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Ten years later, the National Institute of Mental Health issued a comprehensive review of the research on media violence and its effects, which outlined concerns about children's psychological health.
However, research that has tested this “catharsis hypothesis” revealed that after experiencing media violence, children and young adults behave more aggressively, not less.After the tragic shootings at Columbine High School in 1999, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated whether the motion picture, music, and video-game industries specifically advertised and marketed violent material to children and adolescents.Working with industry-provided documents, the FTC determined that, despite the fact that their own rating systems found the material appropriate only for adults, these industries practiced “pervasive and aggressive marketing of violent movies, music, and electronic games to children,” such as promoting R-rated movies to Campfire girls.They are age based, which assumes that all parents agree with the raters about what is appropriate content for children of specific ages.Furthermore, different rating systems for each medium (television, movies, music, and video games) make the ratings confusing, because they have little similarity or relationship to one another.However, even older adolescents and young adults are adversely affected by consumption of media violence, demonstrating that the ability to discriminate between fantasy and reality does not inoculate one from the effects of media violence.
treat violence as what it is—a human behavior that causes suffering, loss, and sadness to victims and perpetrators.
A large proportion of children's media exposure includes acts of violence that are witnessed or “virtually perpetrated” (in the form of video games) by young people.
By 18 years of age, the average young person will have viewed an estimated 200000 acts of violence on television alone.
Pediatricians should assess their patients' level of media exposure and intervene on media-related health risks.
Pediatricians and other child health care providers can advocate for a safer media environment for children by encouraging media literacy, more thoughtful and proactive use of media by children and their parents, more responsible portrayal of violence by media producers, and more useful and effective media ratings. Although shootings in schools around the world periodically prompt politicians and the general public to focus their attention on the influence of media violence, the medical community has been concerned with this issue since the 1950s.
In 2003, a panel of media-violence experts convened by the National Institute of Mental Health, at the request of the US Surgeon General, published its comprehensive report on the effects of media violence on youth, which revealed media violence to be a significant causal factor in aggression and violence.