In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 11, 2009 / 24 Mar-Cheshvan 5770

Games of maturity

By Marybeth Hicks

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Tuesday was one of those days when the news can confuse us. Just as millions of Americans tuned into the painfully moving memorial service at Fort Hood, Texas, honoring 13 Americans whose lives were extinguished by an Islamist soldier in their midst, entertainment news carried headlines about a record-setting war game now available wherever toys are sold.

"Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" from video game publisher Activision is predicted to be the highest grossing first-day release in the entertainment industry. It's supposed to make more than any book, movie, DVD or video game ever has made on its initial release, including all of the "Harry Potter" iterations.

We ought not be surprised, but we ought to be concerned. "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" is another immersive first-person game offering players the chance to vicariously participate in acts of violence for the sole purpose of … entertainment.

Billed as an "emotional journey" into the darkest corners of human behavior, the game includes a terrorist scene that is expected to incite controversy (but no doubt will also spark sales). In its effort to push the envelope, the game incorporates actions that generally are considered taboo for video games.

Hmmmm. This would mean the brutal killings and criminal behavior in "Grand Theft Auto IV," the previous record-holder for first day video game sales, were not so bad. I guess if the person you pretend to kill is as evil as your character, it's OK.

On a day when headlines use words such as "horrific" and "heinous" and "unthinkable" to describe the senseless acts of violence that really happen from day to day, week to week, it seems ridiculous to question the root of violence in our culture.

Violence is entertaining. We do it for fun.

Defenders of games such as "Call of Duty" (note the patriotic-sounding title), "Grand Theft Auto" and others first point to the "mature" rating for these games and claim they do not incite adult players to greater violence. If you're older than 17, they say, you're not likely to be influenced by the behaviors in which you engage in the virtual world.

But the fact is young people — specifically young men and boys — whose behavior is known to be influenced by extreme violence in video games, are playing these games.

In her book "Watch it! What Parents Need to Know to Raise Media-Smart Kids" released earlier this year, Northern Illinois University professor Mary Larson notes that "More than 3,500 scientific studies have looked at the relationship between media violence and violent behavior. Only 18 of those studies failed to find a relationship between the two."

Yet all across America, midnight sales events at big box stores such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart celebrated the release of a game that promotes the darkest, most disturbing fantasies within the human heart.

Once again, we don't want to see the cultural connection between a society that glorifies violence and offers it up for entertainment purposes, but then dismisses the possibility that we are breeding our youth to exhibit "unthinkable" and "heinous" behaviors.

America's children are surrounded by senseless violence on TV, in movies and worst of all, in video games that enable them a realistic experience of "the thrill of the kill." It's not maturity that's needed to play these games. It's maturity that rejects them as barbaric and harmful to the psyche of anyone who would play them.

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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of more than 20 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


© 2009, Marybeth Hicks