Kids and WWE

I’m going to start this article with a statement some may find controversial – I let my two and a half year old son watch WWE. The first question this may pose to many is “Is that a good idea?”, and the other question is probably “Is that responsible parenting?”. This comes down to a matter of opinion for me, and is something I am going to look at more in this article.

Now it won’t have escaped most peoples attention that just this last week, a 5 year old girl tragically died as a result of the actions of her 13 year old brother. Now, the way this is reported by the media was with the headline “Terrytown 5-year-old allegedly killed by brother’s wrestling moves”. Straightaway the headline pinpoints wrestling as being involved. Now admittedly my first reaction when I saw the headline was one of fear for my son possibly doing these things, and wondering “What will people think of me letting my son watch this?”. As a result I didn’t read the article until Friday as I was worried about what I would read. When I read what had actually happened it made me suddenly realise the kid knew exactly what he was doing to his sister and it seemed to me he was looking for something to cover his own stupidity and clear disregard for his sisters safety.

Danger!

WWE, and wrestling in general, will always have some kind of stigma attached to it. Steroids will always be an issue WWE is tagged with, and when a kid dies in a situation where WWE or wrestling is even mentioned they will always get a negative mention. What really riles me up about WWE in the media is it’s always the negative things that get mentioned, never anything positive. When did you last see the media actively praise WWE for the running of Don’t Try This At Home, School or Anywhere in all it’s programming unlike any other entertainment show, the Be A Star campaign to promote putting an end to bullying, the Wrestlemania Reading Challenge to help kids read, and the countless hours superstars like John Cena spend granting the requests of seriously ill kids via Make A Wish.

You have to applaud WWE for taking the time to actively promote to kids not to try this at home, school or anywhere. Whenever I watch WWE I see at least two of these video’s per hour. When did you last see a show like Power Rangers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have some kind of warning not to try any of the things shown at home or school? I certainly don’t EVER remember seeing this when I grew up as a child. I remember watching wresting as a kid as I remember Wrestlemania 8, but I never once felt the urge to go and DDT someone, or attack them in any way from the moves I saw on TV. WWE’s Be A Star as a campaign is a controversial and touchy subject as it can be seen as WWE being a bit hypocritical as they want to cut out bullying, which is great, but then some of their storylines involve bullying (The Mickie James angle where she was referred to by Lay-Cool as Piggy James springs to mind). However, it isn’t something WWE has to do, and it’s good to see WWE at least take the issue of bullying seriously. I don’t really need to say much on Make A Wish – John Cena simply is the most requested celebrity wish for this for a reason – Like the guy or not, he is a fantastic role model for kids, and makes more time than anyone to give these seriously ill kids some of his own personal time. I wish a lot of other so called ‘celebrities’ would spare even 5 minutes of their time to do the same, instead of touch up their tan or waiting to be photographed walking down the street.

Don't Try

WWE have even gone out of their way to develop a section on their corporate website for parents thinking of letting their kids watch their product. Again, how many other companies would do this? WWE is a different product to the majority of programs on TV Kids should watch I agree, so they have to have something, but you don’t see this with organisations like TNA. WWE clearly state they are committed to creating family-friendly, TV-PG broadcast programming. I seriously recommend having a look at this if you never have as I found it really useful and interesting.

As with anything nowadays, WWE comes with the letters PG – Parental Guidance. This simply means it is down to the parents what they want their child to see. Which leads me back to my son being two and a half and watching WWE. There are only two things that can get his attention – Mickey Mouse and WWE. Two completely different types of programmes, but if it grabs his attention and gets him interaction out of him then that’s not a bad thing. His favourite toy is a plastic replica WWE Championship, which you will see him either doing John Cena’s salute and run ring entrance with, or mimicking Daniel Bryan with Yes! Yes! Yes! in his entrance. His favourite wrestlers seem to be John Cena, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and The Shield (Or they are at least who he reacts to most). Just because he likes WWE does this mean he’s going to intentionally start wrestling and hurting other children? No, and if I found out he had done anything of the sort, he would no longer be watching WWE until he understood what he was doing was wrong and he should not be doing the things WWE superstars do.

Admittedly he does pin his stuffed Micky Mouse and count the three, and has been seen trying to do the same to his nine month old sister, but he is stopped immediately, and once told off, will not do it again. I always go out of my way to explain to him not to try the things he is seeing. Bearing all of this article in mind, is it responsible of me to allow him to watch WWE? Well, I grew up watching WWE and aside from play fighting with my son now at age 28, have never felt the urge or need to try a wrestling move on anyone. Would I let him watch the Attitude Era? Hell no, I have always maintained to my wife that is out of bounds as it is not something I feel personally comfortable him seeing. I think I handle his watching of the current product responsibly and I would turn something off I felt was not appropriate for him to see. To sum up my article I look at it this way, if I didn’t let him watch WWE he would be watching something else. And what’s not to say that when he sees another TV show containing staged violence that he isn’t going to copy that? It all comes down to parental choice and responsibility. WWE has it’s place in your child’s life, it’s how you as the parent choose to introduce and manage it.

Follow me on Facebook Jamie Welton or on Twitter @jamie_welton

  • kbunyon

    Jamie, thank you!

    So many people think letting children watch things like the WWE is inciting them to be violent people. My younger daughter watches WWE, and some TNA with me, but she's really into the characters, and learning what really good wrestling is. She understands that some of the characters she likes are not the best wrestlers, but she's old enough to know why she likes them. It's fun to watch them grow and learn about how it all works.

    The thing they neglect the mention in these articles is how the home life is, if the child in question already has violent tendencies, and if that specific child should have been left alone with the younger sibling. There's so much more to it than what they watch on TV.

    KB

    • Jamie Welton

      I appreciate the support on this subject Kendra, and it is good to know that there are others like me out there who allow their kids to watch wrestling.

