These days, media violence seems like a normal thing to see on television or the Internet. It’s getting quite common that even children can easily access it. At a very young age, they have been exposed to such ugly things that their minds are not ready to understand. Moreover, the crazy thing is that major media outlets broadcast violent news without hesitation or just a superficial warning.
What are the effects of media violence on children’s behavior?
Many children in the country have easy access to gadgets. While parents and guardians are cautious in supervising what their children are watching, playing, and reading, there are still some who get away with it. There are numerous instances where parents cannot keep track of and filter their children’s screening time all day long. Because of this, many parents are considering personal psychotherapy for their children to prevent any bad effects of media violence on their children’s minds.
One way or another, while your children are watching television or surfing the Internet, there will be scenes that hint at violence. It could be a cat and mouse trying to hurt or kill each other or superheroes planning revenge against a villain. Even with how safe and kid-friendly these shows are, some actions will open the eyes of your children to violence.
Local therapists near me all agree that the violence children see in the media affects their behavior. Studies show that an American child spends three to five hours daily watching television. It was found that television shows for children have 25 violent acts per hour. It goes to show that an average child witnesses 8,000 acts of killing by the end of elementary school.
Children imitate what they see. They do not always listen to what their parents see, but they will always copy what they see in their parents and friends. It is a very crucial fact about parenting. It is why parents are encouraged to surround their children in a peaceful and calm environment.
However, as children grow up, it is not easy for parents anymore to monitor their every move. It is the time children are exposed to media violence. It could be through their social media accounts, Internet videos and games, and their favorite superhero movies.
Children will see how people behave aggressively towards other people. It comes to worse when this aggressiveness will result in violent behaviors. Without proper guidance by parents, children will see this as a normal behavior that when someone hurts someone, then it is okay to hurt them as well. They will perceive it as defending themselves or saving someone in need.
Not all children take media violence lightly or view it as an everyday happening. Some children develop fer and trauma because of what they see on TV or the Internet. They refuse to go out or meet other people because they think they will get hurt.
To make matters worse, there are children who refuse to even go to school. Their minds are telling them that the world is full of violence and dangerous people. It develops specific phobias like being murdered or a victim of a crime, meeting new people, or being in a new place.
Furthermore, children are prone to suffer anxiety and depression because of media violence. Since they’re still young, they don’t fully understand what they’re feeling, so instead of telling their parents, they just stay away from people. This is already a red flag that parents should see so that they can seek personal psychotherapy for their children.
When children are overly exposed to media violence, they become less shocked by any violent acts and insensitive to the pain of others. When these happen, they think that the people who are hurt deserve what happened to them, and they do not earn sympathy.
It is what scares many parents – children who are immune to media violence. Because there is a heavy presence of media violence, even in games, children tend to overlook the value of empathy. Their brains are wired to think that violence happens anymore, so it is better to accept it and be okay with it.
Though there is still a part of them that knows violence is wrong, they still find it enjoyable to play brutal games or watch violent videos.
What should parents do?
Parents fear that their children will grow up in this kind of world where violence becomes inevitable and an everyday scenario. Television news shows shootings in schools and different public spaces. Movies display violent behaviors as an acceptable act as long as it is for the greater good. The Internet, which is easily accessible to young children, fills their heads with inappropriate and violent videos and images. Even playing video games can trigger aggression and fear.
It is the parent’s duty to protect their children from any form of media violence. But not all parents are responsible enough to do this, and more and more children are exposed to this. It may be hard but sometimes, being a buzzkill to your children is a good thing. When you see them playing or watching violence on any media, you better stop them. Be strict and be firm about what they are doing, even if it means lessening their screen time.
While it’s true that you cannot monitor their actions all the time, that’s why it is a big help when you and your partner set specific rules about screen time. Discuss together the number of hours per week your children can use the Internet.
You can also ask other parents or teachers how they monitor and lessen their children’s exposure to media.
If you see any changes in their behavior and attitude, be alert and observe them intensely. When you sense that something is wrong, get help right away. It is always better to ask for help and guidance from the local therapists near me to have a better understanding of what is going on.
Mindshift Psychological Services offers the help you need for your children. If you see that your children are likely to suffer from depression, the center provides personal psychotherapy for your children. You may schedule an appointment through their website or contact them at (714) 584-9700.