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“The Hunger Games”: Some Suggestions For Parents

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

The new film, “The Hunger Games,” based on the novel by Suzanne Collins, has outstripped Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax as the top grossing film this year. Perhaps because it is based on a young adult novel written in the voice of a 16-year-old heroine with many young fans, it earned a MPAA rating of PG-13 despite considerable violence. As such, there has been concern about its impact on the millions of teens who will be viewing it.

Research studies have demonstrated both an increase in aggression and desensitization to violence by children and teens viewing many hours of violence in TV shows, interactive games and films. Longitudinal, cross-sectional, and experimental studies have all confirmed this correlation.

In “ The Hunger Games” what is of particular concern is that the violence is lethal violence of children against children, an activity portrayed as “games.”

The Role of Parents

As parents you can best mediate the impact of what your children have seen or are viewing if you are “media literate” i.e. – you know what your children and teens are exposed to. Accordingly, if your teens have seen or are going to see “The Hunger Games,” it makes sense for you to see it. If necessary, see it separately.


The Brave New World of Smartphone Manners

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

smartphone mannersDespite the warnings, our basic human courtesies are not likely to be eroded by smartphones, nor will they be salvaged by quickly decided Emily Post-type rules.

Like other social norms, smartphone manners will likely evolve from the complex social group process underscored by the intellectual, physical,and psychological needs that drive us.

There was a time when it was in good taste for a gentleman to reach across the dinner table to light a lady’s cigarette. Have you seen etiquette of that kind lately?

A recent New York Times article reported on the behavior of attendees at the South by Southwest Interactive. In this arena, tech pros and professionals were reportedly on phones everywhere from the elevator to the dais. What is striking is that the appeal by one of the keynote speakers to put down the devices when interacting and give back the respect owed to each other was met with thunderous applause.

More striking is the fact that within minutes — everyone was back interacting with one eye on their phone and one thumb busy working!


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Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP & Dianne Kane, DSW are the authors of Healing Together: A Couple's Guide to Coping with Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress. Pick up the book today!

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