Dear Annie: I am so frustrated with my husband. We have four children under the age of eight.
He actually encourages them to watch scary movies and play violent video games.
He says it’s OK because he’s with them and can explain anything they don’t understand. He says he’s watched horror movies since he was a young kid and there’s nothing wrong with it.
What he doesn’t see is that the children often have nightmares after watching these programs and are afraid to walk around the house alone. Our two-year-old tries to emulate the martial arts he sees in one of the video games and hits and kicks other people all the time.
When I object to these movies and games, my husband says I’m overreacting and the children know it’s all fake. How can I convince him it’s having a negative impact?
Are there any studies showing the damage this can cause? Maybe he’ll pay more attention to experts. — Not a Fan of Ghouls in Canada
Dear Canada: There have been numerous studies on the effects of TV and video game violence on children.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry concluded that children can become numb to the horror of violence, will gradually accept violence as a way to solve problems and may imitate the violence they see.
An influential study done at the University of Michigan showed that men and women who watched violent TV programming as children were more inclined to show violent tendencies as adults.
Researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation believe that children age seven and younger are particularly vulnerable to the effects of viewing violence.
More importantly, your children are having nightmares and your two-year-old thinks he’s Bruce Lee. Take your husband to your next pediatrician appointment, and let the doctor talk to him about the harm he may be doing to his children.
Dear Annie: My sister recently passed away.
A friend of mine sent me an electronic sympathy card via email. I thought this was tacky. Is it bad taste or just a sign of the times? — J.D. in Connecticut
Dear J.D.: It is a sign of the times.
People have forgotten how to hand-write notes and think email cards convey the same personal touch. But at least they sent some type of note, so we’d forgive them. Our condolences on your loss.
Dear Annie: You gave great advice to “Confused in Freedom,” whose fiance was reluctant to remove his profile from various dating sites.
I had the same problem with my husband of one year and did exactly what you suggested to her.
I gently approached him and told him that while I knew he was on those sites before we got involved, I didn’t know why he was still using them and why he had signed on in the past few days.
He said he only went in to delete things. I told him he could delete the profile while he was at it, or I could do it for him.
I also took a picture of his hand with his wedding band on it.
Plan A was for me to show him how to delete the profile, and if there was honestly no way to do it, Plan B was to post the picture of the wedding band with a message that he was now happily married and to please refrain from contacting him. I also considered changing the password so he couldn’t access it.
We discussed all these options.
Fortunately, we had the profile deleted within five minutes and, after doing a search of his various screen names, found no more questionable sites to delete. We’ve had no problems since. — His Only Love
Dear Only: You certainly took matters into your own hands. The FBI could use your talents.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.