How do I talk to my kids about violence on TV and in movies or games?

Violence is everywhere: in video games, movies, books, music videos, and cartoons, on the nightly news and the Web, and even in commercials. And kids are being exposed at younger and younger ages. Talking about media violence helps to manage its impact on your kid. Here are some ideas for those conversations.

Help your kids express their feelings. Urge them to identify the feelings that are triggered by seeing violent media: anger, sadness, or even excitement. Creating a safe and nonjudgmental space for exploring those feelings helps their emotional maturity.

Help your kids tap into feelings of empathy. The more media violence kids are exposed to, the more "normal" it appears. Repeated viewings can desensitize your kids to others' pain and suffering. Ask them how they'd feel in real life if someone they knew was badly hurt.

Remind them that real violence isn't a joke. A lot of violence is played for laughs. But when people get hurt, that's not entertainment. With older kids, you can talk about how certain situations (in slapstick comedy, for example) inspire conflicting emotional reactions.

Teach positive conflict resolution. Explain your values regarding violent behavior and the importance of handling clashes nonviolently. Tell kids what the consequences in society -- and in your own house -- will be for any aggressive behavior.

Explain consequences. Discuss the true consequences of violence, and point out how unrealistic it is for people to get away with violent behavior.

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Comments

Kid, 11 years old

Let us take a very violent game, God of War as an example, and do something with it. Games do not make kids violent, or enjoy violence. Games are not large influences in life. They are entertainment. This game, God of War, was very popular, but incredibly violent, featuring the main character brutally murdering all his enemies. If this game influenced kids, and a lot of kids played it, then we would see fights daily and mass genocide. But there is not. Let us take another game, Dark Souls into account. Lots of players, but violent and very hard. You stab nerds with swords in this game. But how often do you see children with metal blades screaming obscenities while slicing the milk man in half? That is right, you never have. Finally, let us take a game that has become incredibly popular, Fortnite Battle Royale. This game includes guns. School shootings occur quite a lot now. But this game does not cause it. Correlation does not equal causation. Mental illness is the main reason these tragic incidents occur. If your child enjoys seeing people hurt, this is sadism. Go to a therapist. But if your child does something violent in a video game without another thought, this does not make him a bad person. The things in the game never existed, and your child does not have the tools, time nor the want to blow up a building.
Teen, 16 years old written by Rando person

Look, I'm a kid and you all clearly need some help. You will have to expose your children sometime, so don't hold back until they're 13 and have the biggest shock of their life at SexEd. Also, don't just tell it all to them one day, ease it on, bit by bit as they get older. Trust me you don't want to just leave the "Talk" to the school.