Column: Media violence and its negative effectsLt. Col. Dave Grossman, an internationally known scholar, author, soldier and speaker, is one of the world’s leading experts in violence and human aggression. District 518 staff members along with other members of the community had the opportunity to hear him speak.
By: Stephanie Fletcher, District 518, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, an internationally known scholar, author, soldier and speaker, is one of the world’s leading experts in violence and human aggression. District 518 staff members along with other members of the community had the opportunity to hear him speak. We had the pleasure of gaining intricate knowledge about media violence.
Lt. Grossman’s research had greatly sparked an interest in how media violence negatively affects students and how that they perform in school. With all of this exemplary information, we couldn’t just stop at listening; we wanted to use the information that we had gained to create a study of our own!
A classroom of students was surveyed on the different aspects of media that they are exposed to on a daily basis; the amount of time they spend in front of the TV, whether it is watching TV shows, movies or playing video games was recorded for a two-week time period. Also, the shows, movies, and games they are exposed to were recorded, as well as the findings of different ratings of each media. After collecting and analyzing data, their grades, test scores and behavior were compared.
Over a two-week time period, some students were in front of the TV for more than 28 hours. When we looked at the material they are watching along with the games they are playing, we found some shocking discoveries, not only in one classroom but in the entire school. We found that students in most grade levels, even in K-2, have been and are still being exposed to video games that are rated mature. Games that are rated mature contain violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Most of the students in this classroom that are being exposed to media violence and media that is inappropriate for their age group perform lower than their peer group. Their grades are lower, test scores are lower and/or their behavior is getting in the way of their learning experience.
We encourage parents to educate themselves and to look more closely at what their child is being exposed to. We also encourage the students to find other means of activities. This classroom came up with many alternatives to media such as drawing, cooking, using their imagination to create their own games, outside activities, reading and coloring. Hopefully with this information, we can decrease media violence exposure and increase students’ well being.
Stephanie Fletcher is a fourth-grade teacher at Prairie Elementary in Worthington.