Navigation Links
Middle Schoolers Identify Violent Content in Youth-Targeted Entertainment as a Strong Influence in Causing Youth Violence

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Middle-school students are expressing their views on the key factors affecting youth violence, with more than 30 percent of them indicating that television, video games, movies and music provoke violence. Gangs, drugs and bullying are also stated as highly instrumental among this age group, according to the National Campaign to Stop Violence.

(Photo: )

The Campaign, active for more than 12 years, analyzed the contents of 10,000 essays submitted by middle school children across the country in 2009 as part of its Do the Write Thing initiative, which encourages young people to write about how violence impacts their lives as a way to address it.

Analysis of the essays determined that 31 percent of the 6(th), 7(th) and 8(th) graders who participated in the project believe that violent entertainment is a significant catalyst for violence among their age group. Gang violence, drugs, and bullying followed at 27 percent, 24 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

Peter Jensen, M.D., is the Chairman of the New York City Do the Write Thing program and Mayo Clinic Co-chair of the Division of Child Psychiatry and Psychology. "The significance of this study is that it is not parents, educators or social scientists decrying violence in the entertainment industry, it is the young people themselves who are speaking out about the negative impact the violent content has on them," said Dr. Jensen. "The National Campaign to Stop Violence -- and all of us involved with youth -- need to heed this call to action."

Television and Video Game Influence

The Parents Television Council reported that during 1998-2006 violence increased in every time slot, with a 45 percent increase during the Family Hour (8:00 p.m.). Nearly half of all episodes contained at least one incidence of violence, with 56 percent being person-to-person violence in the 2005-2006 season. Guns were featured in 63 percent of the scenes, and knives were used in 15 percent.

According to the National Institute on Media and the Family, social scientists identified four factors that link to violence in children:

  • Children are more likely to imitate the actions of a character with whom they identify in programs and video games
  • Video games require action -- the player must get involved
  • Video games have a great deal of repetition, normally used as a learning tool; hence children are learning violence
  • Children learn through reward systems of the type employed by video games

"Maybe if we cut some of the more violent videogames, kids would be taught that murder and slaughtering of other humans is not the right thing to do," offers Shelbi Parker of Dallas, TX.

Drugs and Alcohol

Student use of marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, and methamphetamines all decreased from 1999 to 2007 as cited by the CDC National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. However, rates of nonmedical use of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medication remain high. In 2006, 2.1 million teens abused prescriptive drugs, as well as OTC cough and cold medications.

Do the Write Thing's El Paso, TX program chair, The Honorable Patricia Macias, said, "The young people in our school system experience violence because of border-related issues tied to drugs." Macias, past president of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and presiding judge of the 388(th) Family District Court, adds, "It's particularly helpful when law enforcement engages as part of the prevention process."

The CDC further reports that 25.4 percent of students were offered, sold, or given an illegal drug on school property within a 12-month period.

Children are also influenced by drugs and alcohol in the home. Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), estimates that 8.3 million children -- 11.9 percent -- live with at least one parent who had abused or was dependent on alcohol or an illicit drug in the past year.

Gang and Bullying Influence

According to the 2007 National Youth Gang Survey, the most recent study on the subject conducted by the Department of Justice, there was an estimated 27,000 gangs in America, a 25 percent increase from 2002-2007; and an increase of nearly 8 percent in the number of gang members, up to 788,000. The highest level of gang-related activity is in the large cities and suburban areas, with 60 percent of the gangs, but rural counties are experiencing a 25 percent increase as the gangs expand their activities.

In his 2009 Do the Write Thing essay, Jalil Ahmad of Boston, MA. wrote: "Back then I used to do a lot of fun things around my neighborhood, but now that there are so many shootings that happen there is now a limit to how much fun I can have...I can't even sit on my front porch without someone trying to act tough...."

Violence and bullying on or near school grounds is increasingly stressful to young people. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that between 1991 and 2007 there was no significant change in the level of school violence, there was a large increase in the number of students who feel unsafe.

The CDC survey of young people between the ages of 10-14 shows that 33 percent of 6(th) graders, 37 percent of 7(th) graders, and 40 percent of 8(th) graders had carried a weapon to school; and nearly 60 percent of each age group had been involved in a physical fight over a 30-day period.

