By Dr. James Dobson
Question: I'm concerned about the violent content of some children's cartoon shows and the toys and other products connected with them. My husband thinks they're harmless. What's your point of view?
Answer: I share your misgivings. There's a trend toward a brand of violence in some of today's cartoons and toys that I see as a dangerous departure from the more traditional combat-type games in which boys have always engaged. For one thing, the characters tend to be adults involved in adult activities, some of which are highly questionable. I don't feel that they are appropriate role models for impressionable young children. In addition, there's an occult or New Age flavor to many of these programs and products. The settings are mythical or futuristic, and the action often revolves around superstition, sorcery, and magic. For these reasons they concern me for spiritual as well as psychological reasons.
The electronic media has incredible power to "sell" these dubious heroes and their exploits to our children. Studies have measured actual physiological changes that occur when kids are watching a violent television program or movie: the pulse rate quickens, the eyes dilate, the hands sweat, the mouth goes dry, and breathing accelerates. It should be obvious that this kind of "entertainment" has a dramatic emotional impact--especially if it's repeated often enough. And the toys that are marketed as "spin-offs" from such programs only serve to reinforce or extend those negative effects. What's more, there's no balancing positive, healthy, or educational component to these products.
That's why our organization, and others have made major investments in high-quality videos and other materials for children. We must provide alternatives for families that want their kids to have wholesome entertainment but are determined to protect them from the popular culture. We will continue to do what we can to meet that need.
From Dr. James Dobson’s The Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide. Question 21.
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Dr. James Dobson is the Founder and President of Family Talk, a nonprofit organization that produces his radio program, “Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.” He is the author of more than 30 books dedicated to the preservation of the family, including The New Dare to Discipline; Love for a Lifetime; Life on the Edge; Love Must Be Tough; The New Strong-Willed Child; When God Doesn’t Make Sense; Bringing Up Boys; Marriage Under Fire; Bringing Up Girls; and, most recently, Head Over Heels.
Dr. Dobson served as an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine for 14 years and on the attending staff of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles for 17 years. He has been active in governmental affairs and has advised three U.S. presidents on family matters. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (1967) in the field of child development. He holds 17 honorary doctoral degrees, and was inducted in 2008 into The National Radio Hall of Fame. Dr. Dobson recently received the “Great American Award” from The Awakening.
Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley and they have two grown children, Danae and Ryan, and two grandchildren. The Dobsons reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
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