Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie & Video Game Violence

Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie & Video Game Violence

2.5 29
by Dave Grossman, Gloria Degaetano
     
 

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There is perhaps no bigger or more important issue in America at present than youth violence. Columbine, Sandy Hook, Aurora: We know them all too well, and for all the wrong reasons: kids, some as young as eleven years old, taking up arms and, with deadly, frightening accuracy, murdering anyone in their paths. What is going on? According to the authors of Stop…  See more details below

Overview

There is perhaps no bigger or more important issue in America at present than youth violence. Columbine, Sandy Hook, Aurora: We know them all too well, and for all the wrong reasons: kids, some as young as eleven years old, taking up arms and, with deadly, frightening accuracy, murdering anyone in their paths. What is going on? According to the authors of Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill, there is blame to be laid right at the feet of the makers of violent video games (called "murder trainers" by one expert), the TV networks, and the Hollywood movie studios--the people responsible for the fact that children witness literally thousands of violent images a day.

Authors Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Gloria DeGaetano offer incontrovertible evidence, much of it based on recent major scientific studies and empirical research, that movies, TV, and video games are not just conditioning children to be violent--and unaware of the consequences of that violence--but are teaching the very mechanics of killing. Their book is a much-needed call to action for every parent, teacher, and citizen to help our children and stop the wave of killing and violence gripping America's youth. And, most important, it is a blueprint for us all on how that can be achieved.

In Paducah, Kentucky, Michael Carneal, a fourteen-year-old boy who stole a gun from a neighbor's house, brought it to school and fired eight shots at a student prayer group as they were breaking up. Prior to this event, he had never shot a real gun before. Of the eight shots he fired, he had eight hits on eight different kids. Five were head shots, the other three upper torso. The result was three dead, one paralyzed for life. The FBI says that the average, experienced, qualified law enforcement officer, in the average shootout, at an average range of seven yards, hits with less than one bullet in five. How does a child acquire such killing ability? What would lead him to go out and commit such a horrific act?


From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Voya Reviews
The first half of this book contains a long essay concerning the entertainment industry and the plethora of violent media it produces. Citing numerous studies with statistics, the authors discuss the increase in violent crimes committed by and involving young people. Examining studies that link media violence and aggressive behavior in children, the authors look at developmental stages of young children who are unable to distinguish fantasy from reality and are desensitized by constant violence in cartoons. Video games come under particular scrutiny--blamed for their addictive elements as well as for honing the shooting skills of juvenile offenders. In addition to demanding that the entertainment industry act more responsibly, giving up the large profits received from producing routine, exploitive violence, the authors advise parents to talk to their children about violence in media and real life. They recommend monitoring, reducing, or in some cases, eliminating "screen time," including television, video games, and computers. The book concludes with a directory of organizations and their stands on media violence, lists of media literacy organizations, and extensive book and article citations. Every time a tragic incident occurs involving children as perpetrators or as victims, we all search for a reason and something to blame, but there is no simple, one-size-fits-all answer. Regulating the speech content of the entertainment industry has to be at the consumer level, and individual responsibility is key. As the authors suggest, viewers should choose wisely, and parents must begin actively participating in their children's lives. While this book is directed toward parents, students whoare exploring issues of media and violent behavior will find this an excellent resource for part of an extremely complex topic. Index. Charts. Biblio. Source Notes. 1999, Crown, Ages Adult, 196p, $20. Reviewer: Bette Ammon
From the Publisher
The goal of this book is to make people aware of what the prolific use of violence in television, movies, and video games is doing to our children. Teaching Our Kids to Kill calls to the table the makers of this violence to address the myriad scientific research on the subject—research that couldn't make it clearer how solid and deadly the link is between this kind of graphic imagery and the escalating incidences of youth violence—and understand and change what they are doing and the dangerous effects their products are having on our children.
Using this book, parents, educators, social service workers, youth advocates, and anyone interested in the welfare of our children will have a solid foundation for effective action. We give you the facts—what's behind the statistics, how to interpret the copious, empirical research that exists on the subject, and the many ways to make a difference in your own home, at school, in your community, in the courts, and in the larger world—so that we all can work together to help end this problem and create a safer environment in which to live. If by doing this we can prevent future Paducahs, Jonesboros, and Littletons, it will be well worth it.