Erick Sanchez from Charlotte, N.C. wrote in his essay: "It was an ordinary day in the sixth grade. I was going to the restroom and about five or six people grabbed me; they pushed me and rammed me into a stall. They tried to go through my pockets... It was not until I got seriously hurt that the administrators really got on their backs. All I got to say is watch your back. It doesn't matter where you are or who you are."

About the National Campaign to Stop Violence

Founded in 1996, the National Campaign to Stop Violence is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization composed of business, community and governmental leaders who have come together to reduce violence in homes, schools and neighborhoods across the U.S. It is funded primarily by the Kuwait-America Foundation along with a broad coalition of organizations. The non-profit is operational in 31 cities in 17 states, including the District of Columbia. Since its inception nearly one million students have participated in class room discussions about violence and ways to control violence. The organization has published over 100 collections of essays from students with 13 volumes housed at the Library of Congress.

For more information, please visit They can also be found on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

    Amber Zentis
    Levick Strategic Communications
    (202) 302-5517

SOURCE National Campaign to Stop Violence

SOURCE National Campaign to Stop Violence
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists puzzled by severe allergic reaction to cancer drug in the middle Southern US
2. Middle School Marks Most Critical Time to Start Ongoing Conversations About Drug and Alcohol Use With Kids
3. Depression Pushes Middle-Aged Workers to Retire
4. Consumer Group: Hillary Clintons Mandatory Health Insurance Purchase Plan is an Act of War on the Middle Class Family That Cant Afford $12k Policy
5. SATELLITE BROADCAST: Consumer Group Says Hillary Clintons Mandatory Health Insurance Plan is an Act of War on the Middle Class that Cant Afford $12k Policy
6. Mylan Announces Appointment of Didier Barret as President, Europe, Middle East and Africa
7. AK Steel Reaches VEBA Health Care Settlement With Middletown Works Retirees
8. AWT, Inc. Continues Rapid Expansion in Middle East
9. Governor Schwarzeneggers Mandatory Purchase of Private Health Insurance Doesnt Add Up for the Middle-Class, Says FTCR
10. Maternal Mortality Declining in Middle-income Countries; Women Still Die in Pregnancy and Childbirth in Low-income Countries
11. Lost in the middle: author order matters, new paper says
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Lori R. Somekh, founder of the Law Office of Somekh & Associates ... special needs planning attorneys. “Membership in ElderCounsel helps our office remain up to date ... elder law attorneys nationwide,” said Somekh. , ElderCounsel was founded by ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th ... Park in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, ... The fun run is geared towards children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “America On The Brink”: the Christian history ... The Brink” is the creation of published author, William Nowers. Captain Nowers and ... WWII veteran, he spent thirty years in the Navy. Following his career as ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ( ), ... of an innovative new design of the shoulder pad. The shoulder pad provides ... while controlling your pain while using cold therapy. By utilizing ice and water that ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... ... HMP , a leader in healthcare events and education, today announced that ... for ‘Best B-to-B Healthcare Website.’ Winners were announced during the Eddie & Ozzie Awards ... recognizes editorial and design excellence across a range of sectors. This year’s program included ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/28/2017)... , Sept. 28, 2017 Hill-Rom Holdings, ... 2017 earnings conference call and webcast on Friday, November ... a.m. (EDT) and ending at approximately 8:30 a.m. (CDT) ... discussing the company,s 2017 financial performance and guidance for ... opportunities, initiatives to enhance operational performance, and long-range financial ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... AMSTERDAM , Sept. 25, 2017   ... Trial Master File solutions, today—from the IQPC Trial ... Amsterdam , NL)—announced that EastHORN Clinical Services ... its clinical programs and TMF management. EastHORN, a ... Montrium,s eTMF platform to increase transparency to enable ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... 2017 AVACEN Medical (AVACEN) announced that its ... helping those with the widespread pain associated with fibromyalgia ... in Essex, England commented, "I ... experiencing no sleep at all, tremendous pain, with every ... recommend [the AVACEN 100] enough, how this has and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: