Monday, 17 September 2012

The Effects of Violent Media on Children

The Effects of Violent Media on Children

By Felicity Baker

If you took yourself down to your local shopping mall and had a look around, you will see shops filled with violent video games, DVD's etc. Somehow it has become accepted as part of our society. There is nothing wrong with it, after all it's not real.

I remember speaking to some parents who took their 2 year old son to every movie they wanted to see (including violent ones). By their thinking, it was way over their child's head so it would have no affect on him. Or would it?

What you may not realise is that a child is unable to distinguish the difference between reality and fantasy until they are 8 or 9 years old. No matter how many times you tell them "it isn't real", they won't fully comprehend it and certainly won't accept it. Even if they tell you they do.

During these years our children's minds are like open valves taking everything in, processing it and forming beliefs from it. They are learning from every piece of information that enters their minds how to interact with others and of course themselves. The more they see violence they begin to tolerate it and even accept it as being normal.

Watching violent movies or playing violent games can also increase anxiety levels in a child. If they believe what they see, then they may start fearing for their own safety. They can start forming beliefs that will inhibit them from living a happy life; one they truly deserve.

So what about older children and teenagers? After all they are able to distinguish the difference between fantasy and reality so watching violent movies or playing violent games should be irrelevant shouldn't it?

Have you ever watched a movie and been disturbed or saddened by it? Even though you still understand that it is only fantasy, you are still affected by it. Why? Because your subconscious can't tell the difference between reality and fantasy. That is why you are moved in such a way. Your subconscious believes what you are watching is actually true.

So imagine for a moment if your teenage son plays nothing but violent video games. Subconsciously they can't understand that it really isn't happening. Then of course you get what you focus on. The more you focus on violence the more there seems to be violence in the world. From a personal perspective this can mean a whole lot of things; perhaps with the person becoming more violent or even finding themselves in more violent situations.

Many parents today overlook the classifications of games and movies. There is one particular game that comes to mind that has a classification of MA 15+, which of course means it is not suitable for children under 15 years of age. In fact if you aren't 15 and over you can't even buy the game. I have seen the game played and the graphics are extremely real and particularly gruesome. (I can't understand why anyone would want to play it, but that's just me.) Yet I know children as young as 9 are playing it. As they can't buy the game themselves, I can only presume their parents have bought it for them.

While it may be true that once your teenagers reach 15+, we can't stop them from buying such games, we certainly can stop the amount of time they play on them. Then by flooding their focus on positive media we can tip the balance.

Just because everyone else does it, doesn't make it right. In my experience, children and teenagers who are happy and feel good about themselves are nurtured and given material to stimulate them; helping them to grow into being happy adults.

Felicity Baker is a mindset expert, author and speaker who specialises in empowering children and the child within us all. Her website Joyful Horizons for Kids is the #1 Single Resource For Parents On Creating Strong and Positive Self-Esteem In Their Kids Today and In The Future.

Felicity's "NO THEORY ONLY" philosophy means that everything she recommends has already been "tested" with her own children and the results are positive and proven. Today she helps parents create a brighter future for their kids and help them create their own phenomenal family.

For a FREE Video Series on Building Your Child's Self-Esteem visit http://joyfulhorizonsforkids.com/freevideo

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