Violence Should Not Be The Norm for Children

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Have you found yourself channel surfing or been to a movie theater lately? It is almost a given that you will see a number of violent scenes on those screens. Most of the scenes are fictional but unfortunately they paint a reality.

Television and other forms of media can have a powerful influence in developing value systems and shaping behavior. Our young people are bombarded with so many vivid images of violence through many media outlets . Take video games for example. The most popular games tend to be the most violent. And while there may be different views and research on whether there is a direct correlation between exposure to violent content and violent acts ,it’s reasonable to assume that at least in some cases children who play video games or watch shows in which violence is realistic, frequently repeated or goes unpunished, they likely will imitate what they see.

It’s disturbing when we hear statistics that children in America watch an average of three to four hours of television daily and reports indicate that by the time a child finishes elementary school at age 11 he or she has seen as many as 8,000 murders on the screen. And what could be even worse, too often killers are depicted as getting away with the murders while showing no remorse or accountability. We can see some of the evidence of the impact, with the many acts of violence that occur in schools across America. If we say that overexposure to violence doesn’t produce violence, I wonder what does it produce?

For many children around the world violence is their reality. They are exposed to acts of violence in their homes, neighborhoods and even schools. No doubt they turn to media to escape their reality, to see the world from a different angle. But instead the images reflect those they live with every day.

The subliminal message being transmitted to our children is that violence somehow has become the norm in our society. The topic of violence cannot be ignored; we clearly understand that we are not able to remove ourselves from a reality that exists in many neighborhoods in this country. But our approach should not be to embrace it with such ease through entertainment. If our children don’t see violence as threatening and harmful to society, violence will continue to be all to common to them.

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