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Does Violence in the Media Influence Children?

Gov. Chris Christie has signed a bill into law that is designed to teach parents how to limit their children’s exposure to media violence on television, websites and video games.

“Parents may not be able to control the amount and the severity of violence shown on TV, websites or in video games,” said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, the prime sponsor of the bill. “However, a parent does have control over how often children are exposed to these mediums.”

The new law requires the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) to create and make available on its website information on how a parent can limit a child’s exposure to violence on television, cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices.

“Our children are most vulnerable when constantly barraged with violence in the television shows watched, web pages visited and games played,” said Quijano. “With consistent exposure, a child will begin to view aggression as a way to handle life situations and as having a normal place in everyday society.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, by the age of 18, the average American child will have seen 200,000 acts of violence on television and exposure to, or involvement in violence can skew childhood development and affect a child’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

“Recent school shootings have raised serious concerns about guns in the media, prolonged exposure of violence and their connection to a person’s behavior,” explained Quijano. “In light of the findings, parents should be concerned and aware. This new law would help to raise that awareness in household across the state.”

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