Researchers Investigate Effects of Media Violence on Children

Information gleaned from the parenting.com study found that 90 percent of movies, 68 percent of video games, and 60 percent of TV shows show some depictions of violence.

by Jeff Maher (published for NEWS 10 SACRAMENTO)

Do you pay close attention to what your kids watch on television? How about what video games they play? Many parents do not, and researchers at parenting.com wanted to investigate whether a direct link could made between between violence in the media and violent behavior in children.

Information gleaned from the parenting.com study found that 90 percent of movies, 68 percent of video games, and 60 percent of TV shows show some depictions of violence. But despite the extensive amount of violence, parents are not helpless to control the amount of violence to which their children are exposed.

Parenting.com put suggested avoiding some of the most violent video games, such as "Mortal Combat", "Dead Space 2", "Medal of Honor", "Assassin's Creed", "Halo", and "Call of Duty".

According to the Hartford Courant, when police searched Adam Lanza's home following the Newtown massacre, they found thousands of dollars worth of violent video games. "Call of Duty" was reported to be a favorite of Lanza.

Ali Syed, the 20-year-old community college student who shot and killed three people before turning the gun on himself in Orange County earlier this month was also described as an obsessive gamer who lived with his parents.

Parenting.com found that no single factor that can make a non-violent person act violently, but prolonged exposure to violence in the media presents a risk factor.

Researchers advise parents to follow ratings on games. Also, they suggest keeping games out of the bedroom and in the living room where they can be viewed as children play. Another tip offered by researchers was to rent before buying. That way, parents can play the game to gauge the level of violence.

When it comes to television programming, researchers suggest parents record programs prior to allowing their children to watch. This offers more control over what children actually see, researchers say.