Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Violence in Movies Shown on Airplanes

posted by Nell Minow

The only truly captive audience for movies is airline passengers. You do not have to put on the headset, but if you are disturbed or offended by what is on screen there is no way to turn it off. Airlines will edit the films for language or nudity and sex, but (other than plane crash scenes) they keep in the violence and parents with small children have no way to protect them from those images. A group called Kids Safe Films is calling on the airlines to do better.

On a 2006 US Airways flight, the in-flight airline movie screen dropped down from the overhead and began showing images of incredible violence. A drive-by shooting, a child crushed to death by a car, kids swapping guns. And that was in the first five minutes of the film. What’s crazy is that children on the flight were watching these images regardless of whether or not their parents purchased headsets. All because the screens were positioned so that everyone could see them. On other more recent flights, parents have struggled to protect their kids from images of murder, torture, melting faces and death – all shown on publicly viewable screens.


The American Medical Association reports numerous studies which prove that exposure to violent images is harmful to children.

And yet, here in America, in the only situation in which parents are unable to walk away from a TV screen, change the channel or even turn the TV off, their kids are force fed images of horrific violence – against their will, against the recommendation of the Medical Experts and against the guidelines set by Hollywood as put forth by the MPAA.

Their concerns are measured and their goals are modest. They applaud the airlines that either do not show movies or have 100% individual screens. They are not asking airlines to show children’s movies, they are not suing anyone (how refreshing!), and they are not raising money (even more refreshing). They are urging the airlines and movie studios to act on their own, but support legislation if that does not happen. They are gathering signatures on a petition and I support their efforts.

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