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
Gloria DeGaetano

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307429452
Publisher:
Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony
Publication date:
11/04/2009
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

IT'S A VIOLENT WORLD AFTER ALL

In a full-page ad in the June 13, 1999, Sunday New York Times, the National Funding Collaborative on Violence Prevention said this: "It should not have taken the Littleton tragedy to focus the nation's attention and energies on preventing violence. . . . It should have been enough that children and adults in our society are victims of violence every day. . . . What is it about violence that we refuse to understand?" Indeed, what does it take to get us as a nation to see that there is a problem? Unfortunately, the increasing number of Littleton-like horror shows is what it takes. Does this make sense? And the problem with our reaction to the Littleton massacre is that we isolate the event; we separate out the actions of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris from all the violence that is out there, and we in turn lose sight of what the National Funding Collaborative on Violence Prevention refers to as our "culture of violence."

Let's face it, we live in a violent world. We can see it in many aspects of our surroundings, and if we miss it we have a chance to see it played out again and again in the media. There have been countless books and studies on violence in our society and on how to prevent it and what it all means; there will, no doubt, be countless more. But this book is about how that violence, as it is dramatized on-screen in all its various forms, affects our children and conditions them to be more violent than they would naturally become without being exposed to it. Many have reduced this issue to a chicken-and-egg question: does violence on-screen make people violent, or is that violence merely mirroring what is actually taking place every day on our streets and around the world? We think the former, and we have the evidence to prove it. The point is that kids are not naturally violent; they are not born that way, despite what we may think. There are many factors in what makes anyone violent, but the overwhelming proof says that the entertainment industry, through violent programming and video games, is complicit in conditioning our youth to mirror the violence they see on-screen. Much like soldiers, children can and do become learned in this behavior, not by drill sergeants and trained military professionals, but by what they see around them. It seems logical to most of us but is still hotly contested by certain interest groups, and especially in the many levels of the entertainment industry.

But before we present the facts on the negative effects of screen violence on children--how and why it is making them violent--we need to first look at the overall trends of violence at home and abroad--our culture of violence. Essentially, around the world there has been an explosion of violent crime. Experts may disagree on what the statistics mean--many even suggest that all is getting better, not worse--but, in spite of vastly more effective lifesaving technology and techniques, as well as more sophisticated ways of battling crime, the rate at which citizens of the world are attempting to kill one another has increased at alarming rates over the years. According to InterPol, between 1977 and 1993 the per capita "serious assault" rate increased: nearly fivefold in Norway and Greece; approximately fourfold in Australia and New Zealand; it tripled in Sweden; and approximately doubled in Belgium, Denmark, England-Wales, France, Hungary, Netherlands, and Scotland. In Canada, per capita assaults increased almost fivefold between 1964 and 1993. And in Japan, in 1997, the juvenile violent crime rate increased 30 percent.

First and foremost, we must cut through the statistics, which are often easy to misread, and demonstrate just how violent we are and what kind of world our impressionable children are growing up in. Any discussion of the effects that screen violence has on our children must be seen through the lens of our society at large. Also, in order to tackle the seemingly insurmountable problem of violence in our world, we must first see what's actually going on. If we can't be convinced that the rate of violence is increasing, we are not, obviously, going to make a priority of tackling the issue. No problem means no need for a solution.

According to FBI reports, crime is down 7 percent. We are experiencing a slight downturn in murders and aggravated assaults, bringing us back to the crime rates of about 1990. But that is far from the full story. To gain a useful perspective on violent crime--among both youths and adults--the view must cover a long enough time period to clearly identify a trend. Up or down variations over a year or two are meaningless.

From the Hardcover edition.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
The goal of this book is to make people aware of what the prolific use of violence in television, movies, and video games is doing to our children. Teaching Our Kids to Kill calls to the table the makers of this violence to address the myriad scientific research on the subject—research that couldn't make it clearer how solid and deadly the link is between this kind of graphic imagery and the escalating incidences of youth violence—and understand and change what they are doing and the dangerous effects their products are having on our children.
Using this book, parents, educators, social service workers, youth advocates, and anyone interested in the welfare of our children will have a solid foundation for effective action. We give you the facts—what's behind the statistics, how to interpret the copious, empirical research that exists on the subject, and the many ways to make a difference in your own home, at school, in your community, in the courts, and in the larger world—so that we all can work together to help end this problem and create a safer environment in which to live. If by doing this we can prevent future Paducahs, Jonesboros, and Littletons, it will be well worth it.

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman Gloria DeGaetano

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Meet the Author

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman is the author of On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and in Society. As a West Point
psychology professor and professor of military science, Grossman trains medical and health professionals on how to deal with and prevent killing. He was the lead trainer for mental health professionals in the aftermath of the Jonesboro shootings, and has been a lead witness in several murder cases, including that of Timothy McVeigh and Michael Carneal.

