1. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) acknowledges the link between exposure to violence in media and subsequent increase in aggressive behaviors among children.
2. The AAP offers guidance to pediatricians, parents, policymakers and the entertainment industry on the appropriate exposure and use of violence in entertainment and gaming.
Policy Rundown: Violence in American media is ubiquitous, and the exposure of American children to violence in gaming and other forms of media entertainment is unavoidable. There has been little in the way of legislative action to limit the type of violence in media, despite the well-founded scientific basis of the negative impact of violence on children’s attitudes and behaviors. The AAP encourages pediatricians to counsel parents on the significant impact of violence exposure, and the benefits of managing their children’s “media diets.” Parents should be aware of what their children watch, and the video games their kids play. The policy states that first-person shooter games are inappropriate for all children, while children under 6 years of age should be especially sheltered against media violence due to developmental limitations in distinguishing fantasy from reality. The entertainment industry is encouraged to avoid glamorization of violence, instead portraying this theme in a more thoughtful and serious way. News outlets must acknowledge the scientific basis connecting media violence exposure and its behavioral impacts in children. Equating industry-based unscientific opinions to those of vetted experts in the scientific field is inappropriate. State and local policymakers should promote laws that provide parents with better information about media content and limit minors’ access to violent media. Finally, the federal government is encouraged to create and run an objective rating system that is outside the influence of the entertainment industry.
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