Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Managing TV Violence: Take a Stand for Your Kids

Consider this:
A typical child in the U.S. watches 28 hours of TV weekly, seeing as many as 8,000 murders by the time he or she finishes elementary school at age 11, and worse, the killers are depicted as getting away with the murders 75% of the time while showing no remorse or accountability. Such TV violence socialization may make children immune to brutality and aggression, while others become fearful of living in such a dangerous society.
This statement is from the American Psychological Association, which not only supports research related to the effects of media on children, but also has a task force that works with broadcasters and the public, informing them of the effects of TV violence.

The concern is not just that kids may be more likely to commit violent acts as adults if they are exposed to violent TV. According to the report, major effects of seeing violence on TV include:
  • Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others
  • Children may be more fearful of the world around them
  • Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others
Common Sense Media offers practical help for parents who want to manage the violence that their kids see in the media. The group recommends understanding what kinds of violence kids can handle at given ages. They also recommend checking out shows before your family sees them (their web site is an excellent resource for this, by the way), moving the TV out of the child's bedroom, managing TV time with Digital Video Recorders (DVRs), watching programs with the kids, and probably the most challenging to parents: being a role model - don't watch violent TV while your kids are around.

As you manage the media in your household, remember that "30 years of research and more than 1,000 studies confirm that violent television creates fear and anxiety in young children." Violence on TV and in movies is more gory and more pervasive than anything that we as parents grew up with. Even the nightly news has been cited as being one of the most violent programs that kids watch, and "violent TV promos are completely unregulated."

We as parents are the primary advocates for our children, and taking responsibility for the type of media that comes into our homes can be one of the best things we can do to promote our kids' happiness and health.

No comments:

Post a Comment