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Video Games Linked To Child Aggression 500

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the zomg-this-makes-hulk-smash dept.
the4thdimension writes "CNN is running a story this morning that explains new research showing a correlation between video games and aggression in children. The study monitored groups of US and Japanese children, asking them to rate their violent behavior over a period of several months while they played video games in their free time. The study concludes that it has 'pretty good evidence' that there is a link between video games and childhood aggression." Stories like this make me want to smash things.
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Video Games Linked To Child Aggression

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  • by dotancohen (1015143) on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:32AM (#25612609) Homepage

    ...so that I don't have to be violet physically. Nothing like Pantera after a long day. However, Pantera is _passive_ aggression. Video games are _active_ aggression, and that's why I stopped playing them at about age 12 or so. If a 12 year old could identify that video games were making him (me) aggressive, what is the story here?

  • by Deflagro (187160) on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:33AM (#25612637)

    I don't get why they keep beating this horse...

    I played violent games all my life, I haven't killed or hurt anyone.
    I will agree that sure if that's all kids see and they don't get any parental direction, then sure.

    Kids do copy what they see, but a 6 year old kid shouldn't be playing GTA 3. Then again it depends on the kid.

    It's just not something you can put to statistics.

  • by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:37AM (#25612691)
    As a parent of a five year-old and a nearly ten year-old, I find that a lack of activity and too-quick transitions tend to lead to aggression. When my son has been playing video games for longer than normal and we immediately yank him off, it causes frustration and acting out. If he's been active that day and we give him warnings that his time is coming to an end, things seem to go more smoothly.

    Good parenting is more than a series of yes/no decisions.
  • by DragonTHC (208439) <Dragon@NoSPAM.gamerslastwill.com> on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:40AM (#25612787) Homepage Journal

    First, correlation is not causation.

    Second, aggression is not violence.

    Third, this applies to all violent media exposure, not just video games.

    Fourth, we have known about these links for more than a decade.

  • by pubjames (468013) on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:42AM (#25612825)

    Having a couple of young boys myself, I have observed that, for instance, watching a fast moving exciting film can make them over-excited quite easily. It's not really aggression, it's just that kids have much greater and more readily available energy than adults. Unfortunately these days adults often mistake this for a defect in their child.

    The correct response is of course to fight back! There is nothing little boys like better than pretend fighting, and they tire very quickly.

  • by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:43AM (#25612837)

    But that does not mean there is not a problem here.

    My mom has taught 1st graders for ~20 years. Back when Power Rangers used to be the shit, she would talk about how these kids would get all riled up playing Power Rangers during recess. When they got back into class, they were still all keyed up from their "fighting" between each other and would always get in trouble.

    Does this mean Power Rangers causes violence in children? Of course not. But it does remind us that children can be excitable and impressionable, get caught up in the games they play, and sometimes don't realize when it's time to stop, or take the game too far. What they are doing before they exhibit this behavior is really immaterial: they might do this with a video game, a movie they see, a cartoon, or a couple of sticks they find in the gutter and play "sword fighting" with.

    You have to set limits for children. Limit their diet of video games, TV, and other media, and let them know when their behavior related to this media consumption becomes unacceptable. Parenting 101.

  • by blueg3 (192743) on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:44AM (#25612865)

    Statistics are much more enlightening than anecdotal evidence.

    Of course, they don't seem to link to the study, so I can't comment on its quality. I do notice, though, the article attempts to address most of the I-didn't-read-the-article Slashdot responses:
    * brings up the problem of causation
    * attempts to properly show causation, not just correlation
    * conclusion is advice for parents

  • by mauddib~ (126018) on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:45AM (#25612881) Homepage

    Hmmm, so your 'statistical' analysis with N equals 1 'proves' that it cannot be put to a statistical test since your own 'research' has already shown otherwise? Common, get a grip.

  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:47AM (#25612943) Journal

    I don't get why they keep beating this horse...

    I played violent games all my life, I haven't killed or hurt anyone.

    I love this superficial analysis. It is like family members who tell me that they have never work seat belts but have never gotten hurt in a wreck. (Ya always need a car analogy to make a point)

    I don't know what the reality is about video games and violence. Is there no causation at all? Are there at-risk kids who should not be playing? Are there age limits and maturity limits? Do violent games combine with other influences to increase violent behavior? Should violent games be avoided altogether?

    The fact is I don't know. I have my suspicions that it lies somewhere between my first and second question, but that is only my gut.

