There's more blood in our movies, and more street grit on TV, while our video games offer whole planets up to destruction. In the real world kids are bringing guns to school, and sometimes use them. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, the effects of TV violence on children, and the appeal of classic horror stories.
There was a problem with children and violence before the terrible events in Littleton, Colorado. Bernard Lefkowitz is the author of "Our Guys" - an account of an appalling gang rape by a group of popular high school athletes in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Lefkowitz tells Steve Paulson the facts of the case and describes the culture and values of the community which encouraged the boys to believe they could do anything they wanted to and get away with it.SEGMENT 2:
Joanne Cantor is the author of "Mommy, I'm Scared: How TV and Movies Frighten Children and What We Can Do to Protect Them." She tells Jim Fleming which films make the all-time fright list, why "The Incredible Hulk" terrifies little children; and why it's unhealthy to develop a taste for violent entertainment. Also, novelist and literary critic Marina Warner tells Steve Paulson why we love monsters and scary stories. She says they allow us to play out our deepest fears in a safe environment. She thinks we should befriend the monsters within us because demonizing the things we fear leads to situations like the war in the Balkans.SEGMENT 3:
In her book "Cries Unheard: Why Children Kill - The Story of Mary Bell," journalist Gitta Sereny recounts the case of an eleven year old girl convicted thirty years ago of murdering two toddlers in the English city of Newcastle. Sereny spent months interviewing the adult Mary Bell, revealing what she learned about Mary's horrific early life and present remorse in her book and in this conversation with Judith Strasser.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 99-04-25-A.
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