With the exception of most animated films, movies can be a frightening experience for young children.
Action sequences and loud noises are what we as adults go to the theaters to experience. But from the perspective of impressionable kids, those elements, when amplified, can be terrifying.
Until they reach an acceptable age, protective parents may limit their entertainment options to the small screen in the comfort of their own home.
But we all know that doesn't mean scary things don't happen on TV either.
Strangers on the internet were asked to reflect back on their childhood when Redditor miguelmmdu asked:
"What did you see on TV that traumatized you when you were a child?"
Documentaries can have fearful elements, whether the subject is real crime or the untamed animal kingdom.
A Case Of The Heebie Jeebies
"An episode of Unsolved Mysteries where they talked about Spontaneous Human Combustion. Terrified me for like 2 years."
Scary Title Music
"Unsolved Mysteries. Just hearing the intro music sends a jolt through my entire body. So many stories scarred me as a kid... I specifically remember an episode where a person was describing getting rolled up in a carpet and having their head smashed with a hammer..."
Something A Chimp Did
"On a David Attenborough documentary; some little monkey having its' skin ripped off by a chimp."
"Sure there was uproar about it and wasn't shown again."
"Not something I really want to search for and confirm if I remember it correctly!"
Breaking news reports are unavoidable while watching television programs.
The same goes for intense public service announcements – like the one that used a frying egg to demonstrate what happens to your brain when on drugs.
Exposed Pop Singer
"The Janet Jackson 'wardrobe malfunction' from the Superbowl that year. I don't know where the FCC was to protect my young eyes, but they failed in their task and it was too late for me. I had seen the nipple. Immediately, I became addicted to drugs, and caught the gay. LOL"
Day Of Infamy
"Columbine news report. I was in 5th grade and didn't want to go to school the next day. Terrified me."
"There was this anti-drug PSA where they were like 'when you sniff, this is what happens to your brain' and it was this girl sleeping in bed while her room slowly filled with water and she drowned. But I was very young and didn't know they meant like, sniffing glue or whatever. I just thought they meant like, sniffing when you have a cold.
So I was petrified for AAAAAAAAAAAAAGES that sniffing was going to drown me. And I had terrible seasonal allergies for like 10 months of the year, so I had runny noses a lot."
"I get that they didn't want to be like 'here are the things people sniff to get high, don't sniff those'. But that commercial was way too vague about what sniffing is."
Some programs geared towards children can still potentially give them nightmares.
"The brave little toaster … all of it."
"The 'Worthless' song from Brave Little Toaster."
"Watership Down (1978 version) also various UK public safety adverts from the 70's."
Off With Their Heads
"That one scene in Labyrinth where the puppets are pulling off their heads and tossing them around and they turn to Sarah and just say 'hey, let's take her head off!' then start chasing her and grabbing at her neck and singing about it like it's no big deal that they are trying to kill her."
"6 year old me took a hard pass on that one. big nope."
Factory Of Frights
"Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when Augustus gets sucked up the tube. They played the movie for me in daycare when I was 4 and I remember it still. I didn't watch it again until I was in my 30s."
Anything can be horrifying for a child.
If an anthropomorphic toaster and a renegade boob can cause lasting nightmares, maybe it's time for reading to become a frequent youthful pastime.
Being a budding bookworm could have spared me from my early introduction to an edited airing of The Exorcist.
As soon as I saw that little girl's head spinning, I noped my way out of the living room and ran to my bedroom.
The problem was, I became genuinely fearful of my bed – because based on what I saw on TV a moment ago, that was where sinister things happened.
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