Gloria DeGaetano is a nationally recognized educator in the field of media violence, and the author of the critically acclaimed Screen Smarts: A Family Guide to Media Literacy.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence 2.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Um so first of viloent game dont make us kill lag does and that crap only hapens when you drop your kid on there head the give them black ops o street fighter this is a bunch of @&#%# bull s***
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Trash compleat trash if you think video games make people go crazy you'er a f@#$%&* compleat idoit
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blag blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah sorry
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book completely ignores studies and statistics. Rather than blaming irresponsible parents or retailers, it blames the gaming and movie industries. This is like blaming Islam for fundumentalist and extremist Muslims. Rather than blaming those who are truly responsible for youth violence, this book blames creators of these games, movies and shows. They are rated by their content, and games rated M (most, if not all games mentioned in the book are) and movies rated R (again, mentioned in this book) should be sold only to those over the age of 17, and parents should monitor what their children do and do not play/watch. 'Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence' is extremely hypocritical, uses these industries as a scapegoat, teaches its readers not to take responsibility for their actions, and gives parents an excuse for their poor parenting and, in some cases, total failures to parent their children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is nothing but lies. The video game and TV industries can't be blamed for irresponsible parents. There are ratings for video games and TV shows. People can't say that the makers of violent movies, shows, and games should be punished. If parents monitered what their kids watched and played, then there wouldn't be a problem. Parents need to be responsible, and blame themselves. If a certain retailer sells Mature rated games to kids, then blame that retailer. Don't blame the industry on the whole. Kids can't play violent games if parents take time to watch what their children are playing, and enforce their rules.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is absolute treash. If the parents of the children had taken responsibility on what their children play and watch, then such incidents could be avoided. Video games have a rating system, and most of the violent games this book mentions have a 'mature' rating, and should not be sold to children seventeen or younger. If the stores fail to honor this rating system, blame them and the parents, not the makers. Video games are intended for entertainment purposes, not as 'murder trainers'. This book has the wrong audience targeted for the responsibility. Take it out on parents and stores, not the entertainment industry. If I could give this book no stars whatsoever, I would do so.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First, ask yourself this: 'What causes heart disease?' Well, many things cause heart disease: diet, obesity, stress and genetics just to name a few. Now, if you add tobacco to these other, existing factors, you will get an explosion of heart disease. So what causes violent crime? Many things cause violent crime: child abuse, availability of weapons, poverty, drugs and gangs to name just a few. Now, if you add TV, movie and video game violence to these other existing factors, you will get an explosion of violent crime. (According to the AMA, the APA, the Surgeon General, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the United Nations. Read this book and see!) Now, imagine that we all worked together to bring down heart disease. Our whole nation spent billions of dollars and we dieted, reduced cholesterol, exercised, and reduced stress, and by doing this we brought down heart disease a little bit. Then imagine if, after all this effort, when we brought heart disease down, the tobacco industry said: 'See, heart disease is going down, so how can you say that tobacco causes heart disease?' That would be pretty sick, and pretty sad, wouldn't it? But that is exactly what the media is doing. We have all worked together to bring down violent crime. Our whole nation spent billions of dollars and: -Incarcerated violent criminals at a per capita rate five times greater than before. -Put cops and metal detectors in schools throughout America. -Cut per capita drug use in half. -Began to confronted child abuse after centuries of denial. -Began to lock guns up to keep them away from kids. And then, when we brought violent crime down, the violence industry said: 'See, violent crime is coming down, so how can you claim that TV, movie and video game violence causes violent crime?' THAT is pretty sick, and pretty sad, isn't it? If you ask the tobacco industry about the link between tobacco and cancer and heart disease, what will they say? They will deny it. In the face of the AMA and the Surgeon General, for decades, they brought out their tame researchers, their stooge scientists on a leash, and tried to claim that you could not prove tobacco causes cancer. Now, if you ask the TV, movie and video game industry about the link between their violent products and violent crime, what will they say? They will deny it. In the face of AMA, the APA, and the Surgeon general, they will bring out their tame researchers, their stooge scientists on a leash, and try to claim that you cannot prove media violence causes violent crime. Pretty sad, huh? But do we really think that the entertainment executives are any different from the tobacco executives? It is all about money. Read this book and see for yourself. Pay particular attention to the 'Chronology of Major Finding about Media Violence' on page 132. It will make you angry at the 'researchers' who try to refute the AMA and the Surgeon General warnings on media violence.