Thursday, July 12, 2007

Children's books and violence

I was reading a version of the three little pigs to some of my students today and started to think about children's stories and the violence that is in them. This story had the wolf eating the pigs and finally the third pig boiling and eating the wolf. There is a version of little red riding hood where the wolf eats the grandmother and an axeman has to cut the wolf open to get granny out. Many of the stories by the Grimm Brothers are very grim (pun intended). These stories were written for adults and yet they are now common place in children's libraries and classrooms. It is amazing when you realize some of the things for children and where they originate, such as ring around the rosy is a reference to the Bubonic Plague and the mark on the skin from the plague. I am not advocating taking these stores and rhymes out of the classroom as I am 100% against censorship and think that children should be exposed to all kinds of literature and should be able to read whatever they want as they grow up. But when looking at the research that is done around violent behavior in children and violence in the media, it is interesting that we do not seem to see the same behaviors in children from books. This is my observation of being in classrooms, I do not have any real research that indicates that other forms of media create more violence in children and books do not. I also think about the cartoon that I knew growing up like Looney Tunes and the violence that was in that and yet I don't think that this hurt me in anyway, so then what is it that makes the violence that is in books and in Looney Tunes and other cartoons where the violence seems so exaggerated that seems so much less offensive than in the children's television like the Power Rangers? With adult guidance shouldn't we be able to minimize the affect of violence on our children and that is probably where the issues come up, the lack of adult guidance in children's lives. We need, as a society, to increase the adult guidace in children's lives through increased parental involvement with children, decreasing the amount of time children spend in front of the TV and finally high quality child care for all children not just those children that can afford it.

1 comment:

TheCunningRunt said...

In the movie "Sicko" Michael Moore goes off on a little tangent, in France if I recall correctly, about free or low-cost, high quality day care being viewed by some as a right and by society as a whole as a responsibility.

Friggin' French need to get their priorities straight...