The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) acknowledges the link between exposure to violence in media and subsequent increase in aggressive behaviors among children.
In a recent statement headed by Dr. Dimitri Christakis of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, pediatricians recommended that parents play a more active role in monitoring what their children are watching. As technology advances, virtual experiences are becoming more immersive, and therefore more intense.
Children who are already prone to aggression will be more affected that children who are not. Thus, instead of imposing quantity restrictions on children’s screen time, parents should monitor the quality of the programming that their children are consuming. This is not limited to shows, movies and video games, but also includes news. The latter may show repeated graphic images of terror attacks or shootings, and small children may believe each new photo refers to a separate incident.
To make a parent’s job easier, the group of pediatricians published some excellent guidelines for the media (which certainly aren’t original). First, the entertainment industry should stop creating content that glamorizes violence and start creating more positive content. Since the entertainment industry’s rating system is flawed, policy-makers should create one that is more user-friendly for parents. Finally, the news media should clearly acknowledge that there is a correlation between on-screen violence and increased aggression.