    And this is why we fund studies. I believe strongly in science to help us progress as a society. I also believe that you must base your beliefs on facts, not your prejudices. Fifteen years ago I would have told you that porn causes objectification of women and leads to violence against them. A number of studies have indicated otherwise, and I have abandoned this viewpoint.

    I am open on the violent video game issue as well. Let the studies continue, wait for the evidence to point one way or another. But if you are already closed to answers different that your preconceptions, then you opinions are worthless.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:49AM (#25612963)

    Um. You do realize when the findings are based on on statistical correlations right? That means there are often people even a majority of people who do fit into the rule. However it shows that that action is somehow linked to the reaction. It may not be direct say banning video games will fix the problem, may be the wrong approach it may be the kids may play theses games more when they have more violent tenancies. However there is a link, And saying Hey I play violent video games and I didn't kill people yet isn't a good response.

  • by Toll_Free (1295136) on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:49AM (#25612977)

    I have three kids. Boys.

    Yes, violent cartoons and video games cause aggression.

    Let your kids watch He Man, Popeye, Halo, etc. Games or videos. Children mimic what they see. Bottom line.

    It's like, DUH. If a child grows up watching his Daddy beat his Mommy because she talks to much, said child will grow up to beat his wife for talking too much, as well.

    Little common sense here. Children are a product of their environment. Give them a loving environment, and they grow up loving (in general, and the facts are there to back this up, and any parent worth a shit can attest to this)... Let them grow up with parents that hate, don't give a shit, or whatever, and that's the way the kids will grow up.

    I let my 3 and 4 yr old watch Kung Foo Panda a couple months ago. THAT was a great movie. And my kids, for about a week, thought Kung Foo on each other was A-OK.

    --Toll_Free

  • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:49AM (#25612979) Homepage Journal
    This article smells funny like every other similar article. There are depictions of violence other than video games that children are exposed to:

    First is imitation; children who watch violence in the media can internalize the message that the world is a hostile place, he explains, and that acting aggressively is an OK way to deal with it.

    That's because the world is a hostile place.

    When I was about 10 years old the first gulf war was going on and even though I was a NES addict, the war(especially the fact that we were the "good guys") inspired my violent thoughts. I remember drawing pictures of shit blowing up under titles like "Kill Saddam Hussein" etc.

    I'm fortunate in that I could have grown up with seeing 9/11 and living in fear of imaginary terrorist bogeymen without having the experience and the maturity to see through it. The fear tactics of public service commercials during the Reagan era were bad enough.

    Games for me were a method to blow off steam, not store it until my head 'sploded!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:58AM (#25613141)

    I'm sure beating in this context refers to a form of punishment that has been successful for 500 years but has just recently in the last 20 years been frowned upon which is "whipping" children when they misbehave.

    Yes, whipping a child will adjust their behavior just like whipping a puppy will adjust its behavior. Children will continue to test their boundaries until they find them.

    How do you plan to adjust behaviour? A hug? A "Awwww.. It's OK.. He's just a kid"? The post is correct, common sense prevails.

  • by TheSovereign (1317091) on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:58AM (#25613143)
    In all seriousness the Wussification of the American male has to be discussed, in my youth we would go at it like a mongoose and cobra at the drop of a hat, whenever we felt threatened. The winner walked away proud and the loser walked away bloodied and humiliated but a little wiser for the wear. Now the world of filled with "emo" cry babies who demand attention by shooting up their schools and whatnot. obviously the aggression hole in these kids lives is not being filled. To quote someone famous "testosterone causes homicide." if that is true then we have to work the aggression out of these people before they grow up and become repressed fiends hell bent on vengeful murder. Let them play the damn games. Let them get into fights. Let them fall off their bike. when its all said and done. tell them to walk it off and accept life. I swear to you. if people thought about this before the hijackers took those planes, 9/11 would have never occurred. because i know that if the people on that airplane hadn't been wussified no idiot with a box cutter would have stopped a mob of angry passengers. -TheSov
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:03PM (#25613259) Homepage Journal

    Think about hit, pop little Susie on the butt for mouthing off to you at home and she tells her teacher. Well the law requires the teacher to report any hints of abuse and next thing you know child services is at your door.

    take my friend's day care experience, no more time out, no more quiet area, and no more telling kids they are "bad", anymore as that hurts their self-esteem. So what happens? They call the parents EVERY TIME the kid acts up. Now it is suddenly the parent's problem if the kid acts up as the care center will no longer discipline. So when the kid won't behave the parents are told to not bring them back etc yet the center doesn't put any bounds on the kids and wonder why.

