Is the media and unlimited access to violent images to blame?
CNN correspondent, Kelly Wallace addressed this issue in her recent article.
"According to Jim Steyer, chief executive officer and founder of the nonprofit child advocacy group Common Sense Media, 'What you see is kids who are at risk for violent actions or depression or anxiety and who feel those feelings more strongly can sometimes be motivated to act on them by images and stories in the media.'
'I think that the research is clear that there is a correlation between repetitive viewing of violence, for example, and increased aggressive behavior, as well as desensitization to violence,' he said.
No one is blaming the media, Steyer said, but, 'We're also not saying it doesn't matter, because it does matter.'
'This is an issue and an ongoing issue. It's been true for many years. In a 24/7 digital media universe, it's that much more prevalent because it's so much harder to monitor.'
That raises the question of what parents can do, especially when it seems impossible to know everything our children are doing online.
Warning signs for parents that their children may be having trouble absorbing what they're engaging with online, or differentiating fantasy from reality, include withdrawing from real friends, not engaging with other aspects of their lives, self-injury and injury to others, experts say.
Steyer of Common Sense Media said the takeaway from this latest tragedy is the need for every parent to talk with their children, but he concedes that isn't always enough.
'I think that the key is you need to have an ongoing dialogue with your kids and learn what they're doing, and what they're watching, surfing and playing with and you can't always unearth everything,' Steyer said.
'You try to be involved. You try to set context. You try to know, but it's not easy," he added. "You can't blame the parents. There's no one factor involved. There's no one simple factor.' "
Follow the link below to read the entire article by Kelly Wallace.
Watch for warning signs. In my October 25 blog I wrote about why our youth are killing in schools and quoted Phil Chalmers author of Inside the Mind of a Teen Killer, "kids give off warning signs and there are things you could look for. He says bullying and unstable homes are top reasons why teens commit crime. The teen may also display suicidal feelings or become obsessed with violent media."
There's the media again.
An excerpt from Phil Chalmers book says,
"Take, for example, a teen fascinated with violent video games, which, by itself, my not a pose a great risk. If he is, however, physically abused at home, bullied at school, and using drugs, then playing a violent video game or watching a movie may act as the catalyst that causes him to fall over the edge.
I've determined ten common things behind the making of violent and murderous teens.
1. An abusive home life and bullying
2. Violent entertainment and pornography
3. Anger, depression, and suicide
4. Drug and alcohol abuse
5. Cults and gangs
6. Easy access to and fascination with deadly weapons
7. Peer pressure
8. Poverty and criminal lifestyle
9. Lack of spiritual guidance and appropriate discipline
10. Mental illness and brain injuries"
This does not mean every child exposed to certain problems or those with mental illness will go out and become a killer. It is a combination of multiple things in multiple situations. An ordinary kid doesn't wake up one day and say, "I'm going to go kill someone." It is a process, like everything else in life.
Our teens need guidance and validation. They often suffer from the inablility to make rational decisions and the lack of a qualified support system. Be there for you teen and support them, don't leave them adrift to fend for themselves.
Check out Phil Chalmers informative website at http://www.philchalmers.com/index.php