A study in Pediatrics has found violence in films has more than doubled since 1950, and the presence of gun violence in PG-13-rated films has more than tripled since the rating was introduced in 1985. The study, “Gun Violence Trends in Movies,” in the December 2013 Pediatrics (published online Nov. 11), analyzed a sample of the top-grossing films for each of the years from 1950 to 2012. Trained analysts coded each film for the presence of violence and guns during each 5-minute segment of the movie. Researchers found an overall annual increase in gun violence from 1985 to 2012, but the trend differed by movie rating. Among films rated G and PG, gun violence decreased slightly. The rate of gun violence did not change for R-rated movies. Among films rated PG-13, gun violence increased, and since 2009, PG-13 movies have contained as much or more violence than R-rated movies. The study authors conclude that even if youth do not use guns, because of the increasing popularity of PG-13 movies, they are exposed to considerable gun portrayal and violence, which may increase their aggressive behavior.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about gun control and a number of cases where children had been expelled or charged with crimes for bringing “weapons” to school. In one case, the instruments of violence were plastic toy soldiers; in another, a boy had chewed a pastry into the shape of a gun. I was hoping that we’d heard the last of these cases of good intentions gone completely crazy.
- In a variation on gun control run amok, a 10-year-old California boy was suspended and threatened with expulsion after he brought a Swiss Army Knife on a week-long school school camping trip. Tony Bandermann told Fox News that his son Braden was on a science camping trip with his class at Garden Gate Elementary School in Cupertino. According to a school incident report, the boy showed the small knife to other students who then reported him to teachers. The incident report stated that law enforcement was also notified. However, no charges were filed. Bandermann, who was out-of-town on a business trip, said he received a telephone call from the school’s principal informing him that his son had violated the school’s weapons policy. The punishment, she told him, must be immediate and severe. “She threatened to expel him,” he said. “She kept telling me, ‘you can’t bring a weapon to school.’ A Swiss Army Knife is a tool not a weapon.” Since he was unable to pick up his son, the principal put the boy in 24-hour isolation at the camp – held in a teacher’s lounge where he was forced to eat and sleep in solitude. This story originally appeared here:
- While not actually an issue of gun control, a Massachusetts middle school student was suspended after she brought a butter knife to school so she could cut a pear. Melissa LaPlaume told MyFoxBoston that her daughter was simply trying to cut her fruit for lunch because she has braces and can’t take bites out of the whole fruit. The vice-principal of Wamsutta Middle School said they were following the handbook rules—which ban knives—and suspended 13-year old Morgan. The story first appeared here
- Back to gun control. A five-year-old Massachusetts boy could be suspended from elementary school after he built a gun out of Legos during an after-school program. The parents of Joseph Cardosa received a letter advising them that their son had used toys inappropriately. A second violation would result in a two-week suspension. The boy is a student at Hyannis West Elementary School. “While someone might think that making a Lego gun is just an action of a 5-year-old – to other 5-year-olds that might be a scary experience,” a school spokesperson told MyFoxBoston.com. “We need a safe environment for our students.”
More gun control, anyone?
Dear Mr. Dad: My 9-year old son has been complaining a lot recently about how much he hates school. We had a long talk about it and he completely stunned me when he told me that the principal of his school has paddled his behind several times. I know my son can be challenging sometimes, but I thought corporal punishment in schools had been outlawed long ago. How is this even possible?
A: And just when I’d thought I’d put all those unpleasant grade-school memories to rest… Nationwide, more than 60 percent of American parents approve of spanking children—and half admit that they actually do it (that’s the average—the percentages are higher in the South, and lower in the rest of the country). However, more than 70 percent of parents (65 percent in the South)—and 80 percent of parents of grade-schoolers—say it shouldn’t be happening in schools at all. But it is.
The horrific shooting in Colorado has been so extensively analyzed that there’s almost nothing left to say. Almost. There are two issues that should be getting more attention.
First, we need to acknowledge that three of the victims were men who used their own bodies to protect their girlfriends. We’re going to hear a lot over the next months and years about how males are violent, but it’s important that we not forget that men are also heroic (far more often than they’re violent). Without giving a second thought to their own safety, Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves gave their lives so the women they loved could live.
Just saw an infuriating headline: “Accused Child Rapist Fears Abuse in Prison.” The article then explains that the defendant, Edward Dean, tearfully told the judge that he’s “terrified” of serving time in state prison. Dean is facing six counts of child rape in state court and a similar number of federal charges (all just as repugnant as the state charges).
Call me crazy, but the idea that someone who preys on children would be afraid of going to prison is laughable. Just writing this I can feel my pulse starting to race. If one of my kids had been a victim, I’m quite sure that Mr. Dean would be a lot safer in prison than in a place where I could get to him. And I know I’m not alone in that.
Remember not all that long ago when people would talk about how bullies are just acting out or that they themselves were the victims of someone else’s bullying? Turns out that isn’t true. Some kids (not mine, of course, or yours) are just mean.
With kids spending more and more time online, it’s increasingly hard to protect them from bullies. It used to be that bullies would have to be in same place as their victims. But no longer. I’m sure you’ve read the tragic stories about kids who’ve committed suicide after being bullied online.
Even if you trust our children completely, you can’t control for what other people are going to do. A few years back, one my daughters–an incredibly responsible, clear-thinking girl–was being bullied through Facebook and a few other places. We eventually figured out who was doing it and came down hard (not hard enough, in my view–that little punk should have gone to jail). But it was still a traumatic experience.
A recent article from the Birmingham Patch (Michigan) cites stats from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Safe and Drug-Free Schools: more than 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the United States.
More info and some excellent resources here: http://birmingham.patch.com/articles/panel-urges-parents-educators-and-kids-to-stand-up-against-bullying