    The problem is that we are a knee jerk reaction society. People cannot yell, spank, or otherwise discipline their children in public places because some do gooder will freak out and claim its abuse. They lose the ability at home because what many may perceive as mild punishment is child abuse to some fanatic with the backing of government. The news is replete with stories of the government agency overreacts, fails to protect children it places, and more, yet parents don't stand a chance against a group who can use police powers to take your children let alone put you in jail.

    When people started relying on others to discipline kids and took the rights of their parents and even schools to set bounds it removed any inhibition. There is a natural reaction to being punishment when it comes to children, they learn where the threshold and correct the behavior to stay on the nice side.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:07PM (#25613331)
    The antidote to stupidity is not a different kind of stupidity.
  • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:11PM (#25613403) Homepage Journal
    I wouldn't call it wussification, and it applies to both males and females; each gender manifests their symptoms in their own ways.

    It may be attributed to the wussifications of parents in general. My pappy once whooped my ass I put my hamster in a bowl of water and when I shot my sister in the ass with my slingshot.

    Up to a certain age, spanking(used sparingly as appropriate) shows the misbehaver that savage behavior will be responded to with savage behavior.

    Later on in life hitting becomes excessive and redundant so other measures(i.e. grounding or taking the car away) should be implemented.

    It seems that, recently, parents will do whatever they can to shift the blame away from them and their children, and that's why being an educator for 12th grade and below sucks - teachers are expected to be babysitters as well as educators(my dad has been teaching high school for over 20 years), and they're expected to do it with one arm tied behind their back due to spineless administration living in fear of frivolous lawsuits from "Power Parents" who breed latchkey kids who do whatever they want without supervision because the old folks are too busy with their careers and trying to relive their own youth.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:14PM (#25613433) Homepage

    You are marked funny but I actually agree. Too many kids do not receive punishment that fit's the crime.

    Lots of the little bastard kids out there need their ass lit up with a hand or belt far more often than it is happening.

    Also your neighborhood families should be able to scold and drag them home by their ear or arm to you so you can whup his little ass as well.

    today, talk to a kid and get sued. Or worse the little bastards will come by and smash your windows.

  • absolutely (Score:4, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:14PM (#25613439) Homepage Journal

    because before video games existed, mankind was pastoral and peaceful. in fact, if you go back to the days of the romans, when violent media meant crude stick figure drawings on a wall, everyone was loving and logical and reasonable and bountiful with good intent and no desire to to be aggressive

    (rolls eyes)

    humanity is in its essence violent and sexual. don't believe me? go look at a bunch of 3 year olds for 5 minutes. you tell me that they are acting the way they do because of media with a straight face. humans are not some pure vessels who are corrupted by outside forces. humans are born corrupt (where corrupt=possessing violent and sexual tendencies that are not socially appropiate). violent and sexual media, for psychologically well-adjusted people, is simply a way to jettison bad tendencies we all possess in asocial and harmless and therefore appropriate ways. where do these tendencies get jettisoned if that "bad" media did not exist?

    if someone acts violent, it is because of that person's own failures, or their parents, not some media somewhere. if you, dear social conservatives, want to refute this notion, then kindly relinquish any intellectual honesty you might think you have when talking about the concept of personal responsibility. because the position of blame the individual, not the media, is the essence of personal responsibility: if i do something bad, i am accountable for it, no one else. meanwhile, attempts to blame outside influences, "bad" media, is simply a lame attempt to avoid responsibility

    so dear social conservatives:
    1. blame the media,
    2. or continue talking about personal responsibility with a straight face
    but you can't do both at the same time

    in fact, the truth is, modern civilization's advances in media: movies, video games, etc., has served as a way to harmlessly express violent and sexual nature inherent in us, not amplify or create that which wasn't already there. that which is released harmlessly on a computer keyboard is that which is not expressed in a real world situation. the modern world we live in, while still containing violent and inappropriate sexual behavior (and always will, as long as you are talking about human beings) is far more peaceful than the days of the romans, or the middle ages, or even 100 years ago. you can't get rid of our tendencies, but you can minimize them, by providing avenues for harmless catharsis, with violent and sexual media

    all studies to the contrary are pure propaganda or are fundamentally flawed

    want a more peaceful world with less rape? more porn, more violent media. i absolutely believe that

