Fast and Furious; Growing up in a Media Saturated World
By Father John Flynn, LC
ROME, AUG. 17, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Violence, video games, and sex: what effect does it have on children and adolescents? The latest contribution to this debate comes in a book recently published in Australia.
“Growing Up Fast and Furious,” is a collection of essays edited by Wayne Warburton and Danya Braunstein (The Federation Press).
In his contribution Warburton, Deputy Director of the Children and Families Research Center at Macquarie University (Sydney), noted that in the United States children aged 8-18 are exposed to an average of almost 11 hours of media each day. Children in other countries might not reach this level, but they are not far behind, he added.
In recent years media is not only more portable but it is also easier for children to access it in multiple places within and outside the home. This means it is increasingly difficult for parents to monitor their children’s media consumption, Warburton observed.
Looking at the research Warburton commented that media is a powerful teacher, for both good and bad, and the effects can be both short and long-term.
John P. Murray, who has been researching children’s social development for almost 40 years in the United States in a number of academic position, looked into the matter of the effects of media violence.
Some decades ago studies clearly demonstrate that the viewing of violence and aggressive behaviour are clearly related, but they do not establish a cause and effect relationship.
More recent studies do, however, lead to the conclusion that viewing violence does affect the attitudes and behaviour of viewers, he said.
Violent video games was the topic of an essay by Warburton and Craig A. Anderson, a professor of psychology at Iowa State University. Video games can enhance the lives of children and adolescents they said, but exposure to anti-social and violent video games increases the likelihood of a range of negative outcomes, they warned.
Video games, they noted, can improve visual and spatial skills and can also be a valuable instrument in teaching children.
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