American children are more and more exposed to media violence as it has become a regular part of their everyday life. That is why the media, lawmakers, and parents should take active measures to deal with this growing problem until it’s too late.
Pediatricians from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have recently warned everyone that kids should be prevented from watching too much TV or playing violent video games.
Parents have the duty to reduce as much as possible the violent content from media to which children are exposed every day.
According to Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, video games have the most violent content nowadays especially because of the 3D features that allow children to ‘benefit’ from a more closer-to-reality experience.
Christakis underlines that many studies established various scientific connections between real-life aggression and virtual violence. This aggression is defined by a change of behavior including aggressive driving, arguing with others, and being rude.
Even if physical violence is rare when it comes to children, aggressive feelings and thoughts will definitely increase the risk of violence among kids in the future. Experts strongly recommend parents to prevent children younger than six years old from seeing any violent media, even if they are cartoons.
Also, first-person shooters must be completely banned. Christakis explains that most children will not become violent persons in the future after being exposed to movies and video games, but they will be influenced by this media violence which is becoming even more widespread.
If two percent of the United States population becomes more aggressive after exposure to media violence, then out of 20 million Americans, 400,000 will manifest aggressive behavior displays, and that is highly concerning.
Pediatricians stress that the media is more responsible than parents for this situation, and it should change its perspective. Violence must not be used in a sexual or comic content, and it should no longer be promoted in so many video games.
Most importantly, anxious children are severely affected by violent games and media violence exposure. Violent images from the news related to terrorist attacks might even make children experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
Scientists advise parents to discuss some of these problems with their children if they are older and capable of understanding, so the impact of the tragic events around them won’t be so massive.