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Media Violence

Introduction || Ratings Issues || Video Games
Movies || Television || Additional Resources


When "entertainment" violence is marketed to children as it is every day through television, video games, movies, music, toys and other media -- it is neither innocuous nor harmless.

The scientific consensus is clear: "The conclusion of the public health community, based on over 30 years of research, is that viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values and behavior, particularly in children," according a Joint Statement signed by representatives of six public health in July 26, 2000 and presented to Congress. This Statement was signed by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

While the entertainment industry pays its own consultants and researchers to deny the overwhelming scientific consensus, almost every public health and education organization has now developed a Policy Statement warning about the dangers of marketing media violence to children.

And while most of the long-term research has focused on television violence which is a passive viewing of violence -- preliminary studies indicate that the negative impact of interactive violence may be "significantly more severe than that wrought by television, movies or music," according to the Joint Statement.

In this section, we have gathered some articles, research and related information dealing with the marketing of violence to children through video games, movies and music. Our concern is only with the marketing of violence to children: we do not support censorship or any limits on the First Amendment. (Click on the following link to learn more about First Amendment issues.)

Key Facts


  • April 9, 2003
    "There is a growing body of hard and verifiable evidence that suggests the violent and sexual content of entertainment media can be harmful to children's development," said Sen. Sam Brownback at a hearing on the Neurobiological Research and the Impact of Media. "Scientific research is clearly showing that watching violence makes people more violent and not just at the time they watch the violence, that is, not just on the school yard as children, but years later, as adults. Many of us are already concerned about our society and our culture today what happens when this generation grows up?"   Additional testimony from this hearing is at

  • July 25, 2001
    Lion & Lamb member Laura Smit testifies before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.
    "This hearing is intended to consider the need for a universal ratings system... Lets start with the alphabet soup that parents are now required to memorize.   For the movies, we have G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17.  For television, we have: TV-Y, TV-Y7, TV-G, TV-PG, TV14, and TV-MA.  For video games, we have 'E' for Everyone, 'T' for Teen, 'M' for Mature, 'RP' for Rating Pending and AO for Adult Only.  The music industry has a one-size-fits-all 'Parental Advisory.'"

  • July 20, 2001
    Lion & Lamb executive director Daphne White testifies before a Congressional oversight committee.
    "As a parent, I can tell you that our children are still exposed to violent entertainment every single day. Industry groups will tell you that they have curbed all their marketing abuses, but parents will confirm that the problem is far from solved."

Policy Statement

  • Six national public health organizations-- including the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)-- issued a joint statement confirming that violent video games, movies and music lead to increased aggressive behavior, particularly in children.


  • The Influence of Media Violence on Youth by Craig Anderson, Leonard Berkowitz, Edward Donnerstein, L. Rowell Huessman, James D. Johnson, Daniel Linz, Neil Malamuth and Ellen Wartella in  Psychological Science in the Public Interest, December 2003.
    (This paper was written by an eight-member expert panel put together by the National Institute of Mental Health, and should have been included in the 2000 Surgeon General's report on youth violence.  Since the Surgeon General decided not to include this paper as a chapter in his report, the authors have now updated their findings and published them independently in a peer-reviewd journal.)
  • The Effects of Media Violence on Society by Craig A. Anderson and Brad J. Bushman in Science Magazine, Vol. 295, 29 March 2002. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded for free, to view this article.)
  • Media Violence and the American Public: Scientific Fact Versus Media Misinformation by Brad J. Bushman and Craig A. Anderson in American Psychologist, Vol. 56, No. 6/7, June/July 2001. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded for free, to view this article.)
  • What is to Blame for Youth Violence?: The Media, Guns, Parenting, Poverty, Bad Programs, Or& by Diane Zuckerman, Ph.D. in Youth Today, March 2001.
  • Media Violence and Children's Emotions: Beyond the "Smoking Gun" by Joanne Cantor, Ph.D., a paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, August 5, 2000.
  • What do Americans think about violence in the media? Check out the American Public Opinion on Media Violence in MediaScope.

For more information related to media violence issues, see


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