Dr. AnwerEvery child is valuable, and their development is a culmination of learned patterns from exposures through out there life. “Children ≥8 years of age and adolescents in the United States spend an average of >2 hours per day watching television, and at least six hours per day when all types of media are included.” Below are some key points extracted from the above-mentioned article.

The average American child who spends two-thirds of his or her television time watching prime-time television programs and one-third watching cartoons, views 10,000 to 12,000 violent acts per year. American children see an estimated 8000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence by the time they finish grade school and twice that many by the time they reach 20 years of age. Music videos and video games are sources of violent content. In a review of 518 music videos broadcast on television, 462 acts of overt interpersonal violence were portrayed. Content analysis of 81 randomly selected video games for teenagers found that 98 percent involved intentional violence, 90 percent rewarded or required the player to injure other characters, and 69 percent rewarded or required the player to kill.

A 2016 statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications advises that most experts in the ​field agree on the potential harms of exposure to all forms of screen violence and states that “first-person shooter games, in which killing others is the central theme, are not appropriate for any children” .

Nearly every study examining the relationship between television or other media violence (including violent video games) and subsequent violent behavior has demonstrated a positive association.

The explanation to this account for the association between viewing violence and subsequent violent conduct has two components, desensitization to and normalization of violence.

Children who are exposed repeatedly to media violence accept violence as a normal part of life and a way to solve problems.

Finally, below are some very important key action items from the article:

  • Where are the screen media access points located in the household, or are they pocket sized like a smartphone?
  • How much screen media does the child watch? For example, does the child use screen media after school, after dinner, and on weekends?
  • What are some of the child’s favorite shows, video games or other digital activities?
  • Remove screen time for children younger than 2 years of age as it is detrimental for the developing brain (the exception would be video chatting, which should also be minimized until 18 months of age).
  • Limit children’s total media time to a maximum of one hour per day once they are 2 year or older. See tips below about always discussing what was watched.
  • Remove television sets and computers from children’s bedrooms and recommend that children not sleep with other devices (eg, smartphones) in their bedrooms.
  • Monitor the shows that are viewed and digital games that are played by children and adolescents; avoid violent content as much as possible.
  • View media with children and discuss the content:
    • Is this real or pretend?
    • Is this how we do things at home?
    • What do you think would happen if you did that?
  • Play digital games with children and adolescents to better understand what the games entail.
  • For older children, if they happened to watch controversial programming, use the opportunity to initiate discussions about family values, violence, sexuality, and drugs.
  • Encourage alternative entertainment for children (eg, reading, athletics, hobbies, and creative play)
  • Use devices or apps to block or filter unauthorized television/media/ smartphone content.

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March 2020