By Assia Mortensen
There is no doubt that most Americans love television. Televisions reside in 99 percent of American homes today and more than half of kids have a set in the bedroom, notes Eugene Beresin, M.D., director of child and adolescent psychiatry residency training at Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital.
Nielsen Media Research notes that average American children are watching in excess of 19 hours of TV per week, and in some cases, this is more than they spend interacting with family members, going to school, playing, exercising or playing with friends.
Many programs contain a great deal of violence, which can demonstrate a false kind of conflict resolution, Dr. Beresin reports, and all of the consequences of a violent act may not be included within a program.
Dozens of studies have looked at the correlation between violence in media and the behavior of children. There is ample evidence indicating that violence has some negative influence on children’s behavior in the short and long term. A research summary published by the American Psychological Society entitled “The Impact of Media Violence on Youth” found “an unequivocal link” between TV violence and youth violence. The researchers found that exposure of violence in the media can cause aggressive verbal and physical behavior.
The answer, according to some researchers, is to monitor and/or limit the amount of television a child watches, especially programs that contain violence. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids under two years old not watch any TV and that those older than two watch no more than one to two hours a day of quality programming.
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American Academy of Pediatrics; Pulling the Plug on TV Violence; Accessed September 27, 2012
American Academy of Pediatrics; The Impact of Media Violence on Children and Adolescents: Opportunities for Clinical Interventions; Accessed September 27, 2012
The Academy of Psychological Science; The Impact of Media Violence on Youth; Accessed September 27, 2012