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Media Violence and Children: Does it Affect Mental Health?

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There seems to be a lot of violence everywhere you turn these days, from what you see on the news, to what your children are exposed to in TV shows, movies, and even in video games.

But what exactly is the connection between media violence and children? Does exposure to violent media really affect a child’s mental health?

 

The Effects of Violence in the Media

The Surgeon General’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behavior was created in 1969 to be able to determine how children were being affected by the violence that they were exposed to in the media.

 

What they found was that children could become less sensitive to the suffering and pain of others. In other words, they may find it more difficult to empathize with others who are in pain because they’re desensitized by the violence on TV, in movies, and in video games.

 

The researchers also found that children could become more fearful of the world. They could even become more likely to behave in harmful or aggressive ways, particularly towards others. Children who observed violence in the media at a young age were more likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors as teens as well.

 

The Effects of Violence in Video Games

Video games can also make children act out more aggressively than they otherwise would. Exposure to video games with violence could be a risk factor for aggressive cognition, aggressive behavior, and decreased empathy.

 

Simply playing a violent video game could increase an individual’s aggressive feelings, behaviors, and thoughts, so there’s definitely a connection between media violence and children when it comes to gaming too.

 

Teach Your Kids How to Decipher Messages in Media

In order to prevent the negative effects of media violence and children, you need to be aware of what your kids are watching, particularly while they’re young and unable to decipher between fact and fantasy.

 

Very young children have been seen exhibiting aggressive behaviors with their peers after watching violence in media, so teaching your children about what’s just fantasy and what’s morally wrong will help them learn that certain behaviors aren’t allowed.

 

The best way to prevent violence in media from adversely impacting your child is by being an involved parent. Use parental controls on your TV if you have them, and only purchase video games that don’t contain violence. Teach your kids right from wrong, and be there to answer any questions they might have.

 

There seems to be a lot of violence everywhere you turn these days, from what you see on the news, to what your children are exposed to in TV shows, movies, and even in video games.

But what exactly is the connection between media violence and children? Does exposure to violent media really affect a child’s mental health?

 

The Effects of Violence in the Media

The Surgeon General’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behavior was created in 1969 to be able to determine how children were being affected by the violence that they were exposed to in the media.

 

What they found was that children could become less sensitive to the suffering and pain of others. In other words, they may find it more difficult to empathize with others who are in pain because they’re desensitized by the violence on TV, in movies, and in video games.

 

The researchers also found that children could become more fearful of the world. They could even become more likely to behave in harmful or aggressive ways, particularly towards others. Children who observed violence in the media at a young age were more likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors as teens as well.

 

The Effects of Violence in Video Games

Video games can also make children act out more aggressively than they otherwise would. Exposure to video games with violence could be a risk factor for aggressive cognition, aggressive behavior, and decreased empathy.

 

Simply playing a violent video game could increase an individual’s aggressive feelings, behaviors, and thoughts, so there’s definitely a connection between media violence and children when it comes to gaming too.

 

Teach Your Kids How to Decipher Messages in Media

In order to prevent the negative effects of media violence and children, you need to be aware of what your kids are watching, particularly while they’re young and unable to decipher between fact and fantasy.

 

Very young children have been seen exhibiting aggressive behaviors with their peers after watching violence in media, so teaching your children about what’s just fantasy and what’s morally wrong will help them learn that certain behaviors aren’t allowed.

 

The best way to prevent violence in media from adversely impacting your child is by being an involved parent. Use parental controls on your TV if you have them, and only purchase video games that don’t contain violence. Teach your kids right from wrong, and be there to answer any questions they might have.