Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence

By Gerard Jones | Go to book overview

2
Seeing What We're
Prepared to See

In January 2001, a group of doctors at Stanford University released one of the most encouraging studies I'd seen in a long time. They found that when elementary school kids voluntarily cut back on the number of hours they watched TV and played video games, they subsequently behaved less aggressively. Everything from playground shoving matches to kids snapping, "I'm gonna kick your butt!" decreased when the kids started turning off the TV after about an hour a day. As the study's lead author, Dr. Thomas N. Robinson, commented, "What this shows is that there is something you can do in a practical way, in a real-world setting, and see the effects." That was great news to all of us who sometimes despair at our power to make the world a little saner for our kids.

The study didn't get the news coverage it deserved (probably because it was released right before the Super Bowl), but nearly every news article I saw interpreted it in a similar way. The San Francisco Chronicle led off its front-page story with, "Aggressive tendencies fostered in children by violent television shows and video games can be tempered if they cut back their viewing and playing, a new Stanford University study shows." What none of those news stories mentioned, however, was the fact that the study didn't distinguish among

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Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Foreword vi
  • Acknowledgments viii
  • 1 - Being Strong 1
  • 2 - Seeing What We're Prepared to See 23
  • 3 - The Magic Wand 45
  • 4 - The Good Fight 65
  • 5 - Girl Power 77
  • 6 - Calming the Storm 97
  • 7 - Fantasy and Reality 113
  • 8 - The Courage to Change 129
  • 9 - Vampire Slayers 149
  • 10 - Shooters 165
  • 11 - Model, Mirror, and Mentor 183
  • 12 - Not So Alone 205
  • 13 - Growing Up 219
  • Notes 233
  • Index 251
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