    there is no such thing as a psychologically balanced individual who can't tell the difference between violent/hypersexual media and the real world. actually, there ARE in fact individuals who can't tell the difference. such individuals are alrerady organically psychologically damaged or raised horribly wrong by awful parents. and if they had never encountered any violent or sexual media, they would still commit trangressions. they just wouldn't have anything to blame and they wouldn't have a ready audience in social conservatives who don't want to accept violent and sexual essential human nature out of some cotton candy idealism, and who willingly embrace the ridiculous attempt by criminals to avoid responsibility and blame the devil, the media

    bullshit

  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:16PM (#25613475) Homepage
    Their conclusions are always "violent video game playing and real-life violence look linked"

    Not true at all, there have been several studies posted as slashdot stories saying the opposite, at which point everyone here suddenly proclaims that these studies actually do have some worth, because it supports their viewpoint.
  • by poetmatt (793785) on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:17PM (#25613515) Journal

    It's not really pent up energy, it's just focus. Someone gets highly focused and sucked into something enjoyable, and you're trying to take it away. Think anyone's response would be positive?

    This is like trying to grab a needle from someone as they're trying to use it + addicted. Or in my case, when I am practicing my cello and really enjoying it. If someone came in and told me to just "stop", whether or not with a precursor warning, my response to them is not going to be positive, whether external or internal, my response is going to be something negative. Or as another example, if you're having sex, and you or your partner is about to orgasm, and you just stop.

    It's not a video game thing at all. It's not an age thing at all. If you try to stop people from doing what they enjoy, and some will be motivated to smash your face. Just because you don't enjoy/comprehend whatever they enjoy, isn't an excuse to halt their activity. This is an ignorance of society and is not something limited to parents, although it does show bad parenting which is being passed on to the kids continuing the cycle of bad parenting. Also please note that I am not implying or saying that you have done this or are attributing you to this. Setting a timeframe or giving a kid other things to do is a very good and reasonable response.

  • by Moryath (553296) on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:25PM (#25613721)

    No kidding.

    Parents don't discipline their kids (OMG, you sent them to bed without supper? CHILD ABUSE THEY'RE DENYING NUTRITION!). Schools can't discipline kids, because "OMG YOU MADE MY LITTLE BOY FEEL BAD ABOUT HIMSELF AND STUNTED HIS SELF ESTEEM!"

    I've seen it countless times - we even approved having our class (unknown to the kids) having a hidden video camera so that if some kid acted up and the teacher had to discipline them, the kid whining "wahh teacher was mean and hit me" could be checked on. Five kids - the BRATTIEST, WORST ones - tried exactly that. FIVE KIDS - and every one of them was a fucking liar, proven on tape, yet somehow four sets of parents saw the tape and STILL insisted that somehow their kid was telling the truth and the tape was "doctored."

    That's where we stand. Parents are so worried about their kid getting written up (OMG that could keep my kid out of college!) that rather than discipline their brat and teach them how to behave, they will support trying to get the good teachers (that is the ones who actually try to use what few discipline tools they have left) fired anyways.

    Now as far as the study goes, here's the usual debunking boilerplate necessary:
    #1 - Bad methodology (the researchers are finding what they want to find when they analyze "violence"; hitting/shooting each other with nerf weaponry is not violence, neither is playing cowboys and indians. Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd do not encourage violence.)
    #2 - Crap sample size
    #3 - The usual reporting errors ("self-reporting" and "reporting from other students" where they have incentive to overinflate reports and can easily be coaxed into doing so by someone they view as an "authority").

    #4 - Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc [skepdic.com] fallacy. These idiot "researchers" can't imagine for a moment that the "most violent" kids will pick media suiting their temperament. Most rambunctious little boys don't want to play Barbie's Horsey Adventure or Barbie Picks Out Clothes And Does Her Hair, for example, but those sell pretty fucking well to little girls. The games don't "cause violence", they're simply as much of an expression of the kids' temperament (same thing for kids who pick non-contact sports like Tennis rather than medium-contact sports like Baseball or heavy-contact sports like Football).

    #5 - "Massaging" the data to fit their sponsors' designs. And who sponsored this one? National Institute on Media and the Family - a known group who have the goal of killing off entertainment media in a variety of forms. When in doubt, follow the money.

