Pediatricians recommend curbing “virtual violence” in children’s lives. They point to the fact that violent games lead to violent behaviors. So far, there is no proven way to tell who is vulnerable to the link between violence and aggression before it’s too late.
Because of the immersive way kids and teens watch videos, play games and use apps, they are overly exposed to violence. This, in turn, could make them more aggressive, violent, and fearful. These findings were presented by the American Academy of Pediatrics in a recent policy statement.
Scientists have shifted from calling it screen aggression or screen violence to virtual violence because they want to raise an alarm signal on the immersive ways children experience violence through the media nowadays.
Very soon it’s going to be virtual reality video games. The experiences will increase in intensity, leading to possible increases in violent events in real life.
Dr. Dimitri Christakis said that parents should watch over their children’s media habits. In his opinion, the media should focus on quality, as it can be entertaining and educational, but it also has major risks.
If a kid exhibits aggressive behavior, parents should reduce the violence in the child’s media “diet”. Aggressive behavior is the intention to harm other people, psychologically or physically. In children, it includes rudeness, arguing or driving aggressively.
Here are a few recommendations from pediatricians at Seattle Children’s Research Institute:
Parents should supervise their child’s media consumption and play along with their children.
Children under six should not see any virtual violence, as they cannot always tell the difference between fantasy and reality.
Policy makers should consider legislation prohibiting easy access to violent content and creating clear ratings for games.
Pediatricians should help lead positive media innovation for children and collaborate with the entertainment industry for shows and games where violence isn’t portrayed as a central theme.
The entertainment industry should create positive content, that doesn’t glamorize guns and violence, or that promotes homophobia or misogyny.
In video games, human targets should not be killed for points. The news media needs to acknowledge the proven connection between virtual violence and real-life aggression.
Apparently, violent games desensitize weaker personalities and make them prone to exhibiting violent behaviors later in life.
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