Parents trying to limit their kids' exposure to violent media now have a little more support -- from your kids' pediatrician. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "Exposure to violence in media, including television, movies, music, and video games, represents a significant risk to the health of children and adolescents."
That means that dealing with the physical and mental health problems associated by overexposure to violent media is now part of the organization's official policy. Pediatricians might now ask kids about their media lives -- like how much TV they watch, whether they have a TV in their room, what kind of video games they play, and how much time they spend consuming media. If the replies suggest too much, your pediatrician might now counsel you and your kid on creating a "safer" media environment.
Beyond that, the AAP indicates that it will promote more responsible portrayal of violence to media producers and more useful and effective media ratings. (Of course, you can always rely on ours!)
This is welcome news to many parents. In addition to acknowledging the real danger of overexposure to violent media, the AAP is fostering a shared discussion about media concerns and giving parents some parameters.
This could ease conversations with your kids' friends' parents about your family's media rules -- like what you'd prefer that your kid not play at a friend's house. It also removes some of the secrecy from a kid's media life, so kids can share something from a game or show that may have confused them but they didn't know how to talk about.
If more parents are talking about media with their doctors, more parents will talk about it with each other -- and that will help all families.