      Unfortunately I know there are those who maybe don’t agree with my decision but that’s just the thing, it’s my decision, and I will take the heat for anything bad that comes out of it. I look at it this way – If it wasn’t WWE he was watching it would be something else. If I let him watch the old Tom & Jerry cartoons does that mean he’s going to develop violent tendencies? No, and what makes WWE any different from something like Classic Tom & Jerry?

      Fully agree with you where it’s never reported about the kids home life. The article about the 5 year old girl at least acknowledged the mother had left the boy to baby sit, but clearly he has issues that stem deeper than trying to copy what he saw on WWE.

  • SDD

    WWE has said & done everything possible to send the message of "Don't try this at home". To me it is up to parents on what they should let their kids watch. But should probably be responsible to remind them that the superstars are trained professionals.

    As far as the tragic death of the little girl. I will say I have play wrestled my nephew many times. Never do anything that would hurt him. But playing. To me it sounds like a case of the guy was playing with the girl & accidently went too rough. I don't know for sure as I was not there & media can blow things bigger than the real story is. That is my Theory on that until ii actually hear more on it.

    • Jamie Welton

      Agreed SDD, I don't think they can do anything more than they already do. As long as kids are constantly reminded about not doing what they see at home, then I see no problem in letting them watch. As long as there are boundaries in place that's the main thing.

      From the way I read what was reported the kid seemed to know what he was doing and seemed to be pleased with what he had done, but without the full story it's hard to judge fully. It's just frustrating that the media will always jump on things and make it into something it isn't

  • Abbeh

    I let my 2 and a half year old daughter watch WWE with me. My brother and I watched from the ages of 9 and 11, I watched my brother chokeslam his huge monkey stuffed toy more times than I can remember but neither of us ever thought it would be a cracking idea to whack the other in the face with a sledgehammer or slam them through the dining room table. I fully agree with you that it comes down to parental choice and responsibility.

    • Jamie Welton

      Thanks for the comments Abbeh, nice to hear your young daughter also watches. I've known kids that have been injured from wrestling moves in my school and the thing people were most peeved off about was wrestling moves were used, not that the kids, who were old enough to know right from wrong had decided to use the moves. I was subjected to moves being done on me, the worst 2 things I suffered was being side slammed onto a desk which then fell over and the top broke (Which hurt) and I received a modified version of the 3D on our school field. I've never had the thought of doing any of these things myself to other people but like your brother have done stuff to stuffed teddies. Parents have a huge role to play in monitoring what their kids watch, especially when it comes to WWE, but you never hear people moan when kids watch a cartoon containing violence, because they will always want to blame something other than the real problem sometimes, and that's themselves.

  • Numero Uno

    Me and my little brother love to watch wrestling. He understands the stories and charaters. I'll wrestle with him, but we would never do anything to hurt each other. If we realize something is wrong with one another we stop. Since i'm older i'll let him slam me down on the floor, and if i pick him up i slam him on the couch. Also when I do that I carry him down instead of dropping him to make sure he doesn't get hurt. If my dad has a problem with it or a certain move he establishses that. For ex. the kimura lock. That's banned at our house when my brother put one of his friends in it and almost pushed him to breaking point. The texas piledriver isn't allowed. The tombstone is since it is easier to bury your opponets head in between your legs. But if the parents have a problem with the programming then don't let their kids watch it.

    • Jamie Welton

      Absolutely Numero Uno, parents should make the choice on whether to say yes or no. I know people are going to do moves, and that's their personal choice, and it's establishing the level of when to stop, which is good you have that. Can't say I agree with it but as we have said, it is down to personal choice. Glad to hear you are safe with it

  • Chris Owen

    Hi Mate. Yeah I will comment on Facebook also but I just wanted to comment on here also.

    As you know we have watched WWE/Wrestling for years and you have watched it a lot longer and I completely agree with what you have said and the comments you have had. I would find it very hard to believe that the majority of people who watch wrestling have not at least acted 1 move on a member of there family. People have free will and as much as WWE can say don't try this at home we all know they are. In the end if parents will allow there children to do these moves on siblings etc then it is up to them to police it and make sure they know the rights and wrongs.

    When I read the article obviously WWE felt compelled to comment even though they were not required to. Then I got to thinking where is TNA or ROH's comment, just because WWE is the biggest and do the most they are the ones tradgidies fall to respond on.

    I can't believe after reading what happened to this poor girl it was directly linked to WWE. I can remember the last time I saw someone pounding someone over and over again and it was called boxing. Violent crimes are because of the individual and should never be linked to a profession they just use it as a catalyst. A prime example of the WWE showing that it is entertainment is the Zeb Coulter/Jack Swagger angle. They felt compelled to break character and make a statement because some idiot from polotics I think could not difrenciate between real and fake. What hope do children have!! Children should be told from a young age the pitfalls in copying wrestling moves and constantly told ongoing….It's all free will in the end but don't blame the entertainment.

    • jamiewelton

      Thanks for the comments Chris, appreciate seeing them here as well as Facebook.

      I can 100% say I have never done a move on anyone. WWE cannot do any more than they already do. If anything it's down to the networks that show the programming to emphasise this more too. Parents have a responsibility to make sure they monitor their kids behaviour and prevent things happening.

      I agree that WWE should not be the only ones stepping in there to say something, however I think in this case it was because they were the ones getting their name slung into this tragic mess. TNA and ROH have an obligation to think about what they are doing but it is not their place to get involved in this one.

      What happened to that girl was neglected parenting and this 13 year old boy knew what he was doing. I agree with you, there is far too much blaming of entertainment and other industries for things that will never realistically be their fault.

  • Chris Owen

    Excuse the spelling mistakes I submitted by accident before I checked lol….