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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Introduction to the First Edition Media influences and consumerism are often not in the best interest of our children. In the past forty years, more than a thousand studies on the effects of media and film violence have been conducted. In the past decade, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the National Institute of Mental Health have separately reviewed many of these studies. Each of these reviews has reached the same con- clusion: television violence leads to real-world violence (New Hampshire Pediatric Society Newsletter, n.d.). Family and community life have changed dramatically in the last fifty years. Much of the public discussion of these changes has focused on the negative. People express fear that the family is endangered. Campaign slogans call for a return to family values. In The Way We Never Were, Stephanie Coontz points out that trying to solve today’s challenges to family life through a return to “traditional” family forms is pointless (1992). Americans, she writes, cherish a myth of stable, happy families that exist primarily in the minds of those who indulge in nostalgia. Families in every era have dealt with poverty, stress, death, illness, and emotional misunderstandings between family members. Child abuse, racism, and the inequities of class and gender are constants throughout our nation’s history. Nostalgia for “the good old days” is not an answer, but addressing the changes of our times is necessary. Our challenge is to find adequate and cre- ative ways to adapt to these changes. Workplaces and community organizations have not kept pace with the changes. For example, numerous community organizations for children continue to hold events such as “father/daughter dances” or “father/son campouts,” ignoring the fact that fewer than half of all American families resemble the stereotypical family of two opposite-gender married par- ents with children living in a single household. Similarly, 6 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL