Role Of Movies In The Development Of Children And Adolescents Essay

Length: 5 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Children Type: Essay Paper: #15452477 Related Topics: Role Model, Martial Arts, Dances With Wolves, Adolescent Development
Excerpt from Essay :

Movie: The Karate Kid (2010)

Targeted Age Group: PG rated, 10+ (The Karate Kid-Family Movie Review, 2015)

'The Karate Kid' is appropriately PG-rated; there is, however, some content that adults might wish to know of, especially because this drama has a few themes aimed at older viewers. The beginning of the movie shows a climbing scene of a child's height chart. Typical milestones, like beginning kindergarten and losing the first tooth are included; however, the last 2 entries are daddy's death and the child's 9th birthday. While at this juncture, the background music is jolly and light, the death of his dad when Dre was just 8 years of age has a mildly shocking impact, and may upset younger children (Andlor, 2013).

Analyze the chosen media content for its appropriateness for the cognitive development level of this target audience. In doing so, make sure to explain what characterizes the cognitive development of a "typical" child/adolescent of this age group; rely on relevant theories.

Cognitive Development

Children's thinking, at this stage, becomes more abstract. They can understand and represent more abstract ideas, and be more logical. This makes sense, as they already are in the elementary schooling phase during this age, and discover a lot. They can also retain things in their memory for longer durations. They have better- developed schemas (thought structures to organize information) and can understand more, as well as handle more amounts of information acquired. Their information processing is faster. Children, at this age, can concentrate on one or more dimensions simultaneously. Therefore, they won't, for instance, be afraid of a cartoon-character like Shrek, whom they are likely to view as being more than just a single dimension. Children can comprehend diverse characters. Piaget is of the view that how a person is as a grown-up can already be seen at age 11. The highest logical thinking order is developed at that age. They also possess meta-cognitive abilities - thinking about their own thinking, e.g., voting in elections, and tend possess idealistic thinking (Notes Cognitive Development).

Movement toward Independence:

At this age, identity emerges, molded over time as a result of external and internal influences. The emergence of identity often causes behavioral changes. These may include: moodiness; enhanced ability to express oneself using speech; greater likelihood of expressing feelings through actions rather than words (more true in case of young boys); importance of close friendships; less attentive to parents, occasionally rude towards them; realization that parents aren't perfect; identifying their own faults; looking for someone else to love besides parents; likelihood of reverting to more childish actions during stressful moments; and easily influenced by their peer group on clothing styles and personal interests (Stages of Adolescent Development, 2004). The 'Karate Kid' movie also portrayed all this, such as when Dre disagrees with his mom about moving to China, feeling that his thoughts aren't considered.

At this stage, media content is capable of easily influencing children. They are drawn to idealistic messages, and being young yet and lacking experience, they think that it's realistically possible to attain these idealistic things. They can be given longer - duration content, and story plots that continue the week after (such as in television weekly or serial programs), as they can recall what occurred the previous week. They can be introduced to complex characters, as they are able to understand characters' motivations, and reasoning behind their actions. Thus, they possess a greater idea of dealing with media.

Explain if and why the content is appropriate for this developmental level.

The movie 'The Karate Kid' (a modern remake) is largely a family flick that manages to remain mature, while providing lots of entertainment and fun. The subtle role of Jackie Chan is a show-stealer, while Jaden Smith portrays a worthy disciple. The dynamic between them is highly reminiscent of that between the original movie's lead characters. The film is recommended for viewers aged 10 years and above. This is most likely simply because the movie is more of a drama than a movie of martial arts, thus, younger children might get a bit bored (Andlor, 2013).

The movie includes intense scenes of graphic


Frequent bullying is also depicted. A lot of this violence could possibly be mimicked by kids who view Dre and other children in the movie as potential role models. Apart from some bruising, no other actual consequences of injuries from these violent acts are shown. No real injury or blood is shown (Council, 2010). Looking at the fact that, at this age, children want to feel independent and are going through different moods, they can relate to the character of Dre. The movie also shows how Dre handles the bullies, and children can learn a very good lesson about how Mr. Han advises Dre to not use martial arts to pick fights but rather only in the competition.

