"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

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Friday, March 26, 2004

Grains of Salt 

A new meta-study from the American Psychological Society claims to provide "Unequivocal Evidence" that exposure to violent media makes kids more violent and aggressive. Well, duh .

Clearly, if people set better examples for kids, the world would be a better place. HOWEVER, the thing about these studies is that they (a) don't provide any really useful scientific advances (we already know kids learn by observation), and (b) provide fodder for media hype and bullshit which leads to stupid things like calls to ban everything from books to music to video games to whatever else.

The facts of life being what they are, kids are gonna see violence. And the idea that kids are more violent today than they were 50, 100, or 1000 years ago is utter crap. The story goes that Cain killed Abel, back in the beginning...remember that back then, living 25 years was a good long life: Cain was almost certainly a kid, by today's standards. Alexander the Great took throne and began his conquests of Persia at 20. He died at 33. Less long ago, young people fought in wars, and were bandits: Billy the Kid gained notoriety and was killed before age 21.

Another factor leading to the perception of kids being more violent than in previous eras (or for that matter decades) is population density. More kids = more kids committing crimes. And then there's the media....we see it more than we did even 25 years ago, simply because of increased news coverage and sensationalism.

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