A new children's movie in theaters right now has thousands of parents across the country sending out a stark warning online.
Several online parenting blogs have detailed a series of scenes in the new movie 'Show Dogs', saying they send some conflicting messages to kids about unwanted touching.
These blogs say the main character, a talking dog, is trained to go to his 'zen place' while dog show judges touch his private parts. While the filmmakers say it was designed as a comedic moment, parents and professionals see an entirely different message.
“It’s very shocking, it disturbs me,” Compass Center Child Play Therapist, Deb Langrehr said.
While the filmmakers say touching a dog's genitals is standard practice during dog shows like the one depicted in ‘Show Dogs’, Langrehr said kids watching the show may have a tough time differentiating.
“They’re making this dog seem like human, so no, it’s not right,” Langrehr said.
That's exactly what the author of the parenting blog ‘Macaroni Kid’ thought after taking her kids to see the movie. She said after the movie, she had to have a discussion with her daughter about not letting anyone touch her in private areas.
“There just isn't any place for that sort of introduction to your genitals in a children's movie,”
Sioux Falls mom Steph Knight said.
Knight says no matter the character, private parts should not be addressed in any movie designed for kids.
“The discussion of your genitals and a child's genitals should be between them and their parents learning, between them and their physician learning,” Knight said.
Langrehr said parents should have these discussions with their kids, knowing that it’s ok to say no, sending the opposite message of what the movie ‘Show Dogs’ depicts.
“It’s not ok for anyone to touch you when you feel uncomfortable and always if you feel uncomfortable, go tell an adult that you really trust,” Langrehr said.
‘They have to learn to protect themselves from inappropriate touch from other children and adults, they need to be able to know what’s appropriate and inappropriate,” Knight said.
The filmmakers responded to the growing online concern about these scenes:
“Dog show judging in this film is depicted completely accurately as done at shows around the world; and was performed by professional and highly respected dog show judges.”
The filmmakers also apologized to parents who feel the scene sends another message.
'Show Dogs' is rated PG and opened in theaters across the country over the weekend.