    Every time one of these studies comes up, the same crap is wrong with them. THAT is why the laws based on this crap "science" are thrown out in court, because even the local half-witted judges can see how nonscientific these "studies" are.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Monday November 03, 2008 @12:26PM (#25613747) Journal

    * attempts to properly show causation, not just correlation

    This study does no such thing. From TFA, it appears that they just kept track of kids video gaming habits. Those who spent more time with "violent" video games by choice exhibited more violent behavior. It's entirely likely that those kids who tend to be aggressive will choose to play more violent video games.

    Even in the best of circumstances, this study can't answer the important question. That is, do violent video games increase crime? Any parent, or even former child can attest that entertainment can temporarily increase aggressive behavior. I know I roughhoused around more than once after watching TMNT as a kid, and I know plenty of kids who've done the same after power rangers. That's normal, natural, and appropriate behavior for a kid. Getting punished when you take it too far is also normal, natural and appropriate. This is how kids become adults and learn how to manage their aggressive tendencies.

    My point is that there's a difference between little Jimmy play acting after watching a show or playing a game, and little Jimmy growing up to be a criminal. Plenty of studies have demonstrated the first, none that I'm aware of have demonstrated the latter.

  • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Monday November 03, 2008 @01:02PM (#25614425)
    That's why you teach your children that they aren't to allow police officers or anyone else into the house unless you're there and say that they can come in. If you keep them on the porch. Child Services can do less than they can if you cooperate. My family saw this all the time with the abusive couple across the street: they wouldn't let them in the house, the cops couldn't do anything. Yet whenever the local religious leader made someone angry, they'd call child services and cooperation would end up disrupting his family for hours while the cops found nothing to be worried about. This happened multiple times with both families. Cooperating also got my cousin's baby taken away when she cooperated with DCFS; if she'd refused to let them into the house, they wouldn't have been able to take her baby away for 9 months before ultimately deciding that there was nothing wrong with the situation.

    It says a lot about our society when cooperating with the authorities is never, ever in your best interest. Cue the "adversarial justice system" person who's going to claim that it's in the best interests of everyone for the cops and prosecutors to go after everyone like they're the worst serial killer in the world.
  • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Monday November 03, 2008 @01:04PM (#25614451) Homepage Journal

    Don't you know that using violent discipline teaches your kids violence is ok?

    No, as I said above, physical discipline when used sparingly as appropriate sends the message that sociopathic acts will be not be tolerated and will be responded to in kind. I was spanked when I soaked my hamster(cruelty to animals) and when I shot my sister in the butt with my slingshot(assulting my kin with a projectile weapon).

    Now, if my parents smacked me everytime I brought them a warm beer or when I had my hand in the cookie jar before dinner, then okay, that's unacceptable and would teach me that I can beat on people to get what I want. My parents' physical punishment was reactive, not proactive. If I messed with somebody, I'd be punished. If I didn't do harm to living creatures, then I'd be verbally scolded at most. The key is knowing how to spank effectively in moderation and there are so many variables involved in rearing a kid that it can be tough. But it can be done right.

  • by sesshomaru (173381) on Monday November 03, 2008 @01:04PM (#25614457) Journal

    Kurt Vonnegut was wrong in his A Clockwork Orange that an overdose of violence makes non-aggressive.

    In the words of Hank Venture, "I defy you to make less sense."

    Let's parse this, Kurt Vonnegut isn't Anthony Burgess [wikipedia.org], the person who actually wrote A Clockwork Orange.

    The plot of A Clockwork Orange has nothing to do with the idea that you've expressed here, "an overdose of violence makes non-aggressive." That's just completely wrong. I have to believe that you are completely ignorant of the subject matter here.

    As to the rest of the post, my reaction is "Huh?"

  • by Aladrin (926209) on Monday November 03, 2008 @01:17PM (#25614697)

    I've always said, "The best thing that ever happened to me was my father's belt." I was a bored little smartass punk in elementary school. This let to misbehavior all the time, with teacher-given paddlings. Eventually my father got wind of it and used the belt. I got -one- paddling after that in 8th grade over something that was being done by half the class at the time.

    I've now got a healthy respect for authority. Not blind obedience, mind... Just respect.

    Like all things, if done to excess, punishment is bad for you. But handled properly, it will be the correction that's needed when "Oh honey, you shouldn't do that" fails.

    I was very sad the day that schools stopped paddling. I knew it was a bad move. I see that it was just the first of many.

