by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Gloria Degaetano
Paperback: 181 pages
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Date Published: 1999
Point: Media violence is contributing to a growing disconnect between violence and its consequences.
Path: Grossman, an expert on military training and former Army Ranger, and Degaetano, an educator, explain statistics, backgrounds, and studies concerning the effect of media violence on children. The demonstrate that media violence contributes to increasing aggression, desensitization, and increased fear. The last third of the book is dedicated to resources and action plans for concerned people.
Sources: Much of what these two present is based on statistics following major slayings in Jonesboro, Paducah, Pearl, Stamps, Conyers, and Littleton. Through a phycological grid they evaluate and explain why they believe these acts were possible.
Agreement: The information is frightening and distressing. The reality is that we are being dessensitized to the reality of violence through what we willing allow in our homes.
Disagreement: One of their foundational beliefs is that children are basically good, and the environment makes them bad (10). I would not employ many of their parenting techniques. They encourage parents to help their children “feel powerful” without falling to a pseudo-power offered through the media. Children don’t “need” to feel powerful.
Personal App: This was a frightening, but valuable look at some of the evidence around media violence. It has only gotten much worse in the past 12 years since the book was published. I must be careful about what I allow into my mind. Whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable. If there is any excellence, anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Stars: 3.5 out of 5
I would look for a newer volume, and one without as many psychological underpinnings.