Insights Into Teens: Episode 41 “Screen Violence”

This week we take a look at screen violence in the form of video games, television and movies. We look at the different types of violence and the effect it has on today’s youth. We’ll look at some interesting statistics and several studies that offer insights into both sides of the argument of whether screen violence leads to violence in today’s youth. Then we’ll take a look at what parents can do to help teens cope with the violence that is so prevalent in our current media and entertainment.

Insights Into Teens


Speaker 1: 00:01 Insightful podcast by informative insights, a podcast network.

Speaker 3: 00:26 Welcome to insights into teens, a podcast series, exploring the issues and challenges of today’s youth. Your hosts are Joseph and Madison, Whalen, a father and daughter team making their way through the challenges of the teenage years.

Speaker 2: 00:50

Speaker 4: 00:53 Let me unmute them and then say, welcome to insights into teens. This is episode 41 screen violence. I’m your host, Joseph Waylon, and my talented and thoughtful cohost, Madison Waylon. How you doing today? Maddie? What’s your cozy up to your mic? A little bit. They’re a little far away. There we go. That’s better. So today we’re going to be talking about screen violence. So we’ll talk about what screen violence is and, and there really isn’t a cut and dry definition of it, so it’s kind of a hybrid that I took from a couple of different sources. And then we’ll talk about what the characteristics of screen violence are that affect teens. Then we have some screen violence statistics. Haven’t had those in awhile. No, we haven’t. Then we’ll talk about the effects of screen violence on adolescence. And then we will talk about how to protect children from screen violence.

Speaker 4: 01:58 Before we get started, I do want to kind of mention a footnote here in doing my research on this episode I found a lot of conflicting studies. So some studies say, you know, violence in teens today can be directly attributed to onscreen violence, movies, TVs, and I’ll tell you per thing or video games. Then there are numerous other studies that say there’s no, there’s no correlation between onscreen violence and teen violence, you know, in society or societal violence. So I, I don’t really have any conclusions to draw from this other than to raise awareness at this point in time. I don’t want to come across as preaching one side of this or the other. I just think it’s worthwhile to make parents and adolescents aware of these things so that you can keep an eye on them just to, just to make sure everything is on the up and up. Okay. So shall we get started? Okay.

Speaker 4: 03:13 So I took kind of a couple of different definitions. One came from pediatrics, a pediatric site at associated and another came from a study that was done in 2016 that was published on and kind of munge them together. So what I came up with is a violence and screen entertainment media including television, film, video games, and the internet includes acts depicting characters or players trying to physically harm other characters or players. Screened violence includes violence in video games, television shows and movies. It is associated with aggressive behavior, aggressive thoughts and angry feelings in children according to a policy statement released by the American Academy of pediatrics. So we’re going to mention probably several studies during the course of the podcast today and I encourage people to go out there and do their own research on this and, and sort of draw their own conclusions. Like I had said in the beginning there wasn’t enough out there for me to come down on one side of the other. So that’s the definition that we’re working with. You kind of understand where we’re coming from when we say screen violence. Yep. Are you exposed to screen violence yourself?

Speaker 5: 04:48 In some ways, yes.

Speaker 4: 04:50 Could you elaborate?

Speaker 5: 04:51 Yeah. so you and me played this one game and I’m pretty sure most people in the audience probably heard about it call a duty. And it’s basically a game where you fight against other, against non player characters or player characters if you’re online during the game. And it’s basically about a war zone. And I can definitely concur that that’s definitely onscreen violence because it includes, it includes several ways of violence included along with basically showing blood on your screen whenever you killed someone or when you are shocked.

Speaker 4: 05:37 Right. And the version of call of duty that we play, there’s several different flavors of the game. The one that we seem to play the most often as is infinite warfare. Right. And, and in the way that we do it, the game by its very definition is violent. You’re shooting things, you’re blowing things up, you’re stabbing things.

Speaker 5: 06:01 Yeah. I mean, like I remember we would call you, we would call me Rambo because I would never stop spamming the trigger. We would use to call you Stephanie mixed up pants because you had a knife and you would stab people and you always liked doing that.

Speaker 4: 06:16 Now let me ask you a question regarding that. Have you ever seen a Rambo movie?

Speaker 5: 06:22 No, but I do know the game for, I do know the one game from a Dave and Buster’s. I S I’m, I pass by it sometimes and I noticed it says Rambo and it’s basically about a guy shooting a bunch of stuff. I think

Speaker 4: 06:37 Right. Rambo was a very violent film franchise that came out in the 80s. That was very graphic in its portrayal of violence. But you’ve never seen the movie itself so you’ve never seen that level of violence. You’d never played the game at Dave and Buster’s. I haven’t even played the game at Dave and busters. So it’s a reference that I am aware of that you’re vaguely aware of based on that limited exposure. Yeah. So, so you are exposed to screen violence at least as far as that game is concerned. Any pretty sure you’re exposed to it via television and movies too. Cause you just can’t get away from it these days. Now having that exposure, do you feel that it causes violent tendencies in you?

