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The AAP’s First Recommendations For Dealing With Violence In The Media As A Parent

Eje Gustafsson

You know one of your chief responsibilities is to keep young kids away from violent images, but this year’s new  is making it impossible to do your job. From Orlando to Philando, the state of the world may have left you at a loss for paternal words on more than one occasion recently. In the wake of all these tragedies, the American Academy of Pediatrics released official recommendations this week on how to manage violence in the media for parents — and everyone else.

The policy statement titled “Virtual Violence,” will be published in the August issue of Pediatrics and includes a meta-analysis of hundreds of studies about effects of all media on children, as well as advice for pediatricians, industry, policy makers, and of course, you. They recommend that children 6 years old and younger should be shielded from violence media, especially virtual violence, because they can’t always distinguish fantasy from reality. The statement also calls for pediatricians to inquire about media consumption during checkups and consider prescribing “media diets” if necessary — as in, your kid needs less of it. Finally, it advocates for members of the “news and information media” (as opposed to the video game media) to acknowledge the “proven scientific connection between virtual violence and real-world aggression.”

Simply put, the virtual violence the AAP wants you to shield your kid from, and the real world violence you’re struggling to explain to them, are linked. Unfortunately it’s impossible to know how much each individual kid will be affected. “If you’re talking about a kid who is in a home either as a witness or has experienced violence or abuse, or kids who have fallen in with other kids who are a bad influence, they might be more vulnerable,” Michael Robb, a clinical psychologist and director of research at Common Sense Media explains. While you can’t protect them from everything (not that you’ll ever stop trying), virtual violence is no match for the reality of being a mindful parent.

[H/T] CBS News