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justwannadoright
justwannado... asks:
Q:

Please comment on the appropriateness of showing my three year old Spawn Comic books.  NOT GOOD, right?

My ex-husband gave our son a box of comic books for his birthday.  They are from the late 80's and mid 90's, and none are for children.  Very few of the comic books are well known, except for some Spawn, Spiderman, and Batman.  Most have pretty violent images.  
I put them away, with a note that says from your dad on your third birthday.  He can have them when he is older.  
When my ex-husband asked if we were reading them, I explained to him what I did, saying the material isn't appropriate for our three year old.  
He strongly disagrees.
Please comment.    
In Topics: Cognitive development, Parenting / Our Family, Creative arts
> 60 days ago

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fritzr
fritzr writes:
This is really a value judgment that you and your ex either need to come to some sort of agreement on or agree to disagree.  In an online forum like this I’m sure there will be people that are both pro and con comic books whether they are violent or not.  Millions of people read comic books at a young age and they have turned out just fine.  On the other hand I rented a DVD of Disney’s Mulan for my almost three year old and was a bit disconcerted when later that day she was swinging a stick pretending it was a sword and telling me she was going to kill me.  My wife and I made the decision that we would be a little choosier about the media we were going to expose her to until she was couple of years older.  Actually it was my wife’s decision and it wasn’t worth my arguing about :)
> 60 days ago

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dgraab
dgraab , Parent writes:
Hi, Thank you for asking this question. I have shared it with some of our JustAsk Experts, and hope to get you a response from a mediatrican, pediatrician, child psychologist, social worker, family counselor or other child development specialist soon.

I also shared this question with a friend who is an avid comic consumer/fan (he attends comic conferences as often as he can, and dresses as comic characters for Halloween). He's also the father of two young children. His wife (the mother of his children) preliminarily responded: "Comics rot your mind and take up valuable closet space. Actually, would be good if comics were rated age appropriate like toys, movies, video games, etc.". I hope he chimes in soon with his perspective too.

In looking at some of the reference articles on Education.com about comics, they seem focused on middle schoolers and teens, as valuable teaching tools for those age groups.

http://www.education.com/reference/article/reasons-teaching-comic-books/

http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Exploring_Educational_Graphic/

There are some comic books that are appropriate for younger children -- perhaps you could encourage your ex-husband to provide those stories instead.

http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Literacy_Development/

http://bit.ly/aeEpRg (listing of preschool comics on Amazon)

Given your concerns about the violent nature of the images in the comic books your son received, here are some related resources you might review with your ex-husband to help him understand your perspective better:

http://www.education.com/reference/article/fantasy-image-media-children-frighten/
http://www.education.com/reference/article/reduce-media-violence-exposure-school-Germany/
http://www.education.com/special-edition/digital-world/
http://www.education.com/topic/children-video-games/

Please talk to your son's pediatrician too, for advice specific to your son.
> 60 days ago

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harrisonjason
harrisonjason writes:
People need to stop giving comic books a bad name. Noone is going to become a criminal or a bad human being from reading comics about Batman stopping criminals from destroying the world, about Superman saving Lois Lane and stopping Brainiac, about Green Lantern rescuing the universe, about Spawn fighting against the evil of the downstairs department.

But 3 years old is a little friggin' early... the kid cant read yet!
Give 'em to the kid when it reaches age 5. Then the child will be able to enjoy the craftmanship of the artwork, the dynamic entertainment value of the situations, etc. But he/she wont be able to understand the stories fully until it reaches it's teens, because comics are unfortunately marketed to teens and 20'somethings today, since kids grow up so damn fast and start thinking that comics "are for babies". So it's really not the publishers' fault.

OR you could simply go buy some copies of "Superman Adventures, Batman Adventures, Super Friends, Archie, Donald Duck & Co., Justice League Adventures, Batman Beyond, Ghostbusters from the 80s, etc...

Start your kid off on comics that are made for an all-ages audience, such as the ones I mention above, and you can pack away your undue concerns about comic books rotting your childs mind. It's never gonna happen... Quite the contrary, it's one heck of a great entrance plan to reading, since it's literature that will intrique the kids.


And one more thing, kids are not as dumb as their parents think. They can handle alot more these days than they could when you were a child yourself, so dont coddle them with the values you were coddled with as a wee toddler, because they're not living in your childhood world. They will develop on their own, and it's damned certain that they wont become evil serial killers or depressed human beings because of COMIC BOOKS... A bad diet is much more likely to cause lifelong depression, for instance.

Best of luck.
> 60 days ago

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dgraab
dgraab , Parent writes:
Additional answers shared via Facebook, from two fathers (both comic fans)...

Father #1: "None of the comics being published by DC, Marvel or any of the other publishers, are for kids....They're marketed towards teens and 20/30-somethings in the geek category, and that's most of the audience. Archie is pretty kid-appropriate, but hardly exciting....Do you even have Disney comics in the US? If so, those are kid-appropriate. Other than those, there aren't many titles out there today, in the US."

Father #2: "There are comics out there that are geared for younger readers (many based on licensed properties like BOOM Comics titles based on the Muppets and Pixar movies, as well as some "cute" DC comics geared toward younger audiences like SuperFriends, Tiny Titans, and Supergirl: Adventures in the Fifth Grade), but they are the minority. I read a few of my old 1960 Justice League comic stories to 5-year-old [son] the other week. Now THAT was kid-appropriate and exciting (and... laughable)."

Father #1: "Laughable is good, darn it... Laughable is fun! Spawn may not be for kids, but it's not like a 3-year old would understand what the heck it is, anyway. I think 3-years old is too young to be dealing with comics... Coloring books is what 3-year olds should be "reading", in my little opinion. There's zero point to giving a 3YO comics since they cant read them, and they're not really appropriate for parents to read out loud, because of the very format of the medium.

There are plenty of childrens books for parents to read to their children, starring superheroes, such as these:

http://www.amazon.com/Night-Mummy-Batman-Brave-Bold/dp/0448453398/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267407785&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Classic-Gothams-Villains-Unleashed/dp/0061878561/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267407701&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Classic-Heroes-Superman-Wonder/dp/0061878588/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267407701&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Super-Friends-Flying-High-Reading/dp/0375852085/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267407915&sr=1-11

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781434213730/Superman-Stolen-Superpowers

And best of all, they're CHEAP too!"
> 60 days ago

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Karenmom
Karenmom writes:
Hi!  Good question, it seems to me that you have handled this situation appropriately.  No problem here, because you've already solved this issue.

If you are looking for opinions, I agree with you completely.  Although the comic books are not what I consider poor reading material, I just think it's age inappropriate.  There are many, many excellent books to read to your 3 year old and this is the age that you are wanting to teach colors, alphabet, numbers, manners, etc., so no, I wouldn't read the comic books with my child either.

It's a nice gift, probably one that was cherished by the dad and he wanted his child to have them, and you've handled that appropriately, by marking the box and placing them in storage until later, when your son can enjoy them.

When he asks, graciously thank him for the gift, simply tell him that at 3 years of age, you're concerned that the comics might get ruined and you want to protect them for your child until he's old enough to properly care for them.  Maybe that will satisfy him and spare you an argument of what's appropriate, since you both obviously have different views of this.
> 60 days ago

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