The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended that parents allow no screen time for infants up to at least 2 years of age, limit school children’s recreational screen time to no more than two hours per day, and both monitor and co-view content with their children. However, co-viewing by itself has been shown to be insufficient. More active forms of co-viewing by the parent, sometimes called "mediation," seem to reduce viewing time and the harmful effects of violence media. Parents can explore nonviolent solutions, teach prosocial and nonviolent values, and explain why violence is undesirable, impractical, and doesn't work well in the real world.
Several studies have demonstrated that most countries’ current age-based ratings have serious problems (e.g., Gentile, 2008;Gentile, Maier, Hasson, & de Bonnetti, 2011; Thompson & Haninger, 2001;Thompson, Tepichin, & Haninger, 2006). For example, the rating systems assume that cartoonish, blood-free media violence has no harmful effects on children and adolescents, an assumption that has been proven false many times. Part of this problem, at least in the U.S., is that the rating systems were created and are controlled by the media industries themselves, rather than by unbiased experts from the research community.
This SPSSI report builds on these earlier statements, reflecting the unique interests and expertise of a large group of psychological scholars dedicated to the study of societal issues from a scientific psychological perspective. It jointly emphasizes understanding underlying psychological processes and broader societal impact, and therefore brings the best psychological science to bear on a practical societal problem. This report also benefits from several high quality studies on media violence effects published since the last major report.
There is some evidence that initially aggressive individuals, younger children, or males might be more affected than relatively nonaggressive individuals, older children, or females, at least in some contexts. But these "at risk population" findings are not consistent, and many studies find significant effects of media violence on nonaggressive individuals, older individuals (including college-age adults), and females. In other words, no specific group has consistently demonstrated immunity to aggression-related effects of exposure to media violence (Anderson et al., 2003).
A wide array of aggressive and violent behaviors has been linked to media violence. These behaviors include physical aggression, verbal aggression, relational aggression, proactive (cold, calculated) aggression, and reactive (hot, impulsive) aggression (see Bibliography references in bold). Many studies have found cross-over effects, but some have found specificity of media violence effects, showing that media that model mostly one type of aggression (e.g., relational, as in much teen television) tend to have bigger effects on that type of aggression (e.g., Linder & Gentile, 2009; Coyne, Nelson, Lawton, Haslam, Rooney, Titterington, …Ogunlaja, 2008; Martins, 2013).
According to Gentile and Anderson, playing video games increases the aggressive behavior of the player, since the acts of violence are continually repeated during the game (Gentile, & Anderson, 2003). “Although heightened physiological arousal (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure, skin conductance) can be beneficial in certain situations, physiological arousal produced by violent media (or by other sources), can be linked to an increase in aggressive behavior, especially when that arousal can be erroneously attributed to another provoking event, rather than to the violent media. Repetition of an act has been considered an effective teaching method, reinforcing learners patterns” (Barlett, Harris & Bruey, 2007).
The children of today are surrounded by technology and entertainment that is full of violence. It is estimated that the average child watches from three to five hours of television a day. I believe media violence has a profound impact on children. Listening to music is also a time consuming pastime among children. With all of that exposure, one might pose the question, “How can seeing so much violence on television and video games and hearing about violence in music affect a child’s behavior?” Obviously, the media has a tremendous influence on children’s behavior: we can see it in the way they attempt to emulate their favorite rock stars by dressing in a similar style and the way children play games, imitating their favorite cartoon personalities or super heroes. Studies have shown that extensive television viewing may be associated with aggressive behavior, poor academic performance, precocious sexuality, obesity, and the use of drugs or alcohol. Television, video games, and music are very influential and if too much violence is available for children to watch, play, or listen to, this can sway their attitudes in a negative direction.
We recommend that the media industry create more programs that show alternatives to aggressive interactions, or place more emphasis on the negative consequences of aggressive, violent, and other forms of antisocial behavior. The industry should cooperate with media violence experts for assistance in producing interesting products that promote the public good, as exemplified by Albert Bandura's work with serial dramas (Smith, 2002).
Most public policy attention has focused on restricting children’s access to violent media. This approach has significant political and legal challenges in many countries, especially the U.S. It might be more fruitful at this point in time to put efforts into strengthening media ratings and classifications, implementing media literacy programs for children, and improving public education about the effects of media on children (Anderson & Gentile, 2008; Gentile, Saleem, & Anderson, 2007; Gentile, Humphrey, & Walsh, 2005).
Media violence has long been a controversial topic, especially since the widespread adoption of television in the 1950s. This statement was inspired by several factors: (1) a recognition that electronic media use now dominates the waking hours of many young people; (2) a growing knowledge base demonstrating that violent media can have multiple harmful effects on children, adolescents, and young adults; (3) more detailed and accurate theoretical models that explain these effects; and (4) a belief that public policies can be important for addressing this social issue.
As a negative result of playing video games, violence in children has shown an increase. “Anderson and Dill found that males who were high in aggression and irritability, showed the strongest association between video game play and aggressive behavior” (Lillian Bensely & Juliet Van Eenwyk, 2001). There are many incidents of violent behavior among children who play violent video games worldwide (Gunter, 1998). One of the high-profile incidents is the Columbine High School massacre that was caused by 17-year-old Dylan Klebold, and 18-year-old Harris Eric. The massacre happened on the 20th of April, 1999, at Columbine High School, located in Jefferson County. 12 pupils and a teacher were killed by two pupils. It was later revealed that the two shooters in the massacre . It was also noted that the two shooters used to play and , games which are violent. After the incident, many newspaper articles claimed that the key cause of that incident was violent video games.