Among the questions guiding the analysis: will (and how) does the content attract and maintain the child's attention? Will (and how) is the content understood by the child? Will (and how) the content is expected to impact the child?

The movie has a lot of content that would attract children towards it, specifically martial arts. Children at this age have flexible thinking and can easily grasp the characters and relate their activities with their own life. Dre is going through changes that most children at this age go through; moreover, he also learns different lessons that help him overcome tough times and save himself from bullies at school.

The movie contains certain violent acts, which children might readily adopt. For instance, deliberate bullying - the food tray is knocked out of Dre's hands by Cheng, covering Dre in his own food. Later, Cheng and his gang snatch Dre's bag and tips its contents onto the floor. Another instance is when a boy, on the instructions of Master Li, punches Dre's knee repeatedly, to cripple him. Dre is later seen lying badly bruised in bed with ice wrapped around his leg. A doctor informs him that he's too severely injured to continue participating in the competition (Council, 2010).

Despite all of the negative scenes described above, many obvious positive messages are portrayed in the movie that can positively impact children. These include scenes with messages such as: the best conflicts are those you avoid; there aren't any bad students, only bad teachers; the only individual that needs controlling is yourself; Kung Fu isn't about fighting, but about reconciling with your enemies; life knocks us down - it is we who must choose to stand up again (Council, 2010).

Values learned from this flick that can be instilled in children include:

Confronting fears: Dre is constantly afraid of bullies. By confronting them in a competition, he loses this fear, as well as earns their respect.

Keeping promises: Meiying and Dre make a vow to one another, and strive to keep it.

Empathy: Dre is highly empathetic towards Mr. Han and Meiying (Council, 2010).

Movie no. 2: Frozen (2013)

Targeted Age Group: PG 5+ (Frozen, 2013)

This movie has only a few scenes that might disturb or scare children between the ages of 5 and 8 years. For instance, it contains a few scary characters, like large wolves having snapping jaws and glowing eyes. A large frightening snow monster is shown, with glowing blue eyes, huge hands, a huge gaping mouth, and icicle-like talons. A magical storm traps several ships in a lake that is frozen up. These ships rise from the ice, crashing down, throwing Kristoff's reindeer into the lake and almost crushing Kristoff himself (Council, Frozen movie, 2015).

Cognitive Development

At this stage, children can remember 1500 words, and can retell stories by following pictures in storybooks. They are able to tell what things do based on their purpose (such as a can-opener), and can utilize irregular verbs in past tense, like swam, went, and caught. They are affectionate towards others, particularly animals, smaller kids, or another child who has been hurt (OCD, n.d.).

The development phase at 5 years of age is exciting. At this age, most kids begin kindergarten, entering into schooling, complete with homework, and classroom rules. They gain knowledge of the world, in addition to new confidence, by developing new understandings and skills (Lee, 2015).


Five-year-old kids can grasp concepts such as 'before', 'after', 'more', 'less', 'above', and 'below'. They can also understand the concept of time, like 'today', 'yesterday', and 'tomorrow'. (Lee, 2015)


The imagination of five-year-olds will flourish as they increasingly start engaging in complex, make-believe playing (Lee, 2015).

Songs and Games

Most children of 5 years enjoy dancing and singing; their natural fondness of repetition dovetails nicely in learning movements and songs. Many of them also like telling jokes (although they might not be capable of relating them accurately or understanding punch lines). They also enjoy competing against others in board games, as well as other activities (although many will be upset if…

Sources Used in Documents:


ACCM. (2015, 05-27). Retrieved from

Andlor, M. (2013, March 14). The Karate Kid (2010). Retrieved from

Council, A. (2010, 05-27). Karate Kid 2010. Retrieved from

Council, A. (2015, 05-27). Frozen movie. Retrieved from
Frozen. (2013, 12-19). Retrieved from
Frozen-Movie Review. (2015, 05-27). Retrieved from
Lee, K. (2015, 05-27). School Learning. Retrieved from
The Karate Kid-Family Movie Review. (2015, 05-27). Retrieved from

Cite this Document:

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