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Violent Media Not Harmless 


I appreciated Barry Evans' columns in previous weeks about problems with the new DSM edition of psychiatric "diagnoses" ("Field Notes," June 20 and June 27).

However, in the Aug. 22 column ("Brains, Minds and Myths"), Evans erroneously implied there are no dangers to young people from violent media. But many studies prove otherwise!

The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, and American Psychiatric Association wrote in a July 26, 2000, "Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children":

"Children who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts. Children exposed to violence are more likely to assume that acts of violence are acceptable behavior.

Viewing violence can lead to emotional desensitization towards violence in real life. It can decrease the likelihood that one will take action on behalf of a victim when violence occurs.

Entertainment violence feeds a perception that the world is a violent and mean place. Viewing violence increases fear of becoming a victim of violence, with a resultant increase in self-protective behaviors and a mistrust of others.

Viewing violence may lead to real life violence. Children exposed to violent programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life than children who are not so exposed.

Although less research has been done on the impact of violent interactive entertainment (video games and other interactive media) on young people, preliminary studies indicate that the negative impact may be significantly more severe than that wrought by television, movies, or music."

Violent media viewing/gaming increases the risk not only of depression and violent behavior but also post-traumatic stress. Some of the brain harm can be healed with specialized resources. A free, acclaimed resource is my PTSD book downloadable at (search "Cindee Grace").

Cindee Grace, Eureka

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