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Some Things You Should Know About
Media Violence and Media Literacy

Media violence can lead to aggressive behavior in children. Over 1,000 studies confirm this link.
By age 18, the average American child will have viewed about 200,000 acts of violence on television alone.
The level of violence during Saturday morning cartoons is higher than the level of violence during prime time. There are 3 to 5 violent acts per hour in prime time, versus 20 to 25 acts per hour on Saturday morning.
Media violence is especially damaging to young children (under age 8) because they cannot easily tell the difference between real life and fantasy. Violent images on television and in movies may seem real to young children. They can be traumatized by viewing these images.

Media violence affects children by:

Increasing aggressiveness and anti-social behavior.
Increasing their fear of becoming victims.
Making them less sensitive to violence and to victims of violence.
Increasing their appetite for more violence in entertainment and in real life.
Media violence often fails to show the consequences of violence. This is especially true of cartoons, toy commercials and music videos. As a result, children learn that there are few if any repercussions for committing violent acts.
Parents can reduce the effect media violence has on children by:
Limiting the amount of television children watch to 1 to 2 hours a day.
Monitoring the programs children watch and restricting children's viewing of violent programs.
Monitoring the music videos and films children see, as well as the music children listen to, for violent themes.
Teaching children alternatives to violence.
Parents can help children develop media literacy skills by:
Helping children distinguish between fantasy and reality.
Teaching them that real-life violence has consequences.
Watching television with children and discussing the violent acts and images that are portrayed. Ask children to think about what would happen in real life if the same type of violent act were committed. Would anyone die or go to jail? Would anyone be sad? Would the violence solve problems or create them?
Asking children how they feel after watching a violent TV show, movie, or music video.

Sources:
"Media Violence," AAP Committee on Communications, in Pediatrics, Vol. 95, No. 6, June 1995.
"Suggestions for Parents: Children Can Unlearn Violence," in the Center for Media and Values (now the Center for Media Literacy) Media and Values, No. 62, 1993, "Media and Violence: Part One: Making the Connections."Reprint from the American Academy of Pediatrics

 

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