Speaker 4: 07:29 Are you violent?

Speaker 5: 07:33 Not unless I have my mood swings. Then I kind of get a little more when I basically, whenever I get angry I to get violent. I remember whenever I would have my mood swings I would sometimes just throw a squishy at the wall.

Speaker 4: 07:46 Okay. So describe what violence is to you.

Speaker 5: 07:50 Well, for me, violence is either is acting in a certain way that can cause harm to others. Yourself or op or any objects.

Speaker 4: 08:02 Okay. So are you harming other people?

Speaker 5: 08:05 I mean, I don’t harm other people. I definitely try not to harm other people.

Speaker 4: 08:09 Do you harm yourself?

Speaker 5: 08:11 No, I don’t know myself.

Speaker 4: 08:13 Do you harm animals?

Speaker 5: 08:15 Well, I don’t harm animals, but I could definitely say can harm the objects cause I just continue to just learn it.

Speaker 4: 08:21 Do you consider yourself a violent person?

Speaker 5: 08:24 Not really. I mean, even when I get like angry now I just tried to like go away from society and just like come myself.

Speaker 4: 08:32 Okay. So then the onscreen Volans you’re exposed to, sounds like it’s probably not a problem.

Speaker 5: 08:40 Yeah, I mean, I’ve never, I’ve never been a violent person. I’ve never like been a type of person who says like, we have to settle this after school, like on a fight or something. I’ve never been that kind of person.

Speaker 4: 08:53 Now, besides the mediums that we’ve talked so far, are there any other examples of screen violence that you can think of?

Speaker 5: 09:06 Let’s see. I guess it’s on the TV shows I might watch.

Speaker 4: 09:10 Okay. And that’s pretty typical. Like I said, you know, it’s, it’s hard not to have some level of violence on TV these days.

Speaker 5: 09:17 Yeah. So I can’t really give a specific example for which TV show, but I do know, and like some TV shows, there’s always like explosives or like in really old cartoons, there’s like explosive explosions and people can fall off cliffs as I look down. And

Speaker 4: 09:36 It’s amazing how the violence, some of the old classic cartoons are. I am.

Speaker 5: 09:41 Yeah. And like they’re pretty dark tones to them too. Some of them are pretty dark tones to it too.

Speaker 4: 09:47 All right. So I think we pretty pretty much have a good idea of what we’re talking about when we say screen violence then. Yeah. So let’s talk about when we come back. The characteristics of screen violence and affect teens. So the research for this came from a website called media and they talk about six types of screened violence and how children respond. And these are vague definitions of, of characteristics of these types of violence. So the first one they talk about is reward for violence. If a violent act is rewarded or left unpublished upon the punished, it is more likely to foster attitudes, supportive of aggression. The lack of punishment actually functions as a sanction or reward for violent behavior. What are your thoughts on that?

Speaker 5: 10:52 I couldn’t fully understand it. Could you?

Speaker 4: 10:54 So like in a video game, if you shoot a player in order for you to win a game, you have to shoot so many players. That’s a reward for violence. Do you find that type of reward system, that type of violence system makes you more aggressive, aggressive, either in game or in real life?

Speaker 5: 11:19 Well, I’m pretty sure in game it’s definitely gonna make me more, more prone to violence because that’s the whole point of the game. But in real life, I’ve never really had that problem. I mean, I know I don’t, I know it’s not real and I always have that in the back of my mind and I only do it for fun really. And I really just don’t really have it for real life.

Speaker 4: 11:45 Okay. So then this next example that we have is reality of violence. The a violent act is realistically portrayed, the more likely it is to be imitated. Older children are more emotionally responsive to programs that depict realistic events and are influenced more by violent movies that feature events that are humanly possible. So the question here is if what you see is more typical of the type of violence that happens in real life and less indicative of cartoonish style violence? Think Wiley coyote. Okay. Wiley coyote going after the road runner. He uses, you know, explosions in this ridiculously sized rocket to try and get them. Is that, are you more responsive to that or are you more responsive to end game video violence where you pull a trigger on a controller, it shoots a gun, you see someone get hit with a bullet and there’s blood where it’s kind of realistic.

Speaker 5: 13:01 I can definitely say like in cartoons you want will, you don’t really know that it’s real, you know, it can be real because it’s like this huge oversized rocket and you know, no one can really pull that off unless like you live in a cartoon. But in real life and like seeing how that can actually be possible even though call it duties, like complete, like the one we normally play is like totally in the future. And like some of the stuff doesn’t even exist. I’ve not really been prone to thinking of violence and shooting a gun. I’m more like if I’m thinking of movies and watching movies, like sometimes the Avengers have certain violence scenes and I’ve just, and I haven’t been like responsive of wanting to do that. Violence. I’ve more been terrified of that. It’s more fear than wanting to,

Speaker 4: 13:57 That’s a very good point. So the next example that they give us is violent role models. Children are more likely to imitate and look up to characters who you, whose use of violence is portrayed as necessary or attractive. Moreover, children who strongly identify with a violent media character are more likely to be aggressive themselves. Avengers is an excellent example here. So you look at things like Thor or captain America, and these are hero figures in society that we are meant to look up to because of their heroic acts, but their heroic acts are by their nature violent. Does that tend to have an influence over how you look at violence? You see heroic figures using violence?

