In a class today we talked about social media and technology and it’s effect on children. One of the things we focused on was how modern children’s televisions shows and violent video games affect children. There were many mixed opinions on the matter, most of them being that the effect is very negative and children are very violent because of the images they see in the media. However, I disagreed. I don’t think that modern media is making that much of a difference. It has always been in the nature of children, especially boys, to play in a way that portrays violence. This doesn’t mean that the play itself is violent because, for the most part, there is never any physical contact and they don’t actually fight with each other – it is mostly imitation. Also, my professor has told us that when his children were young he tried to cut out all influential media and did not purchase stereotypical toys for them. This means no Barbies for his daughter and no toy weapons for his son. However, one day his son brought a friend over and they played that they were shooting each other with guns in the backyard. Is this the influence of media? No. It is in their nature. Boys have played “violently” since the beginning of time. Modern media and other influences have not caused children to suddenly start doing this, or even do it more often. The idea that parents can “protect” their children from this is a bit silly because there is no way to do this. When his son was playing guns with is friend my professor gave up and went into his shop and made toy swords and shields for the boys to play with.
Now we move on to a new question. We know that, no matter what, there is violence in play. Is this a bad thing? Is it a negative thing that children are playing that they hurt each other? The children aren’t actually hurting each other and it isn’t necessarily going to lead to actual violence. The most important thing, in my opinion, is that there is an explicit conversation about it. Violence is part of our life and our reality so it should not be hidden away and ignored. For example, when 9-11 happened children heard about it and some even watched about it on the news. Many children play through things like this because play is what they know best and it helps them make sense of what has happened to pay out the events they have seen. I was in grade 6 at the time and for the entire morning my class sat in the hallway and watched the news. The event was important to our reality and it was important they we were aware of it, even if there were some parents that weren’t happy that we watched it. We can’t hide underneath rocks.