Monday, October 22, 2007

Children And Media Violence

Children And Media Violence

  • By the time a child is eighteen years old, he or she will witness on television (with average viewing time) 200,000 acts of violence including 40,000 murders (Huston, et al, 1992).
  • Children, ages 8 to 18, spend more time (44.5 hours per week- 61/2 hours daily) in front of computer, television, and game screens than any other activity in their lives except sleeping (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2005).
  • Since the 1950s, more than 1,000 studies have been done on the effects of violence in television and movies. The majority of these studies conclude that: children who watch significant amounts of television and movie violence are more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior, attitudes and values (Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 1999).
  • Media violence affects children's behavior states the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, and American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (Congressional Public Health Summit, 2000).
  • Children are affected at any age, but young children are most vulnerable to the effects of media violence (Bushman, 2001). Young children
    • are more easily impressionable.
    • have a harder time distinguishing between fantasy and reality.
    • cannot easily discern motives for violence.
    • learn by observing and imitating.
  • Young children who see media violence have a greater chance of exhibiting violent and aggressive behavior later in life, than children who have not seen violent media (Congressional Public Health Summit, 2000).
  • Violent video games can cause people to have more aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; and decrease empathetic, helpful behaviors with peers (Anderson, 2004; Gentile, 2003).
  • Children who watch more TV and play more video games are not only exposed to more media violence, but are more likely to act more aggressively with peers and tend to assume the worst in their interactions with peers (Buchanan, et al, 2002).
  • Violence (homicide, suicide, and trauma) is a leading cause of death for children, adolescents and young adults, more prevalent than disease, cancer or congenital disorders (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2001).

What’s Happening

Six prominent medical groups (American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Psychiatric Association) warn of these effects of media violence on children:

  • Children will increase anti-social and aggressive behavior.
  • Children may become less sensitive to violence and those who suffer from violence.
  • Children may view the world as violent and mean, becoming more fearful of being a victim of violence.
  • Children will desire to see more violence in entertainment and real life.
  • Children will view violence as an acceptable way to settle conflicts.
    (Congressional Public Health
    Summit, 2000)

Many factors in the portrayal of media violence contribute to its affect on children and teens (Comstock, 1994, Huesmann, 2001):

  • What are the consequences for aggressive behavior? Is it rewarded or punished? Aggressive behavior on screen that lacks consequences, portrayed as justified, or is rewarded will have a greater effect on children.
  • When the violence is committed by an attractive or charismatic hero, with whom the child identifies, the effect of that violence will be greater.
  • When the child's attention is focused on the violence on the screen, causing the child to be engaged or aroused, the impact is greater.
  • If the child sees the violence in the show as being realistic, reflecting real life, the impact will be greater.

1 comment:

Lin said...

Good for people to know.

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