Is This Too Raw for Kids? What Parents Should Know about Wrestlemania

Article excerpt

Just a few years ago, the center of 11-year-old Anthony Arroyave's sporting universe was baseball's Ken Griffey Jr. No longer. Now it's Triple H, Jeff Hardy and Scotty Too Hotty. Home runs are boring--he's "hooked" on the drama. When he's not watching matches on TV, Anthony's playing WrestleMania 2000 on his Nintendo or practicing the Power Bomb and other submission holds on pals at his south Florida elementary school. Although his mom disapproves, Anthony dreams of a career in the ring. He's even thought up his character: a "heel" named Ice Tray who wears silver tights, black boots, red hair and a black goatee.

Scottie Too Hotty as a role model? Can this be good for kids? Not really, say psychologists who study the effects of TV violence on children. In fact, most advise keeping youngsters under 8 away from wrestling shows; they're too immature to differentiate between fantasy and reality. Studies have shown that kids who are exposed to on-screen carnage at an early age are more likely to engage in aggressive behavior as teens and adults. Wrestling in particular could be harmful because it suggests that disputes should be settled by fighting rather than talking. The sexual content is also obviously inappropriate for young children.

Parents should be equally vigilant in monitoring the viewing habits of middle-schoolers, especially preteen boys. …