187249 How protective against child and adolescent aggressive behavior is a violence-free media diet?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 9:15 AM

Michele Ybarra, MPH PhD , Internet Solutions for Kids, Inc., Santa Ana, CA
Marie Diener-West, PhD , Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Media violence's contribution to aggressive behavior has been reported across several studies. The role of violence-free media in preventing violent and aggressive behavior is less well studied. We report findings from the Growing up with Media survey, a national survey of 1,588 youth between the ages of 10 and 15 years. Children and adolescents were asked to rate the amount of violence they consumed across five different media: television / movies, music, games, web sites showing real people engaging in violence; and web sites showing cartoons engaging in violence. Youth were categorized into one of three consumption categories: 1) none or almost none (n=131, 7.5%); 2) some (n=712, 43.2%); and 3) more (n=745, 49.3%).

Results suggest that youth with none or some exposure to media violence are significantly less likely to concurrently report violent and aggressive behaviors. Youth reporting that “none” and “some” of the media they consume depicts violence are 85% (p=0.02) and 50% (p=.03), respectively, less likely to also report seriously violent behavior compared to youth reporting a more violent media diet. Results are similar for bullying behavior and fighting. Other influential factors contributing to seriously violent behavior include substance use, witnessing violence in the community, poor caregiver-child relationships, a child's propensity to respond to stimuli with anger, and delinquent peers.

Our findings suggest that a reduction of violent media consumption for children and adolescents to “almost none / none” may decrease bullying and fighting behavior among youth. Implications for family-driven violence prevention efforts discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the characteristics of youth reporting different levels of violent media exposure 2. Discuss the observed protective association between violence-free media and aggressive behavior. 3. Articulate opportunities for family-driven violence prevention through media violence education.

Keywords: Violence Prevention, Media

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI on the grant funding the survey data collection.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.