Media violence has dire effects on children

Campbell Brown: The President Gives Hollywood a Pass on Violence, The Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2013

An excellent article that should be read and reread by those concerned about media violence.

As Ms. Brown correctly states, the major professional organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the AMA have all squarely concluded that media violence has dire effects on children. This included emotional numbing to violence, increased fear and greater proneness to seeing violence as a way to solve a problem and then resorting to it more readily.

Though I have stated all of this frequently in my articles and tweets over the last year, it is clear how the matter of media violence has become politicized. While I am generally a supporter of Mr Obama and Mr Biden, it is distressing to see how they have apparently uncoupled this subject from the issue of gun control, even though the two are inextricably linked. I was astonished to read that when Mr. Biden’s task force was doing its work, he never met with those organizations or researchers who have been sounding the alarm bells about the problems with media violence, only those on the other side, namely the makers of these films, TV shows, etc.

Is this just a matter of lobbying forces winning out? The idea of calling for more studies is always an easy way to punt the controversy into the future. While more research is always helpful to refine certain points, and such research is constantly being done, calls for such research will undoubtedly lead to jockeying for center stage among researchers, struggles over who will get the funding, and then a need to look carefully and trenchantly at the results of such studies, even though plenty of research on the basic questions has already been done.