Are we really living in a world that is getting more violent?
Do you worry about the affect of violence on your children? We sadly seem to be surrounded by constant news stories of acts of violence by one human being on another. May be this is resulting in your child becoming de-sensitized to violence and demonstrating aggressive behaviour. Or may be it is causing them to become afraid of the world that they live in and distrusting of the people that they meet. I know this is a concern for many parents.
“I have just been beaten up”
This was one of the most distressing sentences I could hear when I picked up the phone to a very good friend of mine. I could hear the fear, the anger and the pain in his shaky voice. He had been viciously attacked by 2 people, and as is often the case, one of his attackers was someone he knew. It was incredibly upsetting to hear about the attack and to see the photographs of my friend immediately after. I felt like the violence somehow had an affect on every cell in my body putting me in a high state of anxiety and causing me to cry uncontrollably once I put the phone down. I could not believe one human being could do this to another.
I have thought much about the violence in the world over the last couple of weeks. Every day the tv news shows people hurting people in different places but it gives a distorted picture. I was brought up during the ‘troubles’ in Ireland and I can remember being so surprised on my first visit to Northern Ireland to find out it was not the whole of Ireland that was at war!
As far back as 2003 the American Psychology Association stated that watching violence on the media has 3 affects on children….
- They can become less sensitive to the pain of others
- They can become more fearful of the world around them
- They can behave in more fearful and aggressive ways
So how can you protect your child?
Here are some steps you can take in your home:-
- Parental Control – Exercise your Parental control regarding the tv programs or films that your children watch and the computer games that they play. Monitor the levels of aggression that are coming into your home through the television and computer.
- Actions – Actions speak louder than words. An old saying I know but so true. Start by showing your children that arguing and shouting does not solve anything. Have a process in place in your home for dealing with anger and disagreements.
- Consequences – Have a clear consequence for any form of aggressive behaviour and enforce that consequence consistently.
- Encourage – Aggression and violence often comes from labelling our differences and making one group or one way right and the other wrong. Encourage your children to be curious about other people and other cultures. Teach them to embrace our differences. After all it is our differences that makes the world an interesting place.
How lovely would it be if we could raise a generation of peace keepers, children who think that violence is not cool and who believe violence is not the way to solve a difference of opinion? Is that possible? Please do share your thoughts and any concerns you have about how violence on the media may be affecting your child.