Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against Tv, Movie, and Video Game Violence Paperback – 18 Aug 2014
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"In 1999, Grossman, a retired lieutenant colonel recognized for his study of human aggression, joined with Parent Coaching Institute founder/CEO Degaetano to write a book arguing that media and video game violence encourages violence in youth. This completely updated paperback edition is timely."--"Library Journal"
Gathers and presents in highly readable form a summation of the research on the impacts of what you and your kids see when you spend your downtime watching violence on TV, in movies and in video games. If you have children, or if you care about the rising tide of violence in our society, this book is a must read. "Psychology Today"
Wake up, people, and pay attention! Violence pollution of childhood is a pernicious and growing problem. This book clearly explains how to confront it with practical steps not only to protect our own kids, but also to reduce the cultural impact of media violence. --Jane M. Healy, Ph.D.Educational psychologist and author of""Your Child's Growing Mind: Brain Development and Learning from Birth to Adolescence"
""People in public health, education, law enforcement, social services, medicine, all intuitively recognize that there is a connection between violent media and real-world violence...DeGaetano and Grossman have brought it all together for us: the overwhelming evidence, the history, the psychology, the physiology and they offer the urgently needed media literacy solutions." --Erin McNeill, Founder and President, MediaLiteracyNow.org"
About the Author
LT. COL. DAVE GROSSMAN (USA, RET) is an internationally recognized scholar, author, soldier, and speaker who is one of the world s foremost experts in the field of human aggression and the roots of violence and violent crime. The author of the Pulitzer-nominated "On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society," he is currently the director of the Killology Research Group (killology.com).
GLORIA DEGAETANO is the originator of parent coaching and CEO of Parent Coach International. A pioneering media-literacy educator and acclaimed author and speaker, she has over thirty years of experience working with families and educators."
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The other week my teenage daughter came home horrified. She had watched in shock as a parent gave a child about a year old an iPhone to play with for an extended period of time. She has regaled me with stories from her acquaintances of parents encouraging their children to watch multiple hours (6-8+) of television during the day or children watching totally inappropriate media at very young ages. I thought television viewing was bad in my day, but between television, video games and other “screens” the average child spends most of their waking, non-school hours looking at some sort of screen.
As an educator, I am well aware of the negative impact too much screen time can have on developing minds and bodies. I knew the brain research was ominous about the impact of playing violent video games and watching violent movies on young developing brains. What I hadn’t seen yet was a book that put all of the information in one place.
I was intrigued when I was offered a chance to review Stop Teaching Our Kids To Kill, Revised and Updated Edition: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie & Video Game Violence by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Gloria DeGaetano. After examining it, I really believe every parent needs to read this book. What I thought I knew about media and kids was only the tip of the iceberg.
Most of the books I review have a Christian focus. This book is absolutely secular, but in some ways, I think it only adds to the impact of what the authors share. I have seen too many Christians allow and even encourage their children to watch violent movies. I have watched youth ministry personnel pop violent video games in for teens to play during youth events. In spite of the fact that gratuitous violence goes against everything God stands for, Christians seem unfazed by the exposure their children are getting.
From secular research and a purely secular, public safety and well being mind set, the authors do an amazing job of explaining how these television shows, movies and games are destroying our youth and in turn our society. They quote decades of studies (many of them longitudinal), detailing how these games and shows even change the ways our children’s brains function.
As a Christian, perhaps the scariest thing the authors said was that constant exposure to violent images (note: violence includes inflicting any sort of pain on another) creates a child in whom empathy is destroyed. Wow! In a way, much of Christianity is based on the concept of empathy. If allowing your child too much screen time undermines all of your efforts to develop empathy in your child, is it worth the break it gives you from having to entertain him or make him behave?
On the other hand, perhaps the scariest information in the book is that 3 million young people in this country are addicted to video games. Even scarier is that the definition of addiction is that the behavior is having a major negative effect on one or more areas of the child or teen’s life. This means 3 million young people are having severely damaged relationships, deplorable academic work and more – all because of too much screen time. (Not to mention the terrifying increase in mass killings and violent/ aggressive behaviors.)
I could go on forever about all of the important information in this book. I have a habit of putting tabs in books to mark places with quotes and information I may want to use later. This book has more tabs than I have ever put in a book. From finding out the correlation between violent media and aggressive behavior is stronger than the correlations between secondhand smoke and lung cancer or lead ingestion and lowered IQ to the realization that misbehavior is often the result of children sitting too long in front of media rather than running off their energy in appropriate ways like play, this book is full of things to ponder.
Perhaps the most interesting was the idea that the sharp rise in bullying correlates with the increased screen times children and teens are experiencing. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. All of the popular teen shows involve bullying and frankly (from the commercials) quite a bit of murder. Not only do the authors point out the desensitization media creates for aggressive bullying behaviors, but also the identification and modeling these shows, movies and video games provide for inappropriate, ungodly behaviors. (Okay, ungodly was my word, but it is definitely implied.)
