Media Violence Study: Pediatricians Say Parents Should Limit Kids’ Exposure To Media

A pediatrician’s group has recommended that parents limit their children’s exposure to media violence. The media violence study was released in response to the routine violence that children are exposed to on a routine basis.

WBRC reported that the new policy statement came from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The Academy called for pediatricians to ask about children’s “media diet” to find out about their exposure to violence in television, online and in video games. The media violence study recommended that parents limit the amount of violent content that children are exposed to especially when it comes to video gaming.

The policy statement shows a proven scientific connection between virtual violence and aggression in real life. Dr. Dimitri Christakis, who directs the Center for Child Health, Behavior, and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, said that aggressive behavior can include being rude, arguing, or if the child is old enough, driving recklessly.

“With children, actual physical violence is, thankfully, rare. Aggressive thoughts and feelings do precede violence.”

Christakis said that the violence could turn children into violent offenders.

“Let’s say 2 percent of the population behaves more aggressively after being exposed to violent media. Out of the 20 million people who see the latest violent blockbuster, that’s 400,000 additional acts of aggressive behavior.”

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WCVB reported that the virtual violence is pervasive in prime time television and even G-rated movies. Based on a media violence study from 2009, the average American watches about five hours of television a day. It includes at least six different acts of violence. About 70 percent of children’s programs are considered violent, and about 91 percent of video games that are available for children under 10 contain violence.

The statement said there was a link between virtual violence and aggression.

“A sizable majority of media researchers both in pediatrics and psychology believe that existing data show a significant link between virtual violence and aggression.”

The group who wrote the media violence study said that the amount of virtual violence that children are being exposed to is rising, and that’s it’s up to parents to limit children’s exposure. The AAP has made repeated appeals to the entertainment industry to curb the amount of violence that is being included in television, movies and video games. Researchers believe that the violence will further increase children’s stress.

Pulse Headlines reported that a media diet is necessary in order for children to avoid much of this violence. Children who are overexposed to virtual violence tend to be more violent in the real world. The AAP has observed the effects of children’s exposure to violence on television and how it affects their well being.

In the study preamble, the group said that based on a 1998 study, a typical child would have seen at least 8,000 killings and 100,000 acts of violence before the child reached middle school. A real world experiment that proves the results has not been conducted to prove the link between virtual violence and real world violence.

For this reason, media violence studies are conducted in the lab. Other types of violence are used to prove the theory. In one study, children were given either a violent or non-violent game to play. After playing the game, they had to do something to make someone else uncomfortable. Tasks they were given included making unpleasant sounds like nail scratching on a chalkboard. Children who played the more violent games made higher level sounds and for a longer time.

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