Letter: Balancing the wrongs with a sense of right

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The Independent Online
Sir: Marc Sinden's assertion (Letters, 6 April) that many people who watch violent and pornographic videos do not go out and commit dreadful crimes may well be true. For children, though, exposure to violent videos is only one part of a wider pattern of deprivation.

As a teacher, I know from experience that children who are routinely exposed to gratuitously violent or sexually explicit material at an early age are unlikely to have parents who will offer any counterbalancing cultural experiences to encourage the development of taste and judgement. Such children are also unlikely to have parents who will nurture their children's emotional growth.

Our classrooms may not be full of criminals, but they are increasingly full of children whose emotional development is arrested; whose language and social skills are undeveloped; whose sensitivities and imaginative responses are blunted. Whether there is a link between video nasties and criminal behaviour may not be provable, but I doubt whether there is a classroom teacher in the country who does not share my fear for the many children who are growing to adulthood with their young minds already brutalised, exposed to the detailed re-creation of every cruelty humanity can sink to, yet bereft of the tenderness, guidance and, above all, example, without which compassion, generosity of spirit and concern for one another cannot flourish in the human heart.

Yours faithfully,

ANNA KNOWLES

Bishop's Stortford,

Hertfordshire

6 April

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