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Pediatricians: Virtual Violence Linked to Real-World Aggression

Pediatricians: Virtual Violence Linked to Real-World Aggression
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By    |   Tuesday, 19 July 2016 03:20 PM

Pediatricians say "virtual violence" in video games has a scientific connection with real-life aggression and they are calling for limits on it in a new policy statement by their leading organization, reported HealthDay.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling on its members to regularly ask children about their "media diet" and for parents to set limits on the violent media content their kids see, regardless of the medium.

"With the rise in new technologies, such as tablets and new gaming platforms, children and adolescents increasingly are exposed to what is known as 'virtual violence,'" said the academy's online statement.

"This form of violence is not experienced physically; rather, it is experienced in realistic ways via new technology and ever more intense and realistic games. The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to be concerned about children's exposure to virtual violence and the effect it has on their overall health and well-being."

Dr. Dimitri Christakis, lead author of the policy, told CBS News that from a public health concern, the effects of such violent video games fall from a "small to moderate range," but it varies from child to child.

"It's clear that some children are more susceptible to the effects of virtual violence than others," said Christakis. "It's not always possible to know who those children are so parents need to keep in mind that their child may be affected more or less than the average child."

Clinical psychologist Michael Robb, director of research at the nonprofit Common Sense Media, told CBS News that violent media could be a major risk factor for children already exposed to aggression or violence.

"If you're talking about a kid who is in a home either as a witness or has experienced violence or abuse, or kids who have fallen in with other kids who are a bad influence, they might be more vulnerable," said Robb.

In its new policy, the academy is asking pediatricians to consider making children's "media diets" a regular part of all well-child examinations; for parents to "be mindful" of what shows their children watch and which games they play; and for state and local policy makers to consider laws that would give children and caregivers more information about media content.

The policy also addressed the entertainment industry, asking it to avoid the "glamorization of weapon carrying and the normalization of violence," eliminating comic or sexual content that makes violence "amusing, titillating, or trivialized," eliminating gratuitous portrayals of interpersonal violence; using violence more "thoughtfully as serious drama," and for video games to stop using awards such as points for killing humans virtually.

The policy called on the news media to acknowledge "proven scientific connection between virtual violence and real-world aggression" and for the federal government to develop its own rating system for such violent media that is "robust, valid, reliable, and 'parent-centric.'"

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Pediatricians say "virtual violence" in video games has a scientific connection with real-life aggression and they are calling for limits on it in a new policy statement by their leading organization.
pediatricians, virtual, violence, link, aggression
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2016-20-19
Tuesday, 19 July 2016 03:20 PM
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