GO Network
GO Kids | GO Family | GO Money | GO Sports | GO Home
Infoseek Search
  
ABCNEWS
   WEB
  
  
GO Network ABOUT GO NETWORK | SIGN IN | FREE E-MAIL
Emode.com
HOME

NEWS SUMMARY

U.S.

POLITICS

WORLD

MONEYSCOPE /
BUSINESS

TECHNOLOGY

SCIENCE

HEALTH&LIVING

TRAVEL

ESPN SPORTS

ENTERTAINMENT

WEATHER.com

REFERENCE

LOCAL

ABCNEWS ON TV


LIVING HEADLINES

Lung Surgery Study Renews Therapy Debate

Groups Target Media Violence

Internet May Increase Risky Sex

Scientists: Coffee Linked to Arthritis

Doctors Declare Cheney's Heart in Good Shape




SEARCH

FAMILY.COM

ABC.com

TurboNews

EMAIL
    ABCNEWS.com


SEND PAGE TO
    A FRIEND


TOOLS AND
    HELPERS






The Minds of Babes
Kids Violence
National Health Associations
Definitively Link Media
to Child Violence


Four groups form a consensus on the link between violence in television, music, video games and movies to increased agression in children. (Photodisc)


ABCNEWS.com
W A S H I N G T O N, July 26 — Four national health associations today definitively linked violence in television, music, video games and movies to increased aggression in children.
    
“Its effects are measurable and long-lasting,” according to a joint statement by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. “Moreover, prolonged viewing of media violence can lead to emotional desensitization toward violence in real life.”
     The statement was the centerpiece of an public health summit on entertainment violence organized by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. in Washington D.C. today. Two panels of experts, one of which discussed traditional media, such as television and movies, and another which focused on the newer field of interactive technologies, such as video games, convened at the conference.
     “The approach toward interactive media is still new and needs additional study,” said an American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson today. The pediatrics association currently is running a public education campaign geared toward parents called Media Matters, but it focuses predominantly on media violence in television and movies.
     The campaign encourages parents to critically view television and advises them to be more involved in their children’s viewing. According to the statement, the average American child spends 28 hours a week watching television and about an hour a day surfing the Internet or playing video games.
     “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 behaviors, particularly in children,” the organizations’ statement says.
     But, Laurence Steinberg, distinguished university professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, disagreed with the tone of today’s statement, saying, “To my knowledge, there is good evidence that watching violent television and film increases aggression in children. But there is a far cry between ‘aggression’ (which in most of the studies that have been done, could include things like pushing peers on the playground or acting agggressively in a lab situation) and serious violence. I know of no research to support the fact that watching violent tv or film makes children behave in ways that the general public thinks of when the word ‘violence’ is used.”

Statement Called a Turning Point
Advocating a code of conduct for the entire entertainment industry, Brownback compared today’s initiative by the medical community to a declaration that cigarettes can cause cancer.
     “I think this is an important turning point,” said Brownback. “Among the professional community, there’s no longer any doubt about this. For the first time, you have the four major medical and psychiatric associations coming together and stating flatly that violence in entertainment has a direct effect on violence in our children.”
     The Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Broadcasters refused to comment on the medical associations’ statement.
     While the associations’ wrote, “ "We in no way mean to imply that entertainment violence is the sole, or even necessarily the most important factor contributing to youth aggression, anti-social attitudes, and violence. Family breakdown, peer influences, the availability of weapons, and numerous other factors contribute to these problems….”
     Today’s statement left little doubt about the medical community’s stand on violence in entertainment.
     “Children who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts. Children exposed to violence are more likely to assume that acts of violence are acceptable behavior,” the statement said.
     “Viewing violence can lead to emotional desensitization toward violence in real life. It can decrease the likelihood that one will take action on behalf of a victim when violence occurs.”
     “Viewing violence may lead to real-life violence. Children exposed to violent programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life than children who are not so exposed.”
     Brownback said he hopes the statement will convince lawmakers that something has to be done about media violence. And, “I hope parents will look at this and say that they’re going to have to police their children’s entertainment violence content the same way they police what their children eat and other health issues.”

‘A Part of Life’
One entertainment violence monitoring group, The Lion & Lamb Project in nearby Bethesda, Md., cheered the statement.
     “Right now, the message we’re sending children in the media is that violence is OK ... that it’s part of life and sometimes it’s even funny,” Executive Director Daphne White said. “We’re even using violence for humor now.”
     Jeff Bobeck, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters, said television now has V-chips and a rating system to help parents take control of what their children watch. “We think more parents need to control their remote control,” Bobeck said.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.


 SEARCH ABCNEWS.com FOR MORE ON …
  LIVE EVENTS
BOARDS: Does a 'violent media' influence kids?  LIVE


Related Stories
Doctors Want Violence Counseling for Kids

Study: G-rated Cartoons Surprisingly Violent




W E B  L I N K S
Motion Picture Association of America

National Association of Broadcasters

The Lion & Lamb Project


Copyright 2000 ABC News Internet Ventures. Click here for Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and Internet Safety Information applicable to this site.