  • by PinkPanther (42194) on Monday November 03, 2008 @01:20PM (#25614731)
    Thing is, this has NOTHING to do with "spanking". The problem is that parents aren't willing to discipline. A good public embarrassment or denial/revoking of privileges is as effective as a spanking IF your children have respect for you.

    A good portion of the problem is that parents don't get the respect and are doing nothing (or the wrong thing) towards getting it. Ignoring your kids behaviors and disrespectful acts does not resolve anything and often encourages more of the same.

    Parents need to ask themselves *why* the children are misbehaving. A smack on the ass can be worse than simply ignoring the problem. Discipline isn't just about ending the immediate misbehavior...

    It takes mature adult to raise well adjusted, respectful and respected individuals. Spanking might be part of the discipline used towards that end, but I truly question its effectiveness when put in combination with the FOLLOW-UP necessary for proper discipline.

    It isn't the heat-of-the-moment, eliminate-the-danger discipline tactic that solves the overall behavior problem.

  • by Aereus (1042228) on Monday November 03, 2008 @01:26PM (#25614851)

    If spanking is such a violent discipline that breeds violence -- then why is it only in the last 10-20 years that school violence has reached unprecedented levels? Lack of discipline from both parents and what is allowed for teachers I see as a major reason why.

    Why didn't students bring guns to school and shoot them up 50+ years ago then?

  • by internerdj (1319281) on Monday November 03, 2008 @01:32PM (#25614957)
    Sorry I lost my sarcasm tags. I do actually worry our anti-agression/violence campaign will undermine our ability to deal with horrific situations on an individual level. Think about how a small child deals with a scraped knee. What happens if you grow up never desensitized to that emotional reaction? What happens when you are in an awful car accident and need to free your family? What do you do if you want to be a medical worker?
  • by decoy256 (1335427) on Monday November 03, 2008 @01:35PM (#25614991)
    As a parent of three children, I can say that I notice a marked difference in my children's behavior when they spend their free time playing video games. Video games detach you from the rest of the world and for little kids, that is not healthy. On those days that we let our 7 year old play video games, he responds more angrily to requests from both of his parents. On days where we make him (heaven forbid) PLAY, he is obedient and happy.

    That being said, I'm a gamer, I think games are great, and I want to be able to enjoy playing games with my kids when they are older. But there is an appropriate way to do it and each parent needs to be observant about their kids behavior. If your kid has behavioral problems, try taking away video games and see if that's the cause. If your kid plays hours and hours of video games and is still the sweetest kid in town, then why change a good thing. It's all about parents being... PARENTS.

  • by Firethorn (177587) on Monday November 03, 2008 @01:41PM (#25615099) Homepage Journal

    The problem is, however, that while it is relatively easy to decide objectively whether a parent has smacked their child, it was incredibly difficult to convict even somebody who regularly beat up the kids, if they can say "I have a right to discipline my children".

    Maybe in history, where they didn't just spank children, they even used belts and paddles to do it. Today, it should be simple enough: Is the child injured? A quite firm spanking can leave nothing more than a bit of redness, that will disappear within minutes/hours.

    On the other hand, bruises, burns, wrenched limbs, concussions, etc... All are much easier to diagnose, and we're smart enough today to be able to tell the difference between an 'active but clumsy child'(me), and an abused one.

    Going by dogs/cats raising their kids, it's quite possible to swat a child without harming them. Heck, I remember watching a full grown tiger with her cubs - one finally went over the line chewing on mama, got swatted such that it went head over tail several body lengths along. You could tell that said hit was nothing on what the mother could have done. Said cub sat up, shook it's head for a moment, then went to play with it's sibling.

    [quote]I suppose the idea was that it would be easier to get to a fair verdict if the starting point is that any corporeal punishment is illegal. Ideally, if a parent has smacked their child because, say, they had a tantrum in a dangerous situation, the judge should say "Well, this is illegal, but in the circumstances, permissible". I don't know if it works that way.[/quote]

    Used to work that way, unfortuantly, you get some crazy things today. For example, just getting hauled in front of a judge is a great expense - legal fees for the lawyer, time out of work, etc...

    For something rare like legal self defense of a lethal/serious injury nature, it works. For something fairly common like discliplining a child, it shouldn't get that far.