Speaker 5: 14:54 I mean, I’ve never really thought of it like that. I can definitely say it would not motivate me to be to be violent because I’ve learned that not all super weirs, not all super heroes wear capes. Like you can be like, I know how to, I learned how you can be a superhero without being violent or having super powers or stuff like that. But I can definitely see like someone who’s a huge fan of the Avengers could be like, who didn’t know what a real, who didn’t know what makes real hero unless they saw the Avengers. And I think since they can’t really have the super powers, they would probably think like the violence part would be the best part to become that superhero if they’re really obsessed with it or just completely insane.

Speaker 4: 15:44 Okay. Okay. I can see that that kind of segues us into the next example they have and not as justified violence. The more of an act of violence is presented as justified, the more likely it is to be copied. Young children are more apt to hurt than to help appear after watching our cartoon with scenes of justified violence. So when you see a situation in a cartoon, we’ll say where somebody does something and they get hit for it and it’s portrayed as a justified version of violence. What are your thoughts on that?

Speaker 5: 16:28 I can definitely see like if someone in real life was to do something like the cartoon and someone had watched the cartoon, they would probably be act. They might react the same way. I definitely know I’ve never done that because I’m not that .

Speaker 4: 16:47 Okay. The next one they talk about here is violent connections. Viewers who find similarity between themselves and their actions and feelings and a violent act, a theme or a character in a film are more likely to imitate or emulate that violence in real life. This is particularly true of children. So for an example here, let’s talk about you watch a movie and the movie portrays a child who is being picked on by a bully. Again, we can go to captain America here. So in the first captain America film there’s someone who’s in a movie theater and he’s being rude and obnoxious and disrespectful. And Steve Rogers, before he becomes captain America decides that he’s going to stick up for everyone else in the theater and he’s going to call this guy out. So the guy takes him out in the alley and to beat ’em up at that point in time until Rogers, you know, friend finally shows up and teaches the guy a lesson through violence. So that could, a lot of kids can identify with the fact that they get picked on as kids and you know, they’re waiting for someone to step in or even for themselves to muster the carriage to finally fight back. Do you find that type of violent connection to have any kind of weight with you or any kind of justification with you where you could see yourself being violent in a situation like that?

Speaker 5: 18:26 I mean, I’ve never wanted to take a violent turn, but I can definitely see some other kids would like take a violent turn and try to like teach bullies a lesson. Like no one likes bullies, like absolutely no one. And, and there are different ways to deal with them. As we talked about in our one bullying podcast, there are different ways to deal with bullies. The worst way, I’m pretty sure is with violence. But unfortunately with onscreen violence and all that and online Marlins, it can probably have an impact on how people treat bully, how other people would like to treat boys. I can definitely say instead of wanting to fight back, I would instead use words like, like I’d step in and try to stop it, but I’m pretty sure the kid would try to beat me up as well and I would just use self-defense techniques.

Speaker 5: 19:15 Like I’ll try to block their fists. Like that’s the only kind of violence I’m really gonna get. I’m not gonna try to cause the other person harm unless they’re trying to cause me harm. I’ll just try to block them as best I can and I’m British or other kids probably won’t do them. They’ll basically beat up the bully and to be honest in school, if he actually do that, you both of you could actually end up in punishment even though you tried to help the other kid. That’s why I don’t really take to violence. Because in real life you can actually be punished like in the first top, like w like we said earlier, you actually get rewarded in video games and that can actually lead to you thinking you might get rewarded for like beating up a bullet. Like you can imagine like if you beat up a bullet, you could get reward, you could get like rewarded as a hero or something. That in real life is not true because yeah, that’s not how things work in real life. And I think that’s the major problem. Kids think kids mix up fantasy with reality and that and that just ends up in pro with problems and conflicts.

Speaker 4: 20:17 That’s a very good point. And that brings us to the last example that they have here. And I think this one tends to be the one that, that a lot of people get, a lot of people tend to focus on and that is the amount of violence. So excessive exposure to media violence may produce a psychological blunting of normal emotional responses to violent events. It may also lead to a lack of responsiveness to real life aggression. So what they’re saying here is the more violence you’re exposed to, the less egregious violence seems to you.

