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What's the Impact of Media and Screen Violence on Children?


Research shows that viewing or playing violent content could have an effect on children. This applies to both real and fictional violence that they might see on-screen. Violence that children absorb through TV, social media, movies, games, and other entertainment can:

  • Raise their levels of fear, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues
  • Desensitize them to the pain and suffering of others
  • Increase the chances of them acting aggressively

As hard as you try, you won't be able to avoid all exposure to violent media and entertainment. Our nonstop news cycle and social media feeds can make it difficult to avoid disturbing images. If your child learns about a tragic event or witnesses graphic photos or videos, talk with them about it in an age-appropriate way.

At home, parents and caregivers have some control over what kids play and watch. If you'd like to limit how much violence your child sees in entertainment, try looking at reviews before pressing play. Look for entertainment that's free of violence and that your kids will enjoy. If your kid is ready to handle more violent media, you can introduce it age-appropriately and discuss it together. In the meantime, choose movies that aren't too scary, find alternatives to violent games, and seek out podcasts that help them express their emotions.

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