I do not believe that watching Batman take out a gang of the Joker's thugs will cause young children to devalue human life. As a matter of fact, I find that many depictions of good vs. evil in popular culture, often violent by nature, have their origins in forms of entertainment that have been part and parcel of childhood since time immemorial—whether it be Grimm's fairy tales, Bible stories or what have you. In this way, these things become more than just entertainment, but passion plays that teach children right from wrong.
Is there such a thing as violence that is inappropriate for children? As I stated earlier, absolutely. There are many adult-oriented films and TV shows that encourage the devaluing of life and engender a generally cynical view due to their portrayal of brutal, random and very real violence. That's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about the cops-and-robbers, cowboys-and-Indians, superheroes-and-villains type of violence that is a cartoon caricature by definition.
And when I say "sex", I do not mean nudity per se. I have shown my children films with nudity in it, as I do not believe they should be taught that the human form is something to be shunned or made sinful. However, in those cases it would a non-sexualized nudity—the human body presented in a neutral, non-prurient way. There is no reason a small child, who sees his or her own naked body on a daily basis, should be made to feel shame for it.
It's all about what small children are able to process, and what potential affect it will have on them. It's about common sense. It doesn't mean I'm repressed or think sex is an evil act. It also doesn't mean I believe violence in everyday society is more acceptable for children to be exposed to than human sexuality. Rather, what I am saying is that when it comes to entertainment aimed at an audience whose minds are not yet fully formed, certain forms of cartoonish violence are easier and less harmful for young people to digest than depictions of mature sexuality.
As parents, we must make these decisions for our children. I've made mine, and I believe it's the right one.