Violence in Media
In the news, we hear and see an increasing number of reports about violence among children. This goes from rude fights on the playground to armed incidents in schools that result in injuries or even casualties.
Now asking ourselves where this behaviour is originated, we quickly come to media as a scapegoat: TV violence, computer games and the Internet. Often we lack overview of what our children experience while dealing with these influences.
And there lies the root problem. Various scientist groups have tried to prove the influence of visual violence on children's behaviour. There has been proof and counter-proof - so what we can conclude from this is that the connection between observed violence and violent behaviour depends on more circumstances than can be applied in a experimental environment. (links)
An observation that we can make ourselves is that children tend to imitate behaviour. Aside from what's experienced in media, they're influenced by their parents, their friends and idols.
If we are realistic, we have to admit that as soon as our children start going to school, we lose overview on their experiences and are often astonished or shocked about the new ideas they're coming up with. Now here comes the parent's part. The fact that our children are going to school doesn't mean they're grown-up and their character is stabilized. Trend and group force are strong against the learned attitudes and behaviour patterns from childhood, so we need to stay in touch with our children and try to understand what's on their minds.
It's far too easy to say that a child's violent behaviour is caused by media. That's only an excuse, because this way parents don't have to blame themselves for neglecting their duty of education.
For sure there is a negative influence of visually explicit violence to a child's mind. But what influence it is, if our child is considering it "cool", following possibly their friends' attitude towards it, or if it's scared or even repelled, that's up to us to teach. Parents have to guide their children with their experiences, and that includes violence, no matter where experienced.
So take your time to share the experience, show real interest and add your opinion. Avoid prohibition as much as possible, because that will just make it much more interesting. For example, if you ban your child from seeing a popular, violent cartoon series, it will probably see it anyway - with a friend or when you're not there. But with simply banning it, you stripped yourself of the chance to influence the conclusions your child will draw - surely it won't consult you afterwards regarding the forbidden.
And, as with all other things, be a paradigm - if you present verbal or even physical violence in your family, then you don't have to be surprised if your child copies that behaviour.
Brigette Meier is an occassional author for http://www.e-nterests.com - visit the site for more interesting articles.
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