Does Media Violence Affect Kids? AAP Report Too Late for This Student

AAP‘s “Media Violence” report was released Monday, a report that claims that the truth of the effect of media on our kids is falling on deaf ears. Two days later, a CSUS student beats his roommate to death with a baseball bat.

Are you listening?

My city has been in the news quite a bit this year. First, a California State University Sacramento (CSUS) student auctions off her virginity for 3.7 million dollars, then the cheerleading coach at my son’s high school poses for Playboy… both stories making national news. Now yesterday, a CSUS student allegedly beat his roommate to death with a baseball bat, “delivering the fatal blows before he was shot and wounded by campus police.” (Sacramento Bee)

CSUS police shot the 19-year-old student after he charged at them with a knife. His roommate, the beating victim, was pronounced dead Wednesday afternoon… the kid who swung the bat is in stable condition, even after being shot by campus police.

Where does this aggression come from?

It’s ironic that this violence happened literally just 2 days after the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released their report- a policy statement- on Media Violence, concluding that the associations of media violence and aggressive behavior are, and I quote, “nearly as strong as the association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.” (you can download the whole report as a PDF here)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been hearing people dismiss these kinds of reports for decades, labeling them pure conjecture. Apparently the AAP feels that resistance to the truth, verbalizing this frustration in their report:

“The weight of scientific evidence has been convincing to pediatricians, with more than 98% of pediatricians in 1 study expressing the personal belief that media violence affects children’s aggression. Yet, the entertainment industry, the American public, politicians, and parents all have been reluctant to accept these findings and to take action. The debate should be over.”


The AAP released two reports early this week. The above mentioned on Media Violence, and another on Music, Lyricis, & Music Videos. Both reports contain the same conclusions. Media affects kids big time, and parents have a huge impact as a moderator of these influences. Next week, our Youth Culture Window article looks at these reports in depth. (Oh, what the heck. You can click here for a sneak peek at that article! It will be on the front page of our site next week.)

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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2 Responses to Does Media Violence Affect Kids? AAP Report Too Late for This Student

  1. bignateym says:

    When the kids are constantly immersed in it how can it not have an effect? But the reality is some people are making some really big money off of it even more than cigarettes and so it continues on. Those of us who are youth leaders and parents have to protect our kids and teach them to protect themselves. Here is some advise that should be a no brainer-Don’t watch SAW movies. Caught about 1 minute of one on spike when I was flipping channels. The people who come up with that should be put some place where they get the help they need. I think I would rather catch my kid watching porn than two hours of what I saw.

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