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Attempts to Reduce Exposure to Media Violence Among Kids Have Failed

by Medindia Content Team on  December 25, 2007 at 12:46 PM Child Health News   - G J E 4
Attempts to Reduce Exposure to Media Violence Among Kids Have Failed
Psychologists at the Iowa State University say that most public policy attempts to reduce children's exposure to media violence in the US have failed.

They have also cited various reasons for the failure of public policy attempts.
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"One reason is what's called 'the third-person effect' -- that it's a lot easier to notice these types of effects on other people rather than in ourselves and those closest to us. So most parents don't think media violence affects their kids," said Douglas Gentile, assistant Professor of Psychology.

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"That's partly because media violence effects accumulate slowly and people aren't good at detecting small changes -- even though those changes could be big by the end," he added.

Distinguished Professor of Psychology Craig Anderson said that news media primarily focus on violent media effects in terms of atrocities like Columbine. 

"This confusion about equating media violence with extreme atrocities allows people to think that there are no effects on them because we all know that we've watched lots of media violence and never gone on a shooting rampage, but that's not where we should look for the effects, " he said.

 "The effects are more subtle. In order to do something seriously violent, one must have multiple risk factors for aggression -- media violence is only one risk factor, and it's not the largest one. It's also not the smallest," he added.

The courts had earlier pulled down the efforts to restrict children's access to violent video games, saying that it would be infringement of children's First Amendment rights.

The researchers suggested that the difference in conceptions of the causality used by scientists and the legal experts could also be the reasons behind its failure.

The authors also suggested various alternatives for public policy for reducing media exposure in children. 

They say that by providing a public forum for research to be discussed would help the legislators to translate scientific research into publicly accessible language and would be the most effective policy.

"Perhaps the single most effective policy that could be created to help parents manage children's media would be to mandate the creation of one universal rating system that could be used for all media, including TV, movies, video games, and recorded music," they wrote.

They suggested that helpful policy initiatives could be instituted at the school, district, state, or federal levels for implementing a set of media literacy standards for children.

Source: ANI
KAR/M
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