Study: TV violence risky for children

Violence on television and home movies as well as video and computer games increases the risk of aggressive behaviour or fear among young children, British researchers have said.

    Violent movies and computer games are best avoided

    They have warned that youngsters, especially boys, are at risk from watching unsupervised TV programmes, video movies and games that have violent scenes.

    "The availability of video film, satellite and cable TV in the home allows children to access violent media inappropriate to their age, development stage and mental health," the researchers have written in next Saturday's issue of The Lancet.

    "Parents and caregivers might be recommended to exercise the same care with adult media entertainment as they do with medication and chemicals around the home," they warned.

    "Carelessness with material that contains extreme violent and sexual imagery might even be regarded as a form of emotional child maltreatment."

    Reviewing research

    The article, written by University of Birmingham psychologists Kevin Browne and Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis, looked at six "meta-analyses" - overviews of research - on the effects of media violence on children.

    "The availability of video film, satellite and cable TV in the home allows children to access violent media inappropriate to their age, development stage and mental health"

    Kevin Browne and Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis,
    University of Birmingham

    These studies, all of them from North America, comprised two that focused on the effects of violence in TV and films, and four that focused on violence in video and computer games.

    From this work, the British duo concluded that violent imagery clearly has "short-term effects" by arousing emotions in younger children "increasing the likelihood of aggressive or fearful behaviour".

    Grey areas

    The short-term effects on older children and teenagers, as well as the impact in the long-term, are unclear, mainly because so little quality research has been carried out.

    There is only "weak evidence" from studies that a child who has been watching screen violence will be directly motivated to commit a crime, says Browne and Hamilton-Giachritsis, cautioning, however, that this too was a largely unexplored area.

    The authors admit that the picture is complex, noting that there is evidence that family and social influence can amplify the effects of exposure to violent imagery.

    For instance, a child who has grown up in a violent family is likely to become more aggressive after watching film violence than a child who has grown up in households where there is no violence.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    When somebody dies lonely and alone, Miyu Kojima steps in to clean their home and organise the mementos of their life.

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    The rise of the Orthodox Church in Russia appears unstoppable, write filmmakers Glen Ellis and Viktoryia Kolchyna who went to investigate the close ties between the church and Putin.

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    Much of India's media spurns a scoop about the son of PM Modi's right-hand man. Plus, NFL as platform for race politics.