Speaker 4: 21:02 Almost like you build a tolerance to it. Like if you see violence, you know, people watch the news all the time and there’s constantly negative news, there’s violence, there’s, there’s attacks, there’s all kinds of different things and people tend to get desensitized when they watch that level of violence. So you turn on the next day, you’re like, Oh, okay, well let’s see, you know, who was attacked today and you’re not as outraged by it when you’re exposed to it. And as the concern that people have here is that you’re all seeing on the street and you’ll just walk past it and, and you know, you’ll just think it’s regular part of life. How do you think the amount of violence has an effect on us?

Speaker 5: 21:49 I can definitely say the effect of violence can definitely have a big impact on what we think, like people who are exposed to it a lot. I end up my say, well I’ve actually become numb to it. Like if you keep eating the same food over and over and over again or keep doing the same thing over and over again, you, you get used to seeing it, your body adapts to it and just knows it’s regular. Knowing that there’s so much onscreen violence, you just get a prone to it and you don’t really fear it. And the thing is, if you’re fear it, it, it’s less likely to happen if you don’t reel. If you lose that few over time, it just shows that you really don’t care about, about the negative effects on violence.

Speaker 4: 22:33 That’s a very good point. And I think that’s what a lot of people’s concern on is on that topic. So we’ll come back and we’ll talk about the effects of screen violence. I’m sorry. We’ll talk about the statistics. We come back. I don’t want to skip the statistics and, no, we love statistics. Yeah.

Speaker 4: 22:57 So this study comes from the national institutes of health dot gov and it’s sponsored by the national library of medicine and national institutes of health. And it comes from June of 2009 so it’s kind of old, but I think it’s still relative. The numbers may be a little bit different. So a couple of interesting things that came out of this study was children in the United States spend an average of between three and four hours per day viewing television. And they didn’t get into details about the type of television other than to talk about the fact that there’s a lot of violence on there. So three or four hours a day. Do you, how much time do you spend watching television today?

Speaker 5: 23:44 I mean, honestly don’t, I’m not really on television that much. I’m more on YouTube and like mobile games. But I do watch TV when I go to, when I’m during night, during the night to help me fall asleep. But even if when I don’t watch, like when I, when I like do up, like when I play certain games like that, that can have a certain level of violence in it.

Speaker 4: 24:10 Right. We’ll get into that in a minute. But the study goes on to say that over 60% of programs contain some form of violence and about 40% of those on television contain heavy violence. So the concern that they have that where they’re kind of drawing the parallel here is that three or four hours of day viewing television with the assumption that 60% of that time or more than two hours a day, you’re seeing violent things on television. So there they’re kind of pointing out that we’ve got a problem with violence. They also go on to say that children are spending an increasingly large amount of time playing video games, most of which contain violence. So tell me about the video games that you play. Are they violent video games? What’s the nature? What type of video game are they, what medium do you play them on? And give us some,

Speaker 5: 25:10 Alrighty. So I’ll, I won’t now I can think of at least three examples. So the first one is one of the ones I play most often and and it’s less of a video game, more of a mobile app called cash to life. It’s basically where you can create your own characters and have different scenes. Now, some people I’ve watched on YouTube like you can make like people make YouTube videos on them and post them on the internet and sometimes they include a bit of violence. Like if the main character is being bullied and S and like, and like the main character is like getting black eyes because of it or like,

Speaker 4: 25:57 So even in something that’s relatively innocent and in creative like, gosh, a life there, there can be violence interjected into it.

Speaker 5: 26:06 Yeah. Like I actually like know some of the they actually have like, you can hold items and some of the items are like guns, knives and that kind of stuff. Like even in something that seems so innocent where you can just create your own character. It can also include some type of violence.

Speaker 4: 26:26 Okay. Well, continuing the video game theme, they say the video game units are now present in 83% of homes with children. And they don’t go into specifics, but we’re talking console’s handheld mobile games and so forth.

Speaker 5: 26:41 Yeah. And speak and on note the second one I know about the second one I play is Minecraft. And even though Minecraft is Bay, like Minecraft is also seems like an innocent game. It’s like you just build houses, but there are certain elements where they include violence. Like there are moms you can kill, there are, there are weapons you, you, there’s, there’s weapons you used to kill mobs and there’s also player versus play or you kill other players.

Speaker 4: 27:09 Well, and I know, I know Minecraft itself is inherently violent because there are objectives that are violence based objectives in the game and you’re, if you go into survival mode, it’s, it’s survival mode. So there’s a, an element of violence just associated with that type of mode.

Speaker 5: 27:27 Yeah. And even in creative mode, like most people in creative mode like to go to the end and the fruit, the ender dragon, and that was also a version of violence. Most people don’t think that. It’s just like they think it’s just a way of playing the game. And yes it is. But that’s also a version of violence. Like you’re literally trying to kill a dragon. And though it might not seem that bad, and honestly it’s, it doesn’t have that bad of it doesn’t have that bad of violence. There’s no blood. And every time you hit them, it’s more like you’re just like, they just turned red for a minute and jump. And then when they die,

Speaker 4: 28:06 Lens is violence. And, and I think that kind of violin that’s probably is, is more dangerous because it’s, it’s, it seems so innocent, right? It’s watering down the violence so you can go up to someone and hit them with the sword. They turn red and say owl, well if you do that in real life, but that’s not the effect that you’re going to get.

