How Does Violence in Media Affect Youth

Reagan Fausett

When you turn on the TV nowadays, it seems like you can hardly avoid seeing some sort of violence. Even movie ratings have become less and less sensitive to violence—what used to be rated R has become PG-13 or PG-13 has become PG. With violence becoming more prevalent in the media, are we paying attention to how it affects our children? If we aren’t, we should start asking ourselves a few questions. How does violence in the media affect youth? How can media violence influence behavior? And does violent media cause violence in children? Let’s take a look at a few of the answers. 

Why Violent Media is Bad for Kids

Chances are you have a child who loves to play video games. This might not be a big deal to you, but have you ever seen what kinds of games they’re playing? Whether it be Call of Duty, Fortnite, Among Us, or even Super Smash Bros, the majority of these games involve violence—some of which are shockingly gruesome. So how does violence in the media affect youth like your kids?

How Can Media Violence Influence Behavior?

Ever notice how you start to get used to something unpleasant once you’re around it enough? A smell, a bad neighborhood, a spouse (just kidding). It’s the same thing with violence. Once your kids are around it enough, violence isn’t going to bother them anymore—they become desensitized to it. Pretty soon, things that even adults struggle watching won’t even phase kids. And if seeing violence stops bothering your kids, who’s to say that they won’t become more violent themselves?

Does Violent Media Cause Violence in Children?

If you’ve ever spent a lot of time with someone, you’ll know that it’s pretty easy to pick up their mannerisms. It’s no wonder that violence has the same effect on kids. As kids see and participate in violent media, they become more prone to violent thoughts and actions. Though you might not realize it, the violence that your children are exposed to might be affecting them in serious ways. 

How to Help Your Kids Avoid Violence

So with all of this violent media around, how do you keep your kids protected? 

Know What Media Your Kids Use

Before you buy that new game your kids have been begging for, do a little research. There might be more violence in it than you previously had realized. Because violent media is bad for kids, make sure that your kids aren’t watching TV shows or movies that contain a lot of violence. Many shows today glorify the perpetrators of crime and violence, so make sure to teach your kids that violence and aggression aren’t things heroes do—and not something they should do either. And if you’re worried about what your kids do on their devices, check out Troomi. Troomi can help you regulate the content your child sees, making sure that it’s age appropriate. 

Discourage Aggressive Behavior

When your children exhibit aggression, discourage their behavior through discipline, but make sure they understand why their behavior isn’t ok. If you discipline them without explaining the reason, they won’t take it as seriously. But if you teach them what aggression can lead to, they’ll be more likely to avoid it in the future. 

Though it seems hard to do, you can help your kids avoid violent media. Now that you know why violent media is bad for kids, help your kids begin to understand it as well. Teach them why they shouldn’t watch violent movies, play violent games, and why they shouldn’t do things that might lead to violent behavior. As your children start to understand more about how seeing violence can affect them, they will be better about monitoring their own media consumption when you’re not there to do it for them.