On Age Appropriateness For Childless Geeks

Say what you will about Ryan and Watson, but one thing I can say is both those guys are good parents to their respective sons.

I don’t have kids, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have ideas about such things.

This past Sunday I was finishing up my Christmas shopping.  I have a fifteen year old niece and had to ask her mother for suggestions.  That was fine.  I wasn’t sure what the right gift for a fifteen year old girl might be, even for one who loves her some MCU.  I have ideas, but couldn’t tell if something was age appropriate as far as my sister is concerned, and that was in my mind the right thing to do (my niece is getting gift cards to stores she likes).

But while I was getting some items in a Barnes and Nobel I spot two boys go by, each carrying a copy of Stephen King’s IT as a massive paperback.  I happen to be going through that one again right now, so I asked the boys some questions about whether or not either of them had read any of King’s works (one had read The Gunslinger), their ages (both were 12), whether they had seen the movie (they had not), and so forth.  I kept it casual and asked if there was a parent around, and yes, one of the boys’ mothers was there.

Now, if you’ve read this book, you know this book probably isn’t good for a younger reader.  I’ll let Thug Notes do its thing and explain the plot:

Yeah, I wouldn’t let a twelve year old kid of mine read this book.  I didn’t want to say exactly what was in the book with the boys nearby, but I essentially told the mother that the book was much more intense than the recent movie, that it had a lot of profanity and sexual type stuff in it, and so forth.  Not knowing how permissive a parent she was, I didn’t want to say outright, “This book isn’t good for your kids,” but I did want her to get that message from me.  She listened, but I’m not sure what happened next because that much wasn’t really any of my business.

Now I think I did the right thing here.  Again, that depends on the mother ultimately, but she didn’t tell me to buzz off, so I feel OK about what I did.  Would I have done it again?  Hell yes.

As much as I am all for helping to create future Geeks, I also think that material like this should only be given to kids who can handle it.  That requires good parenting, and maybe good observation skills from the childless when necessary.

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