Let’s face it. We’ve all been in a movie with at least one crying baby at some point in our lives. Just think back and picture the situation: it’s opening night for one of the biggest blockbusters of the summer. There’s going to be explosions, lots of action, big named actors, plenty of special effects, and, depending on your luck, a brain dead couple who decided it would be perfectly reasonable to bring their 3 month old newborn with them to see this much hyped and talked about movie. Maybe 30 minutes goes by without so much as a peep (maybe you don’t even realize there’s a baby in the theater yet), but then, after a few loud shouts from the speakers, probably during one of the action scenes, you hear the annoying cries of a small, innocent baby echoing throughout the crowded room like nails against a chalkboard. Maybe you think, OK, that’s cool, it’s a war so there’s bound to be babies crying. Gee whiz, this director sure does know how to set the mood and make people uncomfortable, just like how it would be in a normal war!
But that’s where you’d be wrong.
It probably doesn’t take you very long to realize that the crying isn’t part of the effects in the film. Rather, it’s coming from three rows in front of you, from a young couple who probably thought their baby would be perfectly fine in a loud, crowded, dark theater, because their baby is different from other babies. It’s a special baby that somehow magically never cries and defies the laws of baby physics.
If you’re a parent and you are actually stupid enough to take your infant into a movie theater, please consider the following reasons of why doing so is actually a terrible idea and should be avoided at all cost.
6. You Can Get Turned Away or Kicked Out Because of Your Baby
You wouldn’t go into a movie and expect someone talking on the cellphone for the entire length of the movie to not get kicked out, would you? At the very least, management would tell them to shut the hell up. If that didn’t work, the manager would eventually ask them to leave. The same is true for a crying baby.
If you decide to take your child to a movie and it decides to cry, you could find yourself in the same embarrassing situation. Even texting can get you thrown out nowadays. Nobody wants to listen to your baby cry, even if it doesn’t last for more than a few minutes. It’s still crying, isn’t it? It’s still interrupting the experience and causing the people around you discomfort.
Hell, even restaurants are banning infants from entering their establishments now because people keep complaining. It’s something that a lot of companies are doing. This kind of situation has become so common that a group of theaters in Chicago have actually started banning children under the age of six from R-rated screenings, regardless of whether or not a parent is accompanying them. So far the public reaction to this has been about 98% positive.
It’s not the first time, either. AMC has been trying to keep kids out of their theaters for over a decade. In a recent move to further this agenda, AMC has started promoting a “no kids after 6” policy where they turn away any children under the age of six to an R-rated movie.
5. Loud Noises Are Bad For Your Baby’s Ears
Let’s use our brains for a second and really analyze the situation. Movies, especially summer blockbusters like The Avengers or Transformers, tend to involve loud noises. That’s common sense. You’re in a theater with a surround sound system capable of totally encapsulating your brain with any number of loud and frightening sounds. You wouldn’t bring your child to a rock concert, would you? Of course you wouldn’t (unless you’re an idiot), because you know that those sounds are probably too much for a newborn to handle.
Well, movies aren’t all that different. Not for infants, anyway.
Your baby’s body is still very underdeveloped, especially its hearing. If you bring your kid into a movie and allow it to be bombarded with loud noises, It’s probably going to start crying. Crying is typically a sign that the child is uncomfortable or in pain, so why are you making them suffer through 2 hours of something that’s hurting them? Isn’t that child abuse?
But if that bit of logical thinking isn’t enough for you, here’s some actual science. More than 15 minutes of 100 decibels is unsafe for the average human being’s hearing. A young child’s ear canal is actually smaller than an older child’s or an adult’s. This means that when they hear the same sound that you hear, it is actually much louder and the pressure their ears are taking in is also much greater. About 20 decibels greater, actually. That means that if you are experiencing something that is just 80 decibels, your infant child is actually taking in about 100 decibels of sound. Some movies, specifically major blockbusters, play their sounds at anywhere from 80-100 decibels. That means that your baby is experiencing mind-numbing sounds, regardless of whether or not it is actually crying. There’s a fair chance that taking your baby to multiple movies will actually damage their hearing, possibly for the rest of their lives.
4. TV and Movies Actually Slow Mental Development
Just like with their ears, a baby’s brain is underdeveloped. It can’t process the images on a television screen the same way you can. What makes you think the same won’t be true when that screen is 30 feet tall?
In fact, studies have shown that babies who watched just 60 minutes of TV a day end up with developmental scores that are one-third lower than the children who weren’t exposed to TV at all. That’s a significant difference. And just in case you’re wondering if that includes educational shows like Blues Clues or Sesame Street, it totally does. The same study determined that the specific shows being watched don’t actually matter, just that they’re being watched at all. In other words, if your child is under the age of 2, don’t let them watch TV or take them to the theater. All you are doing is stunting their mental growth, furthering the number of burger-flippers 20 years from now.
It has even been suggested that shows like Spongebob Squarepants can cause ADHD, due to the fact that they are so random in the way they present themselves (i.e. flashing from one scene to the next, sporadically loud noises, etc). If this is true, then what’s the difference between a show like that and a movie that does the same thing?
What’s better for your child? Watching this movie or going to college? Well, you’re the parent. You decide.
