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Middle Schoolers Identify Violent Content in Youth-Targeted Entertainment as a Strong Influence in Causing Youth Violence
Date:12/14/2009

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: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20091214/PH24980 )

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
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SOURCE National Campaign to Stop Violence
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