Does School Violence in the News Have a Negative Effect on Your Child?

Another Chicago teen has lost his life to senseless violence. Just before the New Year arrived, 16-year old Fred Couch was shot to death. Couch was another student from Christian Fenger Academy High School, the school that was attended by former honor student Derrion Albert who was beat to death back in September. What do these two boys have in common? They were both killed as the eye of the camera watched. It’s a gruesome reality that is made all the more horrendous when videos are released to the news and posted on websites like YouTube where the price of a young man’s life is valued by the number of hits made by those who actually want to see life lost in this manner.  

The capturing of a teen’s murder on camera begs the question if school violence in the news has a negative effect on your child and if so, what are you doing about it? Years ago, the news was a time when the family gathered around to learn about what was going on in the community and around the world. There was violence, but there were broadcasts of good things and positive news that got reported as well and the level of sensationalism associated with death and murder was kept to a minimum.

Today, the media reports this violence in vivid detail with barely a warning that what you are about to see may be disturbing or upsetting to young children. The truth of the matter is that the media has a job to get ratings by reporting what’s happening and many adults want the blood and gore. As a parent, however, the responsibility remains for you to determine how much of this death and destruction, particularly when it comes to school violence, your child should be exposed to.

Young children clearly cannot process school violence as well as older children and teens can. As a parent, it is impossible to police your child at all times, especially as they get older. With  the Internet available, even those who do not watch much television can be exposed to school violence on the Internet quicker than the airing of the local news. If, in fact, negative begets negative, then there is no question that school violence in the news can have a negative effect on your child. What the news typically cannot portray is the lasting pain that is caused by such violence and the negative impact it has on the family and many others who are affected.

Although it is impossible and impractical to try to shield a child completely from violence, an ounce of prevention, as the old adage says, is worth a pound of cure. Take the time to speak with your child about school violence and encourage them to look away from media portrayals that show senseless killing on camera.