Speaker 5: 28:27 I know like people and like you basically are gonna chop them up.

Speaker 4: 28:32 Right? And it’s that sort of desensitization I think that a lot of people are concerned about.

Speaker 5: 28:36 Yeah, I can actually see that.

Speaker 4: 28:38 So in 2004 children’s spent roughly 49 minutes per day playing video games. And on any given day, 52% of children ages eight to 18 were playing video games. Now, that’s 15 years ago. So I have to imagine those numbers are significantly higher now. There’s a lot more video game play going on now.

Speaker 5: 29:01 Yeah, like those too. There’s like huge matches with video games now and like there’s so many LED’s plays, you can’t even count them.

Speaker 4: 29:11 Right. Video games use peaks during middle childhood with an average of 65 minutes per day for eight to 10 year olds and declines to 33 minutes per day for 15 to 18 year olds. How much time per day do you think you spend playing video games? Now?

Speaker 5: 29:31 Honestly, most of my time is used up by YouTube now, but I do play video games and to be honest, I don’t know how long. I really play video games. I know you and me play call of duty and we normally play at that for like 40 minutes to an hour at least. I think. And for gosh, life, I like don’t even know how long I spend on it. I switched from, gosh, alive to YouTube occasionally and I mean I’m on YouTube more than I am with gosh life. But still

Speaker 4: 30:06 They go on to say that 94% of games rated by the video game industry as appropriate for teens are described as containing violence and ratings. But independent researchers suggests that the real percentage may be even higher. I don’t know how you get much higher than 94%. Yeah. How many, how many games are you exposed to that are not violent? Let me ask that question. That might be easier to list.

Speaker 5: 30:36 It’s a little weird cause like there are other mobile games I play. Like I remember I one Apple game. What the golf, right. Even though it’s like doesn’t really involve too much violence, there’s still like yum. And some of them you move with guy or an animal and that’s, I dunno if that’s really violent though. Is it?

Speaker 4: 30:58 I guess if you’re hitting someone or something or causing pain,

Speaker 5: 31:02 I mean, no one’s really hitting it.

Speaker 4: 31:04 Well then that’s probably not, not too violent.

Speaker 5: 31:07 Yeah. So that’s one of the games that’s not really that violent. There’s also like those word game puzzles. Like those are the, I think the primary ones that don’t include violence.

Speaker 4: 31:16 I would agree with that. So I think, you know, the general idea here is that most entertainment that we get from video games tends to be, tends to contain some kind of violence.

Speaker 5: 31:30 I know like there’s actually this one app I like to play called talking Tom. And like, even though it seems innocent, it still includes violence. I can can hit his stomach, hit his head and knock him down poles, tail.

Speaker 4: 31:42 Right? And the kind of violence you’re doing there really is. I mean, that’s animal cruelty is what it’s promoting there. So there’s all different kinds of, of violence that we have to be aware of. Yeah. So we’ll come back and we’ll talk about the effects of screen violence on adolescents.

Speaker 6: 32:02 Okay.

Speaker 4: 32:07 So the national institutes of mental health have identified the following major effects of seeing violence on television. Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others. Have you had any effect on the violence that you’ve been exposed to on, on your empathy towards other people?

Speaker 5: 32:29 No, not actually. Not really. I mean, if I see someone’s hurt, I always try to go and help them. I can definitely say like in video games I definitely really care if the guy dies, but like in real life it’s like a major thing for me.

Speaker 4: 32:44 Okay. They also say that children may be more fearful of the world around them. Do you find yourself living in fear and having that fear promoted by violence on screen?

Speaker 5: 32:57 In some ways, yes. I mean like in call of duty, like imagine if there’s just a guy that comes out and just shoots like that in real life is terrifying. And knowing that that can actually happen because call of duty is a sort of realistic game. Like knowing that can actually happen is terrifying and I,

Speaker 4: 33:17 Well, knowing that actually happens in, in real life with mass shootings is terrifying too. Yeah. But again, seeing that in a news broadcast is still considered on screen violence. Yeah. They say children may be more likely to behave an aggressive or harmful, harmful ways towards other. Do you find yourself feeling more aggressive after seeing onscreen violence?

Speaker 7: 33:43 No, I really don’t.

Speaker 5: 33:46 Have too much of an aggressive tone. I’m a quite calm person, but I’m pretty sure about those. Probably say different.

Speaker 4: 33:53 Okay. This next one we’ve already touched on. They say children become immune or numb to the horror of violence.

Speaker 5: 34:01 I can’t have my say I have not done that because I’m still afraid of violence. And I definitely don’t resort to violence if, if I’m able to.

Speaker 4: 34:11 Okay. They say children begin to accept violence as a way to solve problems. Have you ever felt that way?

