Exposure to violence is one of the primary causes of tension in American families, noted author and political activist Dr. Benjamin Spock told a subdued Law School Forum crowd yesterday.
Spock said we live in the most violent country in the world, and noted the average child watches approximately 18,000 murders on television.
"I don't think children should be allowed for a minute to watch television," he said.
Citing the effect of the nuclear threat on children, Spock said, "Studies made in the 60's and in the 80's show that most children are worried at one level or another."
Best known for his book on child rearing, "Baby and Child Care," Spock also discussed the ill effects of the growing rate of divorce, the ineffectiveness of the shool system, and the excessive competitiveness and materialistic nature of our society on the family.
"We bring up our kids in general to get ahead," Spock said, citing teenage suicide as a result of competitive stress.
Spock said punishment is harmful to children and that "we should put more emphasis on love."
Spock, who once ran for president, also suggested that people should exercise their political power, especially through voting and letterwriting.
A noted peace activist during the sixties, Spock said he strongly supports demonstrations on political issues. "I had a great admiration for young people during the Vietnam War," he said.
During the late sixties Spock was convicted for aiding and abetting resistance to the draft. The conviction was later reversed.
Although he retired from his child development career in 1967, Spock's famous child-rearing book continues to sell well. He has thus far sold 32 million copies of the book.
A 1925 Yale graduate, Spock also won an Olympic gold medal rowing for the Bulldog crew.