The Impact of Media Violence on Today’s Youth

Violence has always been evident in our culture. However, there has been a significant increase of the amount of violence we showcase through different aspects of media. It feels as though everywhere we turn, we see a portrayal of aggressive behavior and violence through advertisements, video games, internet, and social media. Today, children are exposed to an inappropriate amount of violence in our society. The amount of a child’s violence exposure can be cognitively, emotionally, and socially damaging to the child. Early exposure to such violence results in aggressive behaviors and actions, aggressive thoughts, aggressive emotions, and an increased risk of an unrealistic depiction of reality. Children who spend hours a day consumed in iPads, television, movies, video games, etc. can easily begin to associate fantasy with reality. When so often, a child is exposed to fictional violence through media, he or she gains a distorted view of reality and may start to overlap fictional violence in the real world. Young children are still developing not only physically, but cognitively. If we overexpose them to fictional violence and aggression while they are still developing, how can we expect children to not become aggressive and develop an unrealistic depiction of reality? Sometimes overexposure to violence results in a strong sense of fear in a child, rather than aggression. Children may become fearful of the world around them and not feel as though they are protected by anyone or anything. I do not feel as though I was “sheltered” growing up, but my parents did protect me from overexposure to violence and aggression. My parents monitored mine and my sisters’ access to the computer and internet, television, and radio. Of course, technology has advanced since I was a child and the media is more accessible today than it was when I was growing up. However, in order to keep our children safe, we must monitor their social media, internet, and television use. Even some children’s movies and television shows contain violence that may negatively affect a child during the developmental stage. When children hit the “age of reasoning” and begin to easily separate fantasy from reality and understand the concept of fiction, there is less of a sense of urgency to monitor their violence exposure, yet there are still negative effects associated with exposure to violence that we must be mindful of. I believe “it takes a village.” A balance of monitoring in the school and home environments will make a difference in protecting a child from violence exposure. It is unrealistic to think that we can COMPLETELY shelter our children from today’s society’s violence in media, but parents can monitor their child’s exposure in the home and teachers and administration can monitor student’s exposure to violence and aggression in the school environment.

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