Speaker 5: 34:20 No. I’m pretty sure other kids who are like, bullies can definitely say that. For me, I’ve definitely not shot. I’ve definitely not resorted to violence. Even during my moody phase, I’ve never really resorted to violence to solving problems. I just resorted to screaming. Now I’m like, I just go to a corner and just think about it, calm myself down. And if someone’s annoying me, I just resort to ignoring them.

Speaker 4: 34:46 Okay. Children imitate the violence they observe on television?

Speaker 5: 34:54 Not really. I don’t, I don’t really do violence.

Speaker 4: 34:57 And the last one that they talk about here is children identify with certain characters. Victims and or victimizers when they see violence on screen.

Speaker 5: 35:11 I can, like if I’m ever seeing like a kid being bullied,

Speaker 7: 35:15 I’m on when I’m on, when I watch, when I watch things,

Speaker 5: 35:20 I can definitely, I definitely sometimes feel like them because the kids are sometimes the last people to get picked for a sports game. And that’s may, I only really, I don’t really relate in the violent ways. I just relate in the fact that I get, I don’t real, I’m not, I’m, I remember in sixth grade, I can definitely concur that I felt like I was being one of those kids because I felt completely invisible. And

Speaker 4: 35:47 So, so let me ask you, you know, knowing all would all these effects in, in what we’ve learned so far on screen violence, do you feel as though the violence that you’re exposed to through video games, television, movies, or whatever you feel it has any kind of lasting effect on you and your actions or your attitude?

Speaker 7: 36:09 Hmm.

Speaker 5: 36:13 I just know that like

Speaker 5: 36:17 I don’t really think there’s too many effects that it’s had on me. I definitely know I don’t resort to violence whenever there’s a problem. And I think the fact that I see how violence can affect others during, on when I’m out, when there’s on screen, when I’m exposed to on trucking violence, I definitely think that’s how I sort of help to avoid it. And I think it had the complete opposite effect that most people think it has on kids.

Speaker 4: 36:43 How about your, your friends at school or the kids that you see at school? Do you see them affected at all? Do you see them being violent at all and do you think that they’re, that violence might come from onscreen violence?

Speaker 5: 36:56 I also don’t see too much violence at school. Which is a good thing. I mean, actually at my old school, I remember there was actually this one big event at the very end of the year where it’s like they were these two kids who had a huge fight and like I had no idea. I didn’t really know too much about it, but I don’t think it was from violence or it could have been, but like it could have been the fact that the two kids just w didn’t like each other. And I don’t know the whole story about it, but I just know they got into a pretty big fight.

Speaker 4: 37:28 Well, how about let’s think of it in terms of aggressiveness. Like you’ve mentioned a number of times how kids in, in gym class tend to be very competitive and aggressive. Do you think that might STEM from, you know, the effect that onscreen violence has on society?

Speaker 5: 37:51 I mean it could be like I know they don’t resort to like fist fights.

Speaker 4: 37:59 Okay.

Speaker 5: 38:00 What’s that beeping?

Speaker 4: 38:01 I dunno. You want to let the cat out?

Speaker 5: 38:03 Oh, sure. I’ll be right back.

Speaker 8: 38:08

Speaker 4: 38:10 Sounds like a bomb. That’s not, it’s fine. Don’t worry.

Speaker 8: 38:14

Speaker 4: 38:14 So it sounds like from, from everything that we’ve talked about here that you’re really not that affected by onscreen violence, which is a good thing. And I mean, the last thing that we want is, is for you to, to try to engage in recreational activity and have it have a negative effect on you. But it’s also to hear that you’re really not exposed to a lot of violence at school either. So there’s not a lot of problems that we have to worry about.

Speaker 5: 38:41 Yeah. I mean, the only real type of violence that I can think of is just like, I mean, it’s like joking violence. It’s like kids like pushed against others or like it and like the kids are laughing about it. Like they’re joking around, like they push others around. And that’s like the only real violence I can think of. I’m pretty sure it’s some type of violence. I don’t really know what type it is.

Speaker 4: 39:10 Okay. All right. Well we’ll come back and we’ll talk about briefly how we can protect our children from screen violence.

Speaker 4: 39:23 So they, this came from a couple of different sources. So that’s just sort of a combined list of suggestions on how to, how to help kids out. So the first one they talk about is pay attention to the programs your children are watching and watch some of them with them. And this is one of those things where I think mommy and daddy kinda need to be a little bit better at it. Seeing some of the things that you’re watching on YouTube. You know, you watch stuff up in your room and we’re not always there when you would watch stuff down to the kitchen. I’m in the, when we had the TV down there, we were, you know, it was a lot easier for us to sort of monitor that type of thing. But a lot of times, you know, especially when you’re talking about YouTube where YouTube is the type of thing where they kind of suck you in. When you watch one you, you may go look something up on YouTube and then you get 50 suggestions and you start clicking through and watching different things.

Speaker 5: 40:21 Yeah, I’m a victim of that.

