Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2002

    Vigorously researched, persuasive, and witty

    This book changed my mind. As a family therapist, I speak almost daily with parents who worry about their kids' taste in entertainment. I've often commiserated with them. Didn't the Columbine shooters reprogram their copy of 'Doom' to simulate their massacre? Don't images generally create possibilities? Gerard Jones argues against the prevailing belief that fantasy violence makes kids more violent. His analysis of the literature shows that teens who watch the most violent entertainment actually commit fewer serious crimes. And among the18 boys who perpetrated school rampages in recent years, the majority showed no interest in violent games. Instead of asking the sweeping question: How does violent fare affect kids? Jones poses 2 more searching questions: Why do kids love what they love? and: What is the place of fantasy violence in a world that condemns it in reality. He relies on his experiences as a teacher and on 30 yrs of social science to show how kids use fantasy to master fears and experiment with feeling powerful. In a chapter called 'Girl Power' Jones contends that just as girls used to identiy with male fantasy figures, boys are now identifying with Lara Croft and other super-heroines. In a culture in which male attitudes and tastes have often set the norm--a norm to which girls needed to assimilate--this expanding universe of possibilities for kids is no small triumph. The book is written to be accessible to parents and teachers, and indeed, I will feel comfortable recommending it to my patients. But the author is also a brilliant cultural studies scholar, and his chapters on the history of entertainment are first-rate. Here are some gems:----'For a decade not long ago (the mid-1980s) we truly did give our children the nearly violence-free popular culture that so many critics press for...What happened? Crime rates increased.'--We don't usually ask whether game shows predispose our children to greed, or whether love songs increase the likelihood of getting stuck in bad relationships.'--'Entertainment has inspired some people to violence, but so have the Bible, the Constitution, the Beatles, books about Hitler, and obsessions with TV actresses.' One finishes reading this book not only with less angst about nasty videogames, but with a new respect for the power of entertainment to expand minds and even to heal.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2002

    Nescessary reading for all parents and professionals!

    Mr. Jones addresses the problem of violence, the media and kids in an objective and caring manner. The book had some fabulous quotes and anecdotes from kids that will help adults make sense of how kids view the world of make believe fantasy. It's refreshing to see an adult who understands that children are not simply spoon fed information without processing it first. They use images and stories to gain a feeling of power and mastery over their world. I can use much of what I learned in the book in my practice as a forensic psychologist with violent kids. Thanks to Mr. Jones for his thoughtful and intelligent book on how our kids really feel about make-believe violence.

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    Posted May 14, 2014

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    Posted May 7, 2014

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    Posted November 17, 2009

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