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Tips for Parents:  Children and Media Violence | PDF

Multiple major scientific studies have shown a solid link between repeated exposure to media violence and increased negative behavior in children. The following Tips for Parents will help parents combat Children and Media Violence.

The most common negative behaviors linked to children who regularly experience media violence are:

  • Becoming less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others

  • Becoming more fearful of the world around them

  • Acting out in aggressive or harmful ways toward others

  • A desire for more and more violence in entertainment and real life

The research shows that young children (under the age of 8) are more likely to be negatively affected by media violence, even when they were told that the violence wasn’t real; and early exposure is linked to increased aggressive behavior over the long term.  

Recent research also suggests a link between exposure to video game violence and an immediate decrease in brain activity regulating self-control.

What is media violence?

Media violence is any violent act committed by a person or character on television, the internet, or in movies or video games.  This can include anything from cartoon characters pushing each other to the graphic portrayal of killings on film and video games. 

Are older children also affected?

Yes.  Media violence has even been linked to increased aggressive behavior in adults.

What should parents do?

Experts strongly recommend that parents closely monitor what their children watch and play.  Don’t assume that just because a movie is rated “G”, or a video game is rated “E” that it is appropriate for all children.  Screen the items by watching them yourself ahead of time, or at the very least, watch them with your children and discuss what you see with them. 

Organizations that provide family-friendly reviews of films, television shows, video games, music, and websites are a great tool for parents, but don’t assume a media review knows your child better than you do.

For more information:

English/Ingles:

Commense Sense Media  Provides accurate information about content in film, music, video games, TV, and books, but conservative parents may find the age recommendations not appropriate for their children. 

National Institute on Media and the Family.  With fact sheets, resources, and ways to get involved.


Iowa State research on the effects of violent video games, video game recommendations, and video and radio segments on the topic. 

Español/Spanish:

Los Niños y la Violencia en la Televisión

Medios con Sentido Común, Los Medios y Nuestros Hijos

You may also find these Tips for Parents helpful:

Tips for Parents: Family Movie Reviews

Tips for Parents: Too Much TV

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