Killing Monsters: Our Children's Need For Fantasy, Heroism, and Make-Believe Violence

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Basic Books, Aug 4, 2008 - Psychology - 272 pages
3 Reviews
Children choose their heroes more carefully than we think. From Pokémon to the rapper Eminem, pop-culture icons are not simply commercial pied pipers who practice mass hypnosis on our youth. Indeed, argues the author of this lively and persuasive paean to the power of popular culture, even trashy or violent entertainment gives children something they need, something that can help both boys and girls develop in a healthy way. Drawing on a wealth of true stories, many gleaned from the fascinating workshops he conducts, and basing his claims on extensive research, including interviews with psychologists and educators, Gerard Jones explains why validating our children's fantasies teaches them to trust their own emotions and build stronger selves.

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I raised my sons with the invaluable knowledge of this book. I am very fortunate to have read it when I did. 15 years later, my sons are balanced and sensitive despite video games, airsoft, weapon fascination, military parent. College and High Schoolers now, happy and productive.

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This is a valuable book that tears apart the handful of studies that we base our "violent movies and games make killers" assumptions on and debates them with a number of other studies that would prove otherwise. Did you know that the Smurfs and Strawberry Shortcake generation had a higher rate of adolescent violence than my Transformers and He-Man generation? Gerard Jones makes a great point about the need for violent play in our psychological development and the dangers of making our children self-conscious about play.  


Being Strong
Seeing What Were Prepared to See
The Magic Wand
The Good Fight
Girl Power
Calming the Storm
Fantasy and Reality
The Courage to Change
Vampire Slayers
Model Mirror and Mentor
Not So Alone
Growing Up

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About the author (2008)

Gerard Jones is a writer whose credits include the New York Times, Harper's, Batman and Spider-Man comics, and Pokémon cartoons. Recently, he has developed the Art & Story Workshops for children and spoken on fantasy, aggression, and the media at institutions around the country. He is the author of Honey, I'm Home: Sitcoms Selling the American Dream and The Comic Book Heroes. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and son.

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