Kids and Violence

Marsha B. Sauls, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist

770-668-0350 x221 or

The focus of the August  2nd  public health summit on entertainment violence was the following joint statement made by the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academyof Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  “The conclusion of the public health community based on 30 years of research is that viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values and behaviors, particularly in children.”

As most parents have already intuited, the four health professional groups state that children who view violence:

1.  Are more likely to view violence as an effective way of solving conflicts.

2.  Assume acts of violence are acceptable behavior.

3.  Can be desensitized toward violence in real life.

4.  Can be less likely to aid a victim.

5.  Can have a higher tendency for violent aggressive behavior later in life.

In an AP report, Senator Sam Brownback, R-Kan said the statement compares to the medical community stating that  cigarettes cause cancer.

 Are your children beginning to see violence as a way of life?   In addition to curtailing your child’s exposure to violence, you may want to discuss their ideas about how to solve conflicts with peers. You might ask what they would do if they saw someone being hurt by another person and notice if they respond to reported or visual acts of violence with acceptance or indifference.

The Lion and The Lamb, an entertainment violence monitoring group is concerned that the message we are sending children in the media and with computer games is that violence is OK.  Take the time to become familiar with you child’s desensitization level regarding violence.  If you perceive an accepting or even humorous attitude toward violence, you may want to spend a lot of time talking to your child about the real consequences of violence and the fact that what they see as make believe on various types of screens is viewed very differently when it occurs in real life. Remember, the message they continually get from the screen is that it is fun and it is OK.