Remember the days when monkey bars seemed as high as skyscrapers? When a Barbie was an actual person? Or when your own backyard became an exotic jungle? Imagination is at its peek when you're a kid. Those were the days.
But as a kid, we might not have realized just how much our own environment has influenced our behavior. Whether that be a television program like "Blues Clues" or "Barney" that left us feeling happy or relatively calm, or programs like "Power Rangers" and "Ninja Turtles" that left us feeling more active and aggressive. Looking back on it now, both sides of the spectrum seemed to have the capability to influence a child's behavior for better or for worse.
Today, it seems as if each day another violent video game or television program has its debut, and there is a growing debate in our culture regarding the various effects violence in the media have on the behavior and development of children. The situation is that while the video game industry generates billions in revenue, kids are finding more and more ways to expose themselves to different types of violent messages. Themes like murder, drugs, alcohol, racism, foul language, disrespect of the law, and other violent and suggestive themes can be found in plaguing our nation's youth. In the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry's article titled: "Children and Video Games: Playing With Violence," exposure to these types of video games can suggest a consequence of poor social skills, isolation, lower grades, obesity, and most controversial, aggressive behavior. In Miranda Hitti's article "Media Violence Spurs Fear, Aggression in Kids" she writes, "Ideally, producers would be sensitive to the power they wield, and parents would know what their kids are viewing...But in the real world, it can be hard for parents to monitor their children's media habits. With TV, movies, videos, and computer games, many parents don't know what their kids see every day."
Although there is much speculation about the various negative effects violence in the media have on children, I believe that it is important to take into account one lurking variable: the amount of influence children have on other children. Perhaps it isn't the violence in a certain television program that causes a kid to be violent, rather, as shown in the Kare 11 study, other children simply wanting to "fit in" by mimicking their fellow classmates. To me, this is important to take into consideration before making the assertion that violent television programs cause aggressive behavior. In the video recording taken of the day care classroom following the Power Rangers program, yes the kids tended to be more active and aggressive, but as depicted, it seemed as if more kids would simply look at what their classmates were doing and want to simply join in the fun. Furthermore, there needs to be a distinct line between "play" fighting (which we all did as kids, especially us boys), and "real" fighting.