Report: Hollywood tweaking promos for graphic movies in wake of Sandy Hook shooting

New calls to curb on-screen violence in wake of shooting


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 18, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": So, is Hollywood going too far here? Or is there a real problem with this on-screen violence?

We decided to ask two moms, Lyss Stern and psychologist Kathryn Smerling?

Kathryn, overreaction?

KATHRYN SMERLING, PSYCHOLOGIST: Nothing is an overreaction now, but there may not be a direct causal relationship between violence on the screen and violence committed by people that are really mentally insane.

It is not an excuse, but this man was terribly disturbed. And what is more of a causal relationship is the isolation, is the lack of attachment, the lack of empathy, the single-mindedness with which this child lived, the fact that he had absolutely no social relationships.

That is more of impetus for violence and the mental health, certainly, of the young -- of the young people. But a lot of boys today use the -- use video games and use movies like that for social relationships. They all sit and do them together and then they run outside and play football.

CAVUTO: So there's no connection there.

SMERLING: There's no direct causal relationship.


CAVUTO: I can understand PR-wise why these companies would in this environment cool it on the ads and everything else, but a lot of them are afraid that they will be reined in and they will be forcibly told if you're not going to take the guns and violence out of the movies, you certainly can't promote those movies with guns and violence.

LYSS STERN, FOUNDER, DIVALYSSCIOUS MOMS: I think, as a parent, the two young boys and as a parental expert, I think that it's very important as a job for us as parents to see what's going on in the homes, to make sure that our children are not playing violent video games, that they're not watching violent videos at such a young age.

I have a 5-year-old and a 9-year-old and I know that in my home it's very important that we are not watching and playing violent video games and video movies and watching -- so it is...

CAVUTO: So, would you be for reining them in?

STERN: I would be for -- they can't go away entirely, but I would make it so that we could probably take it away, yes.

CAVUTO: Kathryn, what worries me is that we tend to overreact, with all respect to Lyss, that what happens is then we go way overboard, and for all we know, in Adam's case, we heard this report earlier this hour that what might have spurred this rage was his mother thinking about committing him...


CAVUTO: And he heard about it and -- and shot her and then went crazy and shot the kids in the classroom at the school that she was volunteering at and supposedly robbing him of attention and time.

So it might have nothing to do with any of the stuff we're talking about.

SMERLING: I think that that is -- that is absolutely true.

I feel as though this man was very -- was disturbed for very long period of time. And the fact that he didn't have the proper help and the proper mental health and wasn't in an environment where he could be supported was the problem.

STERN: Right.

SMERLING: I mean the problem is that...


CAVUTO: But are we -- their argument is that we are desensitized to this sort of stuff and our kids are because it is all around them, and maybe if it is not so around them, we'll be better for it.

STERN: I don't know. I don't necessarily know about that.

It's going to be there regardless. There are always going to be violent video games. There are always going to be violent movies. It's a parents' choice as to what we expose our children to and at what point.


CAVUTO: But you're saying that's your call or should that be the government's call?

STERN: Oh, that is my call. I don't think it's the...


CAVUTO: Do you agree with that, that if we rein this in voluntarily as parents, or should the government do it?


STERN: I think it's the parents, the parents.

SMERLING: I also believe that parents need to know that there are other things that a child can do besides video games...

STERN: Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely.

SMERLING: And there can be a limit on the amount of time. It's not the only thing that a child does.



STERN: Children need to go out -- I'm sorry -- and play. They need to play.


CAVUTO: Yes, go outside.


STERN: Go outside, kick a ball.


SMERLING: They also -- they also need -- parents need to know parenting.


SMERLING: Parents need to know that they have to recognize when their child is so disturbed that they get the child help...

STERN: One hundred percent.

SMERLING: ... rather than just isolate the child. I think that what happens...

STERN: Or sit there and be in denial about it.

SMERLING: Absolutely.

STERN: We need to recognize....

CAVUTO: Or use this entertainment as a substitute baby-sitter.


STERN: Yes, absolutely.

SMERLING: ... baby-sitter.

STERN: Absolutely, right.

SMERLING: And I also feel as though, by isolating Adam Lanza -- and I'm not their psychiatrist and there is no judgment intended -- that it brought him further into his own mind. And that is what mental illness is, is that people live in their own minds.


CAVUTO: Ladies, thank you both very much.

STERN: Thank you.


CAVUTO: So much we don't know. Maybe we will soon.

SMERLING: Thank you.

STERN: Thank you.

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