Thank you Beth Karnes, Parent Network Chair, Center on Media and Child Health for sending the below thoughtful, important input on our Hunger Games article, http://www.makeitbetter.net/entertainment/whats-hot/4109-5-ways-to-celebrate-the-hunger-games.
Perhaps our title “Celebrate the Hunger Games” was inappropriate, given the valid concerns Beth raises.
If you have thoughts or concerns on the effects of the movie or on our article, please share them with me too.
Beth Karnes comments:
I’m a Glencoe mom and a big fan of mibs. I’m hoping your editorial staff will appreciate my input on your Hunger Games article. I work for a non-profit group, CMCH, that investigates how media, positively or negatively, influence child health. Based on what we are learning, I think a more cautious, balanced perspective of the movie The Hunger Games would be a good idea for area families.
Over 50 years of research shows that using violent media contributes to children’s aggression. The 3 main effects are fear and anxiety, desensitization, and aggression. The problem isn’t just that kids might find watching the violence upsetting, it’s that they will find watching violence enjoyable. Tribune article, on Hunger Games explains that fleeting glances at violence are still teachable moments.
Your article recommends activities related to the movie, and that has so many pros and cons. Educators know that following up with games that encourage kids to mimic lessons learned will solidify the lessons further. That’s just how kids learn. Parents of older children may want to talk about any positive lessons that can be learned from the movie. Evidence shows that playing in nature is a healthful for kids, so that’s a potentially beneficial lesson a movie could inspire. We don’t want kids to role-play and rehearse violent behaviors.
Production values for this movie are sure to be high and the “kids killing kids” theme is new, so the movie is expected to sell a lot of tickets. But we have to ask ourselves, is “kids killing kids” a concept that we as a compassionate society want to encourage? We vote with our dollars and our attention.
Very few parents understand how media can influence developing children, perhaps mibs can help.
I hope this is helpful… and thanks for caring about kids!
Parent Network Chair
Center on Media and Child Health