Speaker 4: 40:23 And you can very quickly move from what you were looking for to something completely different. And some of that can be violent content.

Speaker 5: 40:31 I mean, the most I really do on YouTube is listen to music, watch certain gosh, life videos and just watch funny funny things that people do. Like I watch vines and stuff like that. That’s main the main content I actually watch.

Speaker 4: 40:49 Yeah. And I don’t think, I don’t think you’re really I’m not overly concerned about you, but for parents in general, just sort of be aware of what your kids are watching and, and watch stuff with them. Yeah. The other thing they say is set limits on the amount of time they spend with the television. And you know, we’ll say video games and internet and everything. Consider removing the TV set from the child’s bedroom. We’ve talked about that, but for other reasons where you were having trouble sleeping, I don’t think we’re to that point now, but again, it’s a, it’s a matter of regulating the exposure and monitoring it point out that although the actor has not actually been hurt or killed such violence in real life results in pain and death. So when you walk up to someone and you whack them with a sword, it may not hurt them in Minecraft, but that’s going to leave a Mark in the real life. Right? So it’s important to be able to distinguish between real and fake violence. Refuse to let children see shows and known to be violent and change the channel or turn off the TV set when offensive material comes on with an explanation of what is wrong with the program.

Speaker 5: 42:08 Honestly, I don’t like watching zombies with you guys. I definitely don’t watch any of the TV shows you guys watch. I’m the most the most Teve. I mean I mainly just watch kids TV shows. My favorite one is SpongeBob and honestly there’s not much violence in there.

Speaker 4: 42:23 Right? Well and I wouldn’t want you watching walking dead anyway because it is a very violent show.

Speaker 5: 42:30 And to be honest, I really don’t like the, like the thing is I have a problem with blood and Gore and I definitely think that stopped me from watching most violent things. I mean, yeah, I watched the Avengers, but like I’ve Def like that’s the only real

Speaker 4: 42:43 Well, and that’s cartoon violence that they, they depict in there like nobody’s shooting lightening out of a hammer in real life. So you kind of, you know, no one’s shooting repulsor beams out of their hands. No one’s throwing a magic shield that defies physics in real life. So that’s to me, cartoon violence. Yeah. They go on to say disapprove of the violent episodes in front of the children, stressing the belief that such behavior is not the best way to handle a problem. Now I’ll be the first one to say as a youth, I’ll say I was very violent. And that was because the, the upbringing I had, my father tended to solve things with his fists. And when that’s your role model, you kind of follow that lead. And I wound up getting in trouble a lot. I used to get in the fights a lot when I was in high school. In grade school I was the type of person who my father was a bully and I tried to be the exact opposite. So as a result, I would stick up for the kids who the bullies would bully. I would believe the bullies is what I used to say. And that’s not the way to do it. There’s a better way to do it.

Speaker 5: 44:02 And to be honest, in a way you actually turned to knew your father.

Speaker 4: 44:06 What do you well, yeah, just by acting through violence, you’re right. So it’s important for parents and disapprove to show disapproval of, of such acts.

Speaker 5: 44:17 Honestly, I think I showed the dose approval myself, like as we talked about, as I talked about earlier, I really know solving problems with your fist is not a good thing to do. I mean, I’m, I mainly do I’ve how to do it through just words. I’ve never really thought of actually doing violence because that can, that, that can cause more problems than solve.

Speaker 4: 44:42 Well, and you’re absolutely right. And you know, over the years, that’s what I learned how to do was to take that passion and that aggression and that desire for justice, we’ll say and, and turn it from a physical act to pouring it. An outpouring of words through emails or pamphlets or whatever. And that’s been far more effective than raising, you know, a fist at someone

Speaker 5: 45:14 I know. And like what I learned instead of showing my anger on others, even though I never really got violent, I just screamed at others. I learned to take my violence on objects while my anger and violence. And eventually I stopped even doing that and just going somewhere away from society or away from others and just calming myself.

Speaker 4: 45:37 And that’s a therapeutic approach. And the last thing, last hint that they have here is help with peer pressure among friends and classmates, by contacting other parents and agreeing to enforce similar rules about the length of time and type of program the children may watch. And this is sort of an outreach to other children’s parents. You know, it’s, they say it takes a village to raise a child. And, and to a large extent it does because your kids interact with so many other kids during their life. And if the parents themselves can communicate and keep other parents aware of where these problems are, you’re going to find, even though you run into parents who are very defensive of their kids and think that their kids can do no wrong, you will find the vast majority of parents tend to be receptive to any kind of input like this that you would have. And it helps everyone in the long run to keep everybody informed. And that was all we had. We’ll come back and we’ll get your closing remarks and any shout outs you might have and we’ll go from there.

Speaker 6: 46:52 Jake,

Speaker 4: 46:58 Go for closing remarks.

