Children and Violence
in the Media



Children live in a world of suggestions every day from TV commercials, video games, music, friends, articles or other sources. They are bombarded constantly. Why would that affect a child more than an adult? Please allow me to explain.



Your conscious mind is estimated at between 1 to 12%. It handles your logic, reason and will power. But in a young child, logic and reason has not developed yet.



Your subconscious mind is estimated between 88 and 99%. It handles all automatic body functions such as breathing. Your subconscious handles your associations and identifications with the past and your imagination and expectations. The subconscious has no analytical ability.



The child’s mind is strictly subconscious. Between the ages of eight and 12 years, the critical mind begins to develop and acts like a filter in that the child begins to question things more, beginning to develop some logic and reason and making better decisions. The critical mind acts like a filter and is beginning to filter out to some degree what the child accepts.



Since the brain is so suggestible and immature, it is open to a great many misconceptions. If an event involves emotion, then the emotions will color the perception of an event for perhaps years to come. The child acquires a context of associations and identifications and these experiences lead the child to decide that certain things are good or bad.



When the child grows into a teenager, the critical mind is still developing, and the teenager is still often very suggestible. It can also be a dangerous time, because it is such a suggestible time to the many negative influences around them. Most parents have witnessed this to some degree.



It is easy to understand the importance of what a child hears, sees and learns. According to the US Department of Justice, law enforcement arrested approximately 2.8 million juveniles in 1997. The number of juvenile violent crime arrests in 1997 exceeded the 1988 level by 49%.



By age 18 an American child will have seen 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence. A 1999 report prepared by the Majority staff, for The Senate Committee on the Judiciary of Utah, states that over 1,000 studies on the effects of television and film violence have been done over the past 40 years. The majority of the studies reach the same conclusion, that frequent viewing of television and film violence leads to the viewers to imitate violent behaviour. Violent video games have an effect on children similar to violent TV.



Some experts believe music has an even greater effect. Research has shown that the average teenager listens to 10,500 hours of rock music during the years between the 7th and 12th grades. Music is believed to bypass critical mind and drop into the subconscious mind. It affects our emotions, our moods and our attitudes. We laugh, cry and dance to it.



Since children are so suggestible, the violent images drop down into the subconscious mind without critical analysis and may have an effect on childhood development and  negatively the value system. Not only does it steal from spontaneous, creative time for children and adolescents, but the child may become desensitized to violence so that it no longer shocks or upsets them. A child does not have the analytical ability of an adult as far as the subconscious is concerned. To further compound the problem, being accepted by their peers is extremely important to many teens. Combine that with drugs, a strong desire for attention and no supportive influence in their life, and the picture becomes even more urgent. Think about the child who has watched violence on television for years and played games shooting figures that resemble or look like people. Would it really be such a big step to go from watching it to doing it?



Several years ago, former United States Senator Paul Simon observed that  “thirty seconds of a soap bar commercial sells soap. Twenty-five minutes worth of glorification of violence sells violence.”



A 1993 report by University of Washington epidemiologist Brandon S. Centerwall expressed it this way, “If hypothetically, television technology had never been developed, there would by 10,000 fewer homicides each year in the United States, 70,000 fewer injurious assaults. Violent crime would be half what it is.”



What if those same hours that the child spends watching TV or playing video games were spent doing something really constructive? How many hours in a year would that equal? Television, like most things can be positive or negative. It depends on how it is used.



We can do something about this problem. As parents we can monitor what our children watch on television. We can listen to the words in their music and decide if that is the messages we want them to learn. Parents can use tools to block access to on-line content and certain web sites.



It is not uncommon to find parents who try to be their teenager’s friend. They have friends, but they need parents. They need parents who know where they are and ask questions. They need parents who lay down rules in a loving way and mean for those rules to be honored.



Hypnotherapy is a natural, powerful, and effective way to raise children’s confidence levels and therefore prevent many other problems from occurring in the future.



A hypnotherapist is a “Self Improvement” instructor, who works with children to give them positive suggestions: raising their confidence level and their ability to say “no” to negative influences, resulting in improved behavior. It is a natural and effective way to help your child to identify and associate with positive behaviors.