What Exactly Is Too Much Knowledge (for children)

I keep seeing characters in film who are wise beyond their years. These young characters seem to have everything figured out. They speak of topics you wouldn’t expect someone their age to know anything about.

It’s easy to laugh at the apparent expertise of these young girls when you first encounter them on the screen. However, I think there might be more going on here than comedy.

Let’s take a look at some of these characters now. 

Gilmour Girls
Rori Gilmour, played by Alexis Bledel, is the adult in her household. Her mom is present in the relationship and provides for her daughter but for all intents and purposes, the roles in their household have been humorously reversed.

Kick Ass
Hit Girl, played by Chloe Moretz, is a ten year old vigilant. She is trained to be a deadly killer by her father and together they fight crime using brutal methods.
500 Days of Summer

Chloe Moretz takes on the role of the wise older sibling in this film. She is able to coach her brother about the affairs of the heart and sounds like an old sage as she does so. Like the Gilmour Girls, however, this is another role reversal as she is the younger sibling and is only ten years old.

Why do kids seem to be wise beyond their years nowadays?

I know I’m holding up film and television characters to illustrate my point here, but I see and overhear all sorts of things from the kids at my school that I could point out to you as well.

When I was ten years old, sitting on the sidelines, I never could have had a such an intense conversation about love with someone nearly twice my age. I wasn’t ready for love and I certainly didn’t know anything of substance about it.

At that age, I also didn’t know that evil existed everywhere in society. I fantasized about being a superhero, but the kind that never got hurt and never, ever took a life. Hit Girl is not living that innocent fantasy. She is a brutal assassin who fights some major evil but does so in disturbingly violent ways.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that I led a pretty sheltered life as a child. I don’t think that was a bad thing.

I hear some of the things kids say at school during recess, in the hallways, and sometimes even in the classroom and I just shake me head and wonder how they know about all that stuff. It wasn’t like this when I was a kid, was it?

Should kids know this much about sex, drugs, and violence?

I don’t think so.

Kids should worry about crushes, tests, and friendships, you know, kids’ stuff.

Let’s let kids be kids for as long as possible. That’s my word. 

What say you? 

4 responses to “What Exactly Is Too Much Knowledge (for children)”

  1. I was so sheltered growing up, but it was a great environment for me. My mom didn't let me watch MTV, listen to popular music, or watch anything rated over PG because of the content, and I was perfectly fine with it, because I didn't know what I was missing, nor did I care. I was a kid, like you said, doing kid stuff.

    Unfortunately there's a lot of stuff like that out there in the media, and if one is exposed to it, you learn a lot about those kinds of things really quickly. But I'm not a fan of censorship; I think parents need to take a more active role in what their kids are exposed to, because ultimately what they are exposed to is what they project and who they become.

  2. Hi Alexis,

    That is my point exactly! Parents should be more discriminative in what they allow their children to consume media-wise.

    I love your closing thought there too. It reminds me of the old adage, "You are what you eat." If we relate consuming food to consuming media, it opens up a whole new level of understanding to this topic.

    Thanks for the excellent comment!

  3. Hi Chase .. I too was sheltered. But my god-daughter 18 grew up watching the soaps .. simply because the local school kids and she didn't want to be left out – I'm not sure if I'd been a parent that I'd have allowed it .. but she's turned out to be a well rounded kid .. there are lessons there .. but also there's addiction to the tv, reality shows etc too .. and many succumb in that direction and therefore get their views that way – without any understanding as to why .. etc ..

    Cheers Hilary

  4. Hi Hilary,

    It seems to me that society is getting more adversarial all the time. If the role models kids are seeing are reality television stars, they may come to see their behaviour as acceptable. Even worse than that, it may become a societal norm.

    I think I should do a lesson or two about reality television. You bring up a good point here. Thanks for the comment!