Dear Readers: Last week, “Curious Reader” asked if mass shootings are the price of society’s insatiable appetite for media violence. A furious defense ensued from the male panelists (see our column JAN 8), who pointed to mentally disturbed individuals as the cause of mass shootings, not their games, movies and music, which they held sacrosanct. I agreed with the first part — and promised to talk this week about the inconvenient truth that massive childhood doses of virtual violence aren’t innocent either — and that they are causing previously unforeseen neuro-cognitive maladaptions and breakdown. —Lauren
But first, some panelists less captivated by virtual violence:
Editor's Note: Nothing gets readers more upset as when I disparage video games — or in today’s case, media violence in general. This is duly noted as a further sign of addiction, which, I’m sure calmed everyone down.
I’m a farmer by nature. I’m always struck by how if we really wanted to raise champions, we would never feed them what we feed them, let them be so sleep deprived, so lacking in fresh air and movement, nor would we (arguably the weirdest thing of all), let them hypnotize themselves in front of artificially glowing screens — where they absorb/engage in violence? Honestly, it’s insane.
Am I the village idiot, or did I just miss the Kool-Aid?
To be healthy, kids need to move, play, contribute, be outside, have real connections and eye contact with peers and nurturing leaders in a stress-free structure within which they can learn, stretch and grow.
Positive emotional experiences keep humans shifted into the creative, prefrontal lobes of the brain. Stressful experiences keep them controlled by the reptilian brain with its reflexes of anxiety, anger and hostility. The realm of the brain children spend the most time in has a profound effect on their intelligence and emotional stability — not to mention what they pass on to their own children.
The media industry spends fortunes debunking what I’ve shared today, but the science is real. And anybody paying attention can see that, already, learning challenges, mental illness and disorders are off the charts — especially among the young. Just wait for the next generation or two. It’s going to be a catastrophe if we don’t turn this thing around.
I’ll say it again, every parent controls the on-off switch in their home. No matter when you start, the results will be more positive than if you didn’t.
Final word: I know many incredible young men who play video games — since most of them do — and I know their well-meaning parents. I also know a few girls who like video games and violent movies. One wrote last week upset that I was leaving her out. To all of you, I love you. That’s why I do this work. —Lauren
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