5562409202_22dc79003dAfter reading a recent article in the New York Times about the connection between media violence and aggression in real life, Dr. Michael Rich felt compelled to respond, writing the following letter to the editor:

Asking whether video
games “cause” violent behavior is asking the wrong question.

As a parent, I constantly make risk-benefit analyses on how
to raise my children. As a pediatrician, I translate complex science into
feasible parenting strategies. Debating whether playing violent video games
“causes” violent behavior misses the point for parents making important decisions
for their children. Numerous studies, using a variety of methodologies, have
shown associations between consumption of violent media and increased anxiety,
desensitization, and, in some children, aggression. Children are always
learning from their experiences – about themselves, the world, and how to
behave in it. Not all children learn to be violent from violent media, but all of
them learn – some to be fearful of a mean world, many not to care so much about
the suffering of others. The question parents should be asking is not whether
video games “cause” aggression, but whether we want them to learn the world as
a place where only aggressors thrive.

Enjoy your media and use them
The Mediatrician®

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