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the authors of this book (Lt. Col. Grossman, a retired Army Ranger and West Point Psychology professor) testified before the U.S. House and Senate, was cited by President Clinton in a national address after the Littleton school shootings, and has written numerous peer reviewed encyclopedia entries on this topic. The other author (Gloria DeGaetano) is one of the nation's leading educators in the area of media literacy and education. Together they have put together such a powerful book that the reader cannot come away without having sincere concerns about the impact of violent TV, movies and video games on kids. The full title of this book is 'Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence.' Although video games are the last and least of the topics addressed, the video game industry has decided that this book is all about them and has launched a full scale attack. One online 'review' of this book failed to mention the full title, the co-author and implies that it is all about video games. Kind of like saying that the musical 'South Pacific,' by Rodgers and Hammerstein, is a play entitled 'South,' by Rodgers, about people from old Dixie. When the many errors of this review were pointed out to the website, the review was immediately retracted, but copies of the review and others like it continue to float around on the net. You can tell that the attackers of this book have not read or seen the book, and are basing their 'reviews' solely on the industry's attack campaign, when their reviews attack Col. Grossman and are not even aware of his co-author. When you read the book you will see that Col. Grossman was a consultant in the criminal trial for the 14 year-old mass murder at the Paducah, Kentucky high school. He is also an expert witness in the $130 million dollar federal lawsuit against the video game industry, because video games appear to have trained and inspired the Paducah school killer to commit his mass murder. In this book the authors present all the inside information on this case, and if there are no grounds for what they say, then why does this lawsuit persist? Ted Turner is on record as stating, 'Television violence is the single most significant factor contributing to violence in America.' (California House of Representatives Resolution on Media Violence, May, 1999.) And when the President of CBS was asked if he thought the media had anything to do with the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, his answer was, 'Anyone who thinks the media has nothing to do with it is an idiot.' The TV industry admits their role in violent crime, but the video game industry consistently denies any and all impact of video games on kids. Col. Grossman is also the author of the book, 'On Killing,' which is a standard text used in West Point, and numerous other colleges, military academies, and police academies worldwide. 'On Killing' (nominated for a Pulitzer, translated into Japanese and Italian, and currently in its 9th and largest trade paper printing) is the standard text on this topic, and has established Col. Grossman as the preeminent scholar in this field. He has also written numerous peer reviewed encyclopedia entries and a peer reviewed entry in the Oxford Companion to American Military History on this subject. Based upon Col. Grossman's research, President Clinton stated in his national radio address after the Littleton shootings that: 'A former Lieutenant Colonel and psychologist, Professor David Grossman, has said that these games teach young people to kill with all the precision of a military training program, but none of the character training that goes along with it.' Maybe President Clinton, the AMA, the APA, the Surgeon General, the president of CBS and T
Guest More than 1 year ago
A complete was of time and money. It would have been time better spent actually playing Doom, or some other 'killing simulator.' The book reads like a narrow politicians' 'feel goo legislation.' It reinforces beliefs of those who agree, but does nothing to convince the rest of us. Once again, like Heavy Metal music, and good old rock and roll before it, it attempts to find a convenient scapegoat in the game industry, for a problem that goes beyond a simple game, and avoids the root of problems, parenting and the state of society. But I guess it's easy to blame games. Can't miss the bandwagon
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is wrong it's not the video games that should be blamed. It's the way the people take in the game. The people who wrote this book suck and they hate anything that is fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
.lies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who the hell wants to read a 12hr long essay about crap thats untrue? Answer nobody i hve a shotgun i also have modorn warfare 3 completely different experiences dont blame the games or the industry cuase theyve done nothing. If you go firing a smg into the middle of a battlefield yo ass gonna get shot!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Look at 3,4 and5
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The reviewers here jump from 1 star to 5. With that spread I suggest you read the book. I did notice that one negative reviewer commented that the assertions in this book were not backed up by hard data. Anyone familiar with the subject knows better. You may not like what he has to say, but I assure you this extremely well-respected author knows what he's talking about, and presents his conclusions well. You will enjoy the book. You won't enjoy the knowledge you will gain. It may make you look at your entire culture in a new and strange light.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a complete waste of paper ! The whole premise is logically incorrect. It basically gives lousy parents a scape-goat when their children go insane. This book is also very poorly written, as if a 15 year old had written it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
LTC Dave Grossman is an honorable man who I have met firsthand. He stands for duty, honor, and country. He is not just a mouthpiece for the hardline right but a psychology professor at University of Arkansas, formerly of West Point. Take a close look at America- what is going on? We have spiraled down as a society at a tremendous rate that should alarm the most liberal skeptic. I have four boys that I raise and you had better believe that they pay attention to violence. We ask ourselves where does it come from? Turn off the primetime TV for one week and you will see. Continue the fight sir! LT Vest 4/278 ACR
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading this book I would make it required reading for every parent with small children. Working with many children and being in the law enforcement community I see the results of media violence firsthand. Dave Grossman is right on and backs up his statements with hard cold facts. A must read book.