If you like scary movies, you will love this book. Frankly, reading it scared me more than anything I have read or seen in a very long time. There is hope though. If parents and Christians are willing to take back some responsibility and become advocates, we can reverse the damage to our children and society. In fact, the last large section of the book gives suggestions for how to get involved, organizations to support and alternative ideas of positive media to provide to your children in limited amounts.
Run, don’t walk and purchase this book. Read it and examine the media habits in your home. You may just find turning off all of the screens improves your child’s behavior, attitudes and possibly all of the relationships in your home. The authors even make a case for increased creativity and productivity in children, teens and adults with reduced or non-existent screen times. Try it and let me know what happens. In the meantime, I think I will take a walk and go read another book!
This book was given to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review. I will definitely keep this book and use it to help educate other parents about children and media
Media violence is at an all-time high and growing at an alarming rate. The thought of someone actively teaching our kids to kill--and having access to do that 24/7, is one that can shock us into action. When I was growing up, my parents focused on how much TV watched, and occasionally on how much violence there was in our Saturday morning cartoons (I know this dates me!). Times have changed and there are definitely many reasons to embrace the gifts of technology. Without such gifts, I would not have an internet-based parent coaching business-one that brings me great joy and allows me to follow my passion and support parents. Without it my high schooler and middle schooler would not be able to create multi-media presentations at school, as well be able to supplement their learning with access to huge sources of information. However, there is a darker side to this access. It's not just our kids' access to violent websites and video games; it is also the creators of such games and sites that have access to OUR kids. It's the realistic games that simulate killing and cause our kids' brains to acclimate to such images and to have the pleasure center in their brains help them become addicted.
Parents don't need another reason to feel guilty for "doing it wrong." There are plenty of parenting books that blame parents and attempt to shame them into doing what the author says is the "right" way to parent. Heaven knows the issue of monitoring our kids' use of technology is hard enough--at least for me. Thankfully, this book is not that kind of book, because we *need* resources that are honest yet realistic, and parent-friendly. I appreciate that this is a no-nonsense, no-blame guide for parents to navigate the rocky waters of protecting their kids from the effects of media violence. If you've ever thought, ""Yeah, yeah--yet another book moaning about something I'm doing wrong," or "Of course violence is bad--but my kids know the difference between fantasy and reality", you're not alone. You don't have to be a "helicopter parent" who buys into the idea that technology is bad--it's part of reality so we just need to deal with it." We DO need to deal with it and we can.
Top reasons to read this book:
1. There are small but powerful steps we as parents can take to keep our kids safe (every parent's desire, right?) and contribute to creating a culture where media violence is NOT normal.
We can no longer deny that after the 1999 violent tragedy at Columbine High, mass shootings have increased. What seemed like an unfortunate aberration at the time has morphed into more of a sad reality: so much that so that one could even sigh," Not *another* one." It doesn't have to be this way.
2. The book is based on solid research and offers a blueprint for parents to address these serious issues in a very compassionate, readable way.
3. The concrete suggestions it proposes will spill over and positively affect other aspects of your children's lives (increase in ability to focus in school and elsewhere: increase in self confidence, as well as the ability to get along with peers and solve conflicts peacefully).
It's time to rally around what helps kids and families thrive. Together we can do this.
I received a copy of this book from the authors for an honest review. This book is well-researched and written by a team that includes a military professional (LT COL Grossman) who trained soldiers how to kill.
Media violence is not completely to blame, but do not forget: bad company corrupts good character. The average American child spends 7 hours 38 minutes daily in front of a screen for entertainment. If that entertainment is constantly violent, your child's "best friend" will corrupt their character. This has been shown by medical research that content matters. However, people continually ignore it!
I encourage you to read "Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill", take action, and make a difference to make our communities a safer place. Give our children a better future.
By not explicitly addressing the influence of media violence in children's lives, the authors explain, we give it implicit permission to teach and train children to be aggressive, to bully, to hurt and even to kill. If a person came into our homes and taught our children the skills and attitudes they learn from media, we would put a stop to it immediately. Yet we as a society allow this harm to our children to go on and worsen exponentially year by year.
Not only does every parent need to read this book, every policymaker needs to read it. This book will be a key resource in our work to put media literacy onto the public policy agenda, and demand action from our leaders.
Erin McNeill, Founder and President, Media Literacy Now, MediaLiteracyNow.org
It is time we stop teaching our kids to kill!
This comprehensive book is the place to start; a must-read for everyone so conscious choices can be made to create the worlds we want our children to inhabit as they grow and develop. This book lays action steps that can be taken at home, in our communities and in the world to stop media violence's destructive impact. Help educate others by passing this book along to other parents, family, friends and community leaders.
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