  • by kikito (971480) on Monday November 03, 2008 @01:46PM (#25615223) Homepage
    1. Discipline != Beating up
    2. It happened too. It is just that it didnt get the same media coverage it gets these days. Or do you think men did not kill their wives back then?
  • Atari Generation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arclyte (961404) on Monday November 03, 2008 @01:54PM (#25615353)
    I grew up playing the Atari 2400. Lots of the games we played contained violence and I have to say that I have been personally scarred by that. To this day, my anger flares and I have to try very hard not to go into a berserker rage whenever a brightly colored blob shoots a colored square at me. Luckily, I haven't had too many run-ins with such blobs, but as I get older and my eyesight worsens (from hours spent in front of a TV playing these games) I'm afraid that the world is getting 'blobbier' by the year and this may cause me to eventually lash out at anything within reach. This is an issue that is little addressed, but should be as the generation growing up on Atari games grows older for the sake of all the pixelated blobs out there.
  • by somejeff (825047) on Monday November 03, 2008 @02:19PM (#25615769) Journal
    Why does the word "Parents" only show up once in TFA? "Her advice to parents? Move the computer..."
  • by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc&carpanet,net> on Monday November 03, 2008 @03:24PM (#25616823) Homepage

    I had a martial arts instructor once who said it best "We don't hit people in our everyday life because it gets us into trouble. Most people aren't as open minded about it as we are here."

    As I grow older I find my views refining, and its taken me a while to see this but, I blame the human minds own inability to properly assess complex risks at the heart of much of this "wussification" as you see it.

    The creation of television has taken these little embers of a problem, and poured gasoline all over everything!

    Its like Bruce Schneier pointed out: If its in the news, its probably not an issue. Car accidents are too common to make the news except for big ones that are local. Heart attacks? You never hear about them on the news. Its just too common.

    Murder? Rape? Hey, if it bleeds it leads! Child kidnapping. How many kids were kidnapped last year by strangers? I can tell you its not many, how do I know? Because its on the news. Though look at parents...ask them to rate how big of a risk that is.

    SO year after year, we have a feedback loop thats throwing our perceptions of danger further and further out of whack, and we create laws. Some girl gets raped in some horrrible way... we pass a law. A few years down the road, something else happens, we pass another law....

    next thing you know, we have signs by the highway, alerts going out in txt messages.... im not saying finding kidnapped kids is bad, or that its a horrible waste of money.... but.... in the grand scheme of problems in our society.... it was never that big of a rational concern.

    Is it stupidity? I don't think so. Its far worst. Its simply a matter of skewed perception. Its a matter of people failing to do something that people really are not very good at, and doing it on a massive scale.

    I would be willing to bet, dollars to donuts, that if you took all of the money spent on amber alerts, and used it to fund better in school education on nutrition and healthy eating.... it would have a far greater impact on far more childrens lives.

    However, fat doesn't bleed, so it doesn't lead.

    -Steve

  • by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc&carpanet,net> on Monday November 03, 2008 @03:42PM (#25617045) Homepage

    BTW to answer my own rhetoric.... the numbers:
    http://www.poynter.org/content/content_view.asp?id=61001 [poynter.org]

    The link quotes another article:

    In its front-page coverage of the Carlie Brucia murder, the St. Petersburg Times included this sidebar inside the paper, under the headline "A rare crime":

            According to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 58,200 children in the United States were abducted by nonrelatives in 1999, the most recent data available. In the vast majority of cases, the children were released unharmed. Only 115 abductions were classified as the most dangerous kind, where the child was kept overnight, held for ransom, or killed. In those instances, 69 children were returned safely, and 46 were killed.

    All this in a country of 300 million people.

    Absolutely horrible, despicable crimes. The people who commit them deserve harsh punishment. However, with those numbers, compared to the population. Do these extremely rare crimes really warrent the media attention, and legal attention? Does it warrent a system like "amber alerts"?

    Frankly, with those numbers, the idea of kidnapping and raping childen should be one of those things that you bring up and people say things like "Yah, I heard about that happening once". Instead, its something everybody knows about and thinks about.

    THAT is the skewed perception that I am talking about.

    -Steve

  • by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc&carpanet,net> on Monday November 03, 2008 @04:23PM (#25617539) Homepage

    I was told similar things once.... by an off duty cop.

    When I took "Driver's Ed" the instructor was a police officer. He was a very good instructor. When it came to drunk driving he made an interesting aside. He told us "I would never submit to a voluntary breathalyser, I would take the 90 day loss of license instead, whether I was drunk or not"

    His reasoning was very simple. The police officer who pulls you over is NOT there to help you. He is there for one job and one job only: to gather evidence against you. Why would you EVER help him gather evidence against you? (remember, we are talking about the specific case of you, as a driver, being pulled over)

    Seriously, even if your innocent... in this situation YOU are under investigation and he is there to gather evidence against you, as you are the subject of his current investigation. You are under no obligation to help him, so why do it?

