Tags: media | violence | child

Media Violence Boosts Kids’ Aggression

Thursday, 30 August 2012 12:36 PM

Violent images – including scenes in movies, games or pictures in comic books – act as “clear triggers” for aggressive thoughts and feelings in children and adolescents that can increase the likelihood of hostile behavior, according to a new analysis of scientific studies of the psychological impact of violence in the media.
The international Media Violence Commission, convened last year by Iowa State University to study the issue, concluded that a large body of research shows an unquestionable link between violent images and increased aggression in kids and teens – defined as intentional harm to another person that could be “verbal, relational, or physical.”
The findings, published in the journal Aggressive Behavior, suggest constant exposure to images in films, books and videogames activates aggressive thoughts and feelings over and over again – making them more likely to influence behavior.
"Basically, the commission looked at, 'What does the research literature say?' ” said Craig Anderson, president of the International Society for Research on Aggression (IRSA), who convened the 12-member commission. “In addition, we asked them to make some recommendations, if they chose to do so, about public policy. It really was kind of an open-ended charge."
In its report, the commission not only concluded there is strong evidence of a media-violence link, but also that repeated exposure to violent images may make some people more likely to act aggressively in even non-confrontational situations.
"One may also become more vigilant for hostility and aggression in the world, and therefore, begin to feel some ambiguous actions by others [such as being bumped in a crowded room] are deliberate acts of provocation," the commission wrote in the report.
In light of its findings, the panel recommended that parents monitor the media their children and adolescents are using, watching, or playing. It also urged parents to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations of no screen time for children under 2 years of age and no more than one to two hours total screen time per day for children and tends, aged 3 to 18 years.
"Parents can also set limits on screen use, and should discuss media content with their children to promote critical thinking when viewing," the researchers wrote. "Schools may help parents by teaching students from an early age to be critical consumers of the media and that, just like food, the 'you are what you eat' principle applies to healthy media consumption."
The commission recommended putting efforts into improving media ratings, classifications, and public education about the effects of media on children.
"Improving media ratings really has two pieces. One is that the media ratings themselves need to be done by an independent entity – meaning, not by an industry-influenced or controlled system," said Anderson, a leading researcher of the effects of violent media on children. "They need to be ratings that have some scientific validity to them.
"But the other piece is education, and if parents aren't educated – not just about what the ratings system does, but also about why it's important for them to take control of their child's media diet – then it doesn't matter how good the ratings system is, because they're going to ignore it anyway."

© HealthDay

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Violent scenes in movies, games or pictures in books are 'clear triggers' for aggression in kids, teens.
Thursday, 30 August 2012 12:36 PM
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