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Darren Campo  
“The Hunger Games” is a powerful anti-bullying, socially empowering story. It promotes empathy and helps counteract children’s feelings of helplessness when faced with the reality of violence.
Guestpert: Darren Campo
Category: Psychology and Self Help
 

Speaking Point: Children inevitably are exposed to violent images ( a billboard of an abused animal, a poster in a story of a person dying from smoking) before they have the ability to process context and distinguish between reality and fantasy Exposure to violence with no social justice, especially real life violence, can create feelings of helplessness and inevitability. Reading stories with positive outcomes is a powerful antidote to the high exposure of negative images that children are exposed to without context.

Speaking Point: Reading helps develop children’s critical developmental skills: understand other’s emotions and the ability to see the world from another’s perspective. Children who are old enough to read “The Hunger Games” will experience life from Katniss’s point of view. Obviously, a parent should read “The Hunger Games” so they know what values the narrator is imparting.

Speaking Point: When children go to school, they become influenced by their peer group. The peer group establishes norms for behavior. How can we expect kids to know what to do when a peer group’s normative behavior is destructive, such as is the case with bullying? We have to instill a sense of social justice before kids are subjected to negative tendencies of their peer group.

Speaking Point: The teenage narrator of “The Hunger Games” is an archetype hero that has appeared in stories for generations: She is from a poor community, oppressed by those in power. She sacrifices herself for a greater cause, in this case initially to save her younger sister from the ruling-class’s inhumane system of social control. When she is forced to fight, she only defends herself and risks her life to defend others who are weaker or disadvantaged. By standing up to unjust authorities, she changes the world for the better. These are values we hope to find in people of all ages.

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