New Resources for Parents on Media Violence

Written by Melissa Henson | Published May 13, 2020

At the end of March, only two weeks into the Coronavirus Shutdown, the New York Times declared, “Coronavirus Ended the Screen-Time Debate. Screens Won.”

Everything has moved online: work, school, church. Even special occasions like birthday parties, bridal showers and Mother’s Day celebrations have been moved to digital forums like Google Classroom, Facebook Live, or Zoom video conferencing. There is no question that children are spending more time now in front of screens than they did before the shutdown -- and with many school districts rethinking their approach to school and contemplating a more or less permanent move to some hybrid of distance learning and in-person instruction for the fall – this seems to be a new reality that is not likely to change anytime soon.

But if screens did win the screen-time debate, that doesn’t mean that parents have to compromise on keeping their children safe while they are using them.

A new book from some of the nation’s most-respected experts on children and media, Game On! Sensible Answers about Video Games and Media Violence (available as e-book or in print editions), offers sound, research-backed guidance for teachers, parents and care-givers about video games and the impact of media violence in an easy-to-read Q&A format.

Iowa State University’s Doug Gentile is also offering a new online course on media and children: From Ads to Video Games: The Essential Parents’ Guide to Kids and the Media.

If you are interested in exploring these topics in greater depth, we recommend the following:

  1. DeGaetano, Gloria (2004). Parenting well in a media age: Keeping our kids human. Fawnskin, Calif.: Personhood Press. This book is targeted towards parents. It addresses many issues concerning media use by children, not just violence.
  2. Dill-Shackleford, Karen E. (2016). How Fantasy Becomes Reality: Information and Entertainment Media in Everyday Life. New York: Oxford University Press. This general audience book explores a host of issues concerning entertainment media, including violence, but also stereotyping, fandom, and politics.
  3. Gentile, Douglas (Editor). (2014). Media violence and children: A Complete Guide for Parents and Professionals, 2nd Edition. Oxford, England: Praeger. This collection of excellent chapters covers a wide array of media violence issues by leading scholars.
  4. Strasburger, Victor. (2019). The Death of Childhood: Reinventing the Joy of Growing Up. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. This book is timely, easy to read, and well-researched. It will greatly benefit parents and grandparents who read it and children in the care of such people.
  5. Warburton, Wayne A., & Braunstein, Danya. [Eds.]. (2012). Growing Up Fast and Furious: Reviewing the Impact of Violent and Sexualised Media on Children. Sydney: The Federation Press. This collection of chapters addresses two major media issues, the impact of violent media and of sexualized media on children, both of which are growing problems for children and their parents.

Take Action. Stay Informed.