Can Children Become Desensitized to Violence?
For most people, the main concern about media violence is that it will make children act more violently. However, there are other effects of media violence such as desensitization. This means that when children (or adults) see violence in the media all the time, they begin to accept it as normal. They are less and less shocked when they see violence. Studies have shown that after seeing a lot of media violence, people are less likely to try to stop violence when they see it happen in real life.
Using violent media can also make all of us see the real world in unrealistic and often frightening ways. The TV world is one where violence is common, violent criminals are everywhere, and murders happen everyday.
As we watch this world, we begin to include these violent qualities in how we understand the real world. For example, people who watch a lot of TV are much more likely to think crimes that are common in shows like CSI or Vanished will happen to them.
© 2004-2008 Center on Media and Child Health, Children's Hospital Boston.
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