Speaker 5: 47:00 Alrighty. So no matter who you are out in the audience, I’m pretty sure you’ve been exposed to online, internet, video games, TV shows, all that kind of stuff. And I’m pretty sure if you’ve been exposed to that you’ve been exposed to onscreen violence. And it’s important to note that onscreen violence is a totally different thing from real violence. As we said before in real life, have a totally different view on violence. You can hit someone with a store, they’d just turned red and say, owl, here’s someone with its own real life. It’s gonna end in way worse conditions. So it’s important to snow the fake violence and the real violence. And I think that’s the best way to stop you from things, from having violence, in thinking of violence in any other way, in real life. And it’s also important to note that solving problems with violence will, will S will cause more problems than solve problems. And I think with those two notes, she will be perfectly fine and it’ll help you from thinking of taking violence into your life more often.

Speaker 4: 48:19 Okay, well said. Any shout outs? I don’t really think so. Not this week. Not feeling it. I just don’t really know who to give a shout out to. Do you have anyone? No, I don’t have anyone either. I’m not feeling it either. So that’s it for this week. Just a reminder, you can reach out to us via It’s not listed.

Speaker 5: 48:46 I know, I know.

Speaker 4: 48:48 You know, the lower thirds of the generic one here. Geez, if I did this, then they would get your email address on your lower third there. Anyway, so you can reach us on our website and insights into things. Dr calm, you can get us on YouTube at

Speaker 5: 49:06 And sites and to things

Speaker 4: 49:09 You’re really not very good at this. Aren’t at into things you can get us on Twitter at insights underscore things. You can get us on Facebook at into things podcast a, you get us on audio, a And on Twitch, we’re streaming live on Twitch tonight. You can get us at into things and I think that’s everything.

Speaker 5: 49:49 Oh yeah. And don’t forget to check out her other two podcasts. And what are they and said to an entertainment where itch featuring you and mommy and our newest podcast, our monthly podcast called insights into tomorrow, featuring my father and my brother.

Speaker 4: 50:08 Very good. And that’s sit. We are done. Another one in the books. Bye.

Show Notes

  • Introductions
    • Insights Into Teens: Episode 41 “Screen Violence”
    • My talented and thoughtful co-host Madison Whalen
  • What is Screen Violence
  • Characteristics of Screen Violence that affect teens
      • Reward for Violence
        • If a violent act is rewarded or left unpunished, it is more likely to foster attitudes supportive of aggression. The lack of punishment actually functions as a sanction or a reward for violent behavior.
      • Reality of Violence
        • The more a violent act is realistically portrayed, the more likely it is to be imitated. Older children are more emotionally responsive to programs that depict realistic events and are influenced more by violent movies that feature events that are humanly possible.
      • Violent Role Models
        • Children are more likely to imitate and look up to characters whose use of violence is portrayed as necessary or attractive. Moreover, children who strongly identify with a violent media character are more likely to be aggressive themselves.
      • Justified Violence
        • The more an act of violence is presented as justified, the more likely it is to be copied. Young children are more apt to hurt than to help a peer after watching a cartoon with scenes of justified violence.
      • Violent Connections
        • Viewers who find similarity between themselves and their actions and feelings and a violent act, theme or character in a film are more likely to imitate or emulate that violence in real life. This is particularly true of children.
      • Amount of Violence
        • Excessive exposure to media violence may produce a psychological blunting of normal emotional responses to violent events. It may also lead to a lack of responsiveness to real-life aggression.
  • Screen Violence Statistics
    • US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes for Health study from June 30 2009
      • Children in the United States spend an average of between three and four hours per day viewing television
      • Studies have shown that over 60% of programs contain some violence, and about 40% of those contain heavy violence
      • Children are also spending an increasingly large amount of time playing video games, most of which contain violence.
      • Video game units are now present in 83% of homes with children
      • In 2004, children spent 49 minutes per day playing video, and on any given day, 52% of children ages 8–18 years play a video game games
      • Video game use peaks during middle childhood with an average of 65 minutes per day for 8–10 year-olds, and declines to 33 minutes per day for 15–18 year-olds
      • 94% of games rated (by the video game industry) as appropriate for teens are described as containing violence, and ratings by independent researchers suggest that the real percentage may be even higher
      • No published study has quantified the violence in games rated ‘M’ for mature—presumably, these are even more likely to be violent.
  • Effects of screen violence on adolescents
  • How to protect children from screen violence
      • pay attention to the programs their children are watching and watch some with them
      • set limits on the amount of time they spend with the television; consider removing the TV set from the child’s bedroom
      • point out that although the actor has not actually been hurt or killed, such violence in real life results in pain or death
      • refuse to let the children see shows known to be violent, and change the channel or turn off the TV set when offensive material comes on, with an explanation of what is wrong with the program
      • disapprove of the violent episodes in front of the children, stressing the belief that such behavior is not the best way to handle a problem
      • help with peer pressure among friends and classmates by contacting other parents and agreeing to enforce similar rules about the length of time and type of program the children may watch
  • Closing remarks and shoutouts