Children Exposed to Graphic Horror Movie

I don’t know if you saw in the news that some children in the UK were left traumatised when supernatural horror film Paranormal Activity 4 was accidentally screened instead of the animated family film Madagascar 3 at their local cinema.

Youngsters reacted in horror as a ‘flashback’ scene from the original Paranormal Activity showed a bloodied corpse being hurled at the camera.

Around 25 families at the Cineworld cinema in Nottingham scrambled for the exits with their crying children – some as young as five – when the film started.

Natasha Lewis, 32, had taken her eight-year-old son Dylan to see the film.

The full-time mother, from Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, said: ‘Dylan wanted to see the new Madagascar film as he’s seen the others and they’re his favourite. He was really looking forward to it.

‘We sat down and it was meant to start at 10am, but it took until 10.30am for the lights to go down and for the trailers to start.

‘They started playing the movie and I thought – this doesn’t look right. And then I recognised the opening sequence as a flashback to the first movie, which I saw a couple of years ago.

‘It opens on the most terrifying scene in the first film – where a body shoots full pelt towards the camera. – Daily Mail

We had a similar situation some time back. We went to see a family movie and then the screen burst into life with 40 Year Old Virgin. We’d already thought that some of the movie trailers were inappropriate for kids and we’d discussed complaining about what they’d been promoting in a family movie session.

As soon as the wrong movie started I headed out with a few other parents to alert staff. The parents who remained in the cinema covered young eyes.

The cinema staff quickly turned the movie off and started screening the one we were there to see. Our incident didn’t make world headlines but it was still a very unfortunate incident.

Have you ever been in a similar situation? Was it the cinema’s fault or had you walked in to the wrong cinema?

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Ada Broke My Heart

SantoDomingo.jpgNext month I’ll be cycling to release children from poverty. Today I want to share part of the reason why I’m taking on that challenge.

I’ve interviewed dozens of famous singers, authors, personalities, politicians and celebrities over the years but if I had the chance to choose one moment from my radio career so far that stands high above the others it is the opportunity to tell Ada’s story. I’ll tell you more about that story in a few moments.

Over the past couple of months I’ve been looking back at my visit to Haiti and Dominican Republic with Compassion Australia in April 2008. That visit is the main reason I’m passionate about taking park in the 25000 Spins Great Ocean Road Challenge. Next month I’ll be riding 290 kilometres in three days and I need your support. By sponsoring my efforts on the challenge you’ll be releasing children from poverty. You’ll be giving children a real chance at life. Please visit my fundraising page and make a contribution. Maybe you can afford to sponsor me for a dollar a kilometre, maybe 50 cents a kilometre, or perhaps you’d just like to donate $10, $20, $50 or any other amount.

Ada’s Story

As I mentioned before, telling Ada’s story was a real highlight for me. The story of this young girl will break your heart then give you renewed hope in the difference that each one of us can make in the lives of others.

I beg you to take just fourteen minutes to listen to Ada’s story. I know that for many, setting aside fourteen minutes is too much to ask. If you’re one of the few who takes the time, I guarantee it’ll be worth it.

If you want to hear something to lift your spirits just click play on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

The whole story is worth hearing but I’ll warn you now that it will really start to touch your heart around half way through.

Ada is a girl I met and interviewed in Dominican Republic. She was a beautiful twelve year old with a bright future. I wish I could show you the picture I had taken with the two of us but I prefer to keep her identity somewhat private. You’ll understand why as you listen.

I talked to Ada, I visited her home and talked to her parents. I’m sure that all of us that visited her home on that day will remember the warm hug she gave each one of us as we left. She is a remarkable young girl.

I managed to track down her sponsor in Australia and shared Ada’s story with her. Lisa’s reaction to hearing her sponsored child’s voice is priceless. Hearing Lisa describe how she feels when she hears just how much of an impact she has had on Ada’s life is inspiring.

I don’t know what else I can say but to again beg that you take the time to hear this amazing story. If you do take the time, please let me know.

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There’s a bear in there …

Around this time of the year I get to reflect on years gone by and look at what lies ahead. Another year will tick over for me later this week, and what a year it has been.

Interesting to see that a part of my childhood is celebrating a milestone today. ABC’s Play School, based on a British program of the same name, went to air for the first time on this day, the 18th of July, 1966. It’s turning 45 today.

I’ve got a few years head start on Play School but it was very much a part of my childhood and quite probably yours too. I don’t know about you but I was always a big fan of Big Ted, Little Ted and the round window. I wonder if you have any memories of Play School. If you’re not in Australia, or weren’t brought up here, what kids programmes did you watch when you were small?

I’d love you to share your memories of children’s television, especially Play School if you watched it. I certainly hope they’ve given Big Ted the day off to celebrate.

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I’m not a monster …

… so why am I made to feel like I am?

Many years ago if I’d seen a child looking lost in a shopping centre or a park I would ask that child if they had lost their mum and then try to help finding them. These days I stand there and look around for a woman, any woman, to ask for help. It shouldn’t have to be that way.

Miranda Devine has written an excellent article titled, Why are all men made to feel like fiends? I encourage you to read her article all the way through and then think about what it means for our communities.

She tackles the difficult issue of paedophilia and how it has tainted the way that society looks at men. These days men are more likely to ignore their first reaction to immediately rescue or protect young children and to find alternatives to helping vulnerable youngsters.

She talks about a man who desperately wanted to help a child in imminent danger but was concerned about the consequences. Thankfully the child was rescued but in another story Devine tells, the outcome wasn’t so happy.

In 100 different ways every day the same scenario is played out, reflecting a profound and largely unspoken shift in the way decent men view small children.

These are just ordinary men, fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, who have been made to feel like criminals around children and obliged to suppress their natural, healthy instinct to protect the most vulnerable members of our society. –

I’d like to think that if a child was in immediate danger I would still act, despite the consequences, but would that moment of hesitation lead to tragedy?

Have you experienced this kind of phenomena? Are you a man who has held back rather than jumping in to help? Are you a woman who has wondered about the motives of a stranger?

We need to aware of the dangers around us and protect our children but I think Miranda Devine sums the situation up well in the final lines of her article.

… demonising men won’t prevent child abuse. In the interests of children, we women must force ourselves to reclaim the notion of male innocence.

The male protective instinct, after all, is one of the most crucial safeguards of childhood.-

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I Get It Now

I’m finding more and more that being a parent myself helps me understand my own parents better. I guess it’s only natural that I’m seeing things through a dad’s eyes these days.

I remember at times when I was ill as a child that my dad would start feeling ill too. He didn’t like seeing his kids sick and so his body would react to knowing that his children weren’t feeling 100%.

Our son James starting feeling unwell just before dinner last night, which is always better than afterwards because I know it can’t have been my cooking. He only ate a little of his dinner because he was getting stomach cramps. A little while after going to bed he became very distressed and then threw up a couple of times.

He’s a whole lot better today but seeing him hurting last night sent my tummy into a bit of a spin. I didn’t just feel sorry for him; it made me feel physically ill.

I only wish that my father was still around so that I could say, “Hey dad, I get it now.”

Have you started seeing things differently as you move through different stages of life? Has getting a little older helped you to see things from someone else’s perspective? I’d love to read your experiences. Please leave a comment or two.

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