    Give him the opportunity, and he will be rummaging through your trunk, and anything he finds is fair game once you said ok. So why take the chance? If just say no ever meant anything to anyone.... just say no to cooperation.

    Like you point out, if you say no, there are very strict limits on their powers. If you say yes, they can disrupt your life for hours on end.

    -Steve

  • by fel0niousmonk (1386257) on Monday November 03, 2008 @04:43PM (#25617777)
    There is a very fine line between reasonable physical punishment, and doing too much.

    To the point made that children respect parents that spank ... I was also spanked as a child, and there was nothing that helped my father earn more disrespect from me and my siblings than his spankings.

    I think one thing parents often underestimate is the magnitude of the effect that certain actions have on a child. It's kinda like spicy foods. I can easily tolerate and enjoy a sprinkle of Cayenne pepper on a dish, whereas even a tiny bit would be unbearable to the pristine palette of a child. Similarly, children have to build context for actions from scratch. When you start out teaching your child how to react to something negative by enforcing physical pain onto them, how is that child's view of appropriate punishment going to be centered? How does teaching a child that a negative physical response as a consequence of something bad he/she has done effect their longterm ability to cope with similar situations in the future?

    I think when you start beating your child as an easier punishment than careful behavioral/psychological guidance & logical/rational thought, you start fostering a mindset where the child see's the wrong causality for actions. They are more afraid of the physical pain _you_ impose upon them, than the effects of the decision he/she just made. Sure, explaining this to child might not be easy, and will inevitably require consistency, but all teaching and guiding requires consistency, especially in children. A child will very quickly start to have no respect for the authority of the parent that spanks for everything, or spanks when there is no just cause for it. So is it any surprise that when the parental figure isn't around that a child will try to get away with anything they can? They've been taught that unless you're there to beat them, or they're afraid you'll find out, they will try to get away with anything they can. It's very similar to the way a child will react when there is no parental control, and is supported by the parent to do whatever he/she pleases. At least in the latter, the child has to make its own mistakes, except often the parent is there to bail them out, rather than teach them a lesson.

    I see spanking as an excuse for a real solution to a problem. Too many parents think, 'I was spanked as a child and I'm just fine -- Tough love is a good thing' ... which might be all well and fine, but I think that leads to the whole 'Do this because I said so' rationality that parents too often use to enforce their will upon their children, rather than educate the children with the tools that will allow them to make the right judgment call, on their own.
  • by ultranova (717540) on Monday November 03, 2008 @07:21PM (#25619569)

    always want the punishment for just owning up to a fault to be less than trying to lie and get out of trouble. In my mind, this reinforces the concept of personal accountability.

    It also increases the chances that they are amongst those who'll get killed when the society completes its current slide towards fascism. Accountability is not a good thing when those doing the accounting are hostile, and honesty is a liability in a hypocritical society. Teaching them to lie to authority automatically, consistently and without any nervousness would probably serve them better and lead to longer, happier, freer and more productive life.

    </cynicism>.

  • by dogmatixpsych (786818) on Monday November 03, 2008 @07:50PM (#25619887) Homepage Journal
    Most of them just need fathers around. The fathers don't even necessarily have to spank them, just discipline them. The problem is that we have far too many single-parent households and single-parenting is linked with increased rates of child misbehavior and teenage delinquency.
  • by russotto (537200) on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:16PM (#25621659) Journal

    I have no idea why it's like that. I was in school about 10 years ago, and the rules were made very clear. Every act of aggression is equal, including not only retaliation but self-defense, too.

    If a bully attacks you with a bat you should take it. You won't be punished (except for being beaten with a bat). If you try to defend yourself both of you will be given equal punishments.

    It was the same when I was in school 20-odd years ago. I tested that rule exactly once. Turns out they lied about even that. Even if you just curled into a little ball and took it (fortunately no bat involved), you STILL got suspended for participating in a fight. One good outcome did come of that test, though: it cemented my parents' disdain for the administration, as they admitted to my parents my only part in the fight was as a victim.

    (BTW, I posted this before and I swear the post disappeared. )

One man's constant is another man's variable. -- A.J. Perlis

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