was there to see how he did and what he could handle and to field questions. I DID censor sex scenes and anyone shooting themselves in the head (Deer Hunter style). Why? Well, those things ARE more real than I cared to have him see. Most stuff I can explain away as a storyline, imaginary...etc. I can't explain away having sex...especially if it wasn't a married couple.
Now, having said all of that, do I recommend everyone letting every kid watch whatever they want? HECK NO!! LOL It's the same as every other parenting dilemma you will encounter...it depends on the kid. I will add though. I don't feel you should completely censor ALL art, TV, music...even if you have a sensitive kid. I think you should encourage you kid to do and see some things that are outside of their comfort zone and use these things as SAFE in home with parents around teaching tools that won't hurt them physically. Let them practice real life scenarios based off what they are seeing and hearing. You can use these things as a springboard to discuss other things. For instance: When my son was 10, I noticed the show "The History Of Sex" was about to be on. I also knew that I needed to have "The TALK" with my son. So, what did I do? I turned it on and had him question me about why it was on and I explained and it got us started on the talk. As the show talked about crazy old birth control methods, I explained how those were bad and what is used now.
My favorite quote about raising kids is one I have used before on here, "We need to stop trying to childproof the world and start trying to worldproof our children."