Pediatricians say videogames as bad as smoking

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Sensationalist headline is GO! While the headline up there is true I have actually twisted the words around a bit to make it seem even more shocking and appalling so as to grab your attention. However, this is simply an ABC News story about a Pediatric group warning us that overexposure to popular media is not good for children. The story is on two recent articles by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Communications and the Media in the November issue of Pediatrics.

The AAP claims that “The evidence is now clear and convincing: media violence is one of the causal factors of real-life violence and aggression,” and actually comes down harshest on the music industry for their glorification of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. However, according to the article they do state that media can cause violence and that “the associations between violence on screen or in games and really (sic) life aggression are nearly as strong as the association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.”

Don’t get yourself all up in a hoopla though, they’re not recommending the end of violent videogames or a world wide ban on violent media. They just want people to pay attention to what their children are doing. Hear that? Paying attention to your children is doctor recommended. The group also wants childcare physicians to ask about a child’s media consumption whenever they get a check-up and to talk to parents if they feel their child is spending too much time with a certain type of media. They do call upon the entertainment industry to make media more child friendly and offer some suggestions that you can read after the jump.

  • Do not glamorize weapon carrying.
  • Eliminate the use of violence in a comic or sexual context.
  • Eliminate gratuitous portrayals of interpersonal violence.
  • The pain and loss suffered by victims should be shown if violence must be used.
  • Music lyrics should be made easily available to parents so they can read them before purchasing music.
  • Video games should not use humans or other living targets and points should not be awarded for killing.
  • Violent video games should be limited to age-restricted areas of arcades.

Clearly some solid recommendations for game’s for kids. Don’t worry, it doesn’t appear that they are demanding these rules be applied to all games. Though from a creative stand point a videogame where you actually felt the loss and suffering of all the people you mowed down would be truly something special.


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