3. Movie Theaters are Filthy and Gross
This shouldn’t come as any big surprise, but let’s just go ahead and talk about it anyway. With so many people crammed into such a close proximity of one another, sickness and disease is bound to exist. The guy behind you who won’t stop coughing, the woman to your right that sneezes every five minutes; where do you think those germs are going? Have you ever gone to the movies when you were sick? Did you cough into your hand and touch the seat? A lot of us have, and as a result the entire theater is filled with
In one study, a team went to several different theaters and tested seats, armrests, headrests, and even the floor, all in an effort to find out what exactly people were touching when they visited a movie theater. As it turns out, it’s mostly human fecal matter.
That’s right, there’s literally shit everywhere. You don’t give your child a diseased pacifier and expect them not to get sick, right? Of course you don’t. You care about your baby’s safety. So why on Earth would you take them into a crowded, disgusting deathbox of a room and not expect the same exact thing?
When visiting a theater, you’re sitting where someone else just sat. Normally, that’s not such a huge deal, but with a baby whose immune system is still developing, it is extremely dangerous. In fact, many doctors agree that taking your baby into a crowded area (especially if they are newborns) is one of the dumbest things you can possibly do. You are exposing them to so many different diseases and unknown germs that they are bound to catch something. Knowing what you now know about the amount of fecal matter surrounding you and your child at any given time, do you really want to risk making them sick, all for the sake of seeing another Transformers movie?
2. You’re Setting a Horrible Example for the Older Kids
Your baby might be too young to know what’s going on, but your four year old isn’t. Kids are perceptive and extremely impressionable. They’re looking at you for how to do everything, like knowing what passes as appropriate or considerate behavior in the ever-expanding social circle we call Society.
If a six year old child sees his or her parents bring a baby into a dark, crowded movie theater, and then ignore the infant as it starts to cry endlessly, all the while ignoring the moans and sighs of nearby moviegoers, they’re most likely going to think that what you are doing is correct social behavior, and therefore perfectly fine. Don’t get me wrong, there are worse things your child could see you doing, like hot-boxing in your Prius because you just need a break from the monotony of child-raising, but a bad example is still a bad example. Ignoring the comfort of the people around you is the same as teaching your other children that empathy is for suckers and the weak, and that so long as they do what they want, everything will be alright. If you’re a parent, surely you’ve noticed how your child imitates your actions, repeating phrases and copying movements. That’s just what kids do. Their brains are always looking for new information, and they’re constantly exploring, even when it doesn’t seem like it.
Truthfully, every year of a child’s life is impressionable, but children develop their morality (their sense of right and wrong) from the time they are born all the way until about 9 or 10 years old. By the time they reach that age, they’ve pretty much developed the conscience that they’ll be using for the rest of their life.
Children are not blind. They notice the rude behavior that their parents portray, and they latch onto it and embrace it. If it happens often enough, they’ll grow up thinking it’s normal, and that’s a whole new generation of inconsiderate assholes bringing babies into movie theaters.
1. Neglecting or Letting Your Child Cry Can Actually Hurt It
Babies cry for a reason. That’s usually pretty obvious. Most of the time it means they’re hungry, tired, wet or dirty, annoyed, or simply uncomfortable. A lot of factors play into this, so determining the solution can sometimes be a bit daunting. You give the baby a bottle and it doesn’t work; you change the baby’s diaper and that doesn’t work; you bounce the baby in hopes that the constant motion somehow calms its never-ending rage, and it still doesn’t work. You try everything you possibly can, but still nothing, so what do you do? Why, ignore it completely, of course!
A lot of parents do this, not because they hate their children, but because they’ve become accustomed to it and find themselves more inclined to ignore it. The child’s cries go unabated in the end, which is never a good thing when you’re dealing with an infant. For starters, an excessive amount of crying can cause health problems in newborns, such as damage to the lungs and spine. Normally, for most attentive parents, this wouldn’t be much of an issue. However, when you’re in a movie theater, you tend to zone out and neglect important things like a child crying, which, as previously stated, is a horribly stupid thing to do.
According to Erik Erikson’s Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development, the first year of a human’s life (stage 1) is when an individual develops his or her trust. This stage is creatively known as Trust vs. Mistrust. Basically, if a parent neglects its child or does not respond to its needs right away, the child will grow to develop a mistrust of both the parent as well as the entire world. He also said that some mistrust is natural and even positive to some extent, but if it outweighs the amount of trust that a child develops, the child will ultimately become withdrawn and lack self-confidence as it grows up.
In other words, if you’ve ever gone into a movie and seen a couple of parents ignoring their baby’s cries for help, you can rest assured that the baby will ultimately grow into a self-loathing, ultra-depressed teenager with all kinds of problems that will cause his or her parents a never-ending stream of grief. You know, like all those characters that Michael Cera always plays.
If you need further proof that ignoring your child’s cries is synonymous with bad parenting, a guy named Bowlby and some of his colleagues actually determined that every baby, when left to “cry it out”, goes through three phases. First the baby will cry extensively and without pause in a phase known as protest. The second phase, called despair, has the child continue to cry, but much less emotionally and much more monotonously, with more emphasis on withdraw. Finally, the last phase, known as distress, has the child entering a state of emotional withdraw, where the baby begins to feel neglected and depressed. The child ultimately loses hope that the parent (or caregiver) will ever provide what it needs.
This is the price you are paying when you decided to bring Junior along to the movies.
So the next time you want to check out the latest Michael Bay movie in which he destroys yet another franchise from the 80’s (Power Rangers maybe?), take a moment to imagine what your child would say if they knew you were about to put them through 2 hours of disease-ridden mental torture. Do you think they’d be pissed off at you? Maybe a little annoyed?