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An Old Adult Looks at Young Adult Entertainment

by Ronald A. Rowe | April 2nd, 2015 | Entertainment, Tweens
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tween reading (400x400)I think I have read more Young Adult books and seen more Young Adult movies now that I am an… old adult… than I ever did when I was myself a member of that audience.  I want to know what my children are reading and watching.  And I can think of no better way to do that than to immerse myself in the entertainment that they enjoy.  So when my son hit the Tweens, I went to the library.

The Hunger Games was the big thing when he first hit the Tween scene.  A book about kids killing other kids for the entertainment of some pampered control freaks?  Let it suffice to say that I wasn’t immediately won over by the concept.  I read it anyway.  And it was good.

I can honestly say that I enjoyed all three of the Hunger Games books and the movies that followed.  More importantly, I found the content to be acceptable for my young son to read.  While there were certainly some violent acts portrayed, they were expressed in Tween-friendly prose and never struck me as gratuitous.  I was OK with the book and that made me OK with the film.  In fact, going to see the first of the Hunger Games movies on opening night turned into a special father-son bonding night that I will remember for the rest of my life.

I’m not a video game person but I try to at least familiarize myself with the games that are most appealing to my boys.  Tweens can so easily wander down the wrong path despite their best intentions.  I don’t like to play the games but I do it – for a limited time – so that I know what they’re up to when I’m not there.  I’ve found that the rating system for video games is wildly inconsistent.  Some “T for Teen” games are absolutely harmless while others are cringe-worthy.  It takes active participation to decipher the code and determine which games are acceptable and which will have to wait for another year.

Some Tween entertainment is actually enjoyable.  I liked the Maze Runner book and, to a lesser extent, the film.  The book was an easy, light read.  Far more importantly, reading the book gave me something to talk about with my son.  We had a new commonality that could be explored and discussed over the dinner table.  A discussion of the latest developments in the Glade was something for which he would actually be willing to turn off the TV and participate.

Find out what entertainment – books, TV, video games, whatever – your Tween is interested in and get a hold of a copy.  If it is unsuitable, you’ll know first hand and be able to deal with the situation.  If it is appropriate, you’ll have something over which you can bond with your child.  You may even find it enjoyable yourself.

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