It seems as though violence is everywhere. Young children today have more exposure to news information than previous generations. Most Americans are in-tune like never before through cell phones, television, radio and the Internet. In many homes, television is playing non-stop in the background as white noise. American children are watching an average of four hours of television a day and violence is part of regular television programming. News is broadcast on nearly every channel and often breaks in to regular programming with up-to-the-minute updates, showing violent local and world events. Many young children are witnessing violence on a daily basis.
Even when children are not directly watching television, a breaking news release can interrupt play, distract, confuse and even frighten them. As adults who care for young children, we need to make informed decisions about what, where and how much exposure children should have to violent news, television programs, videos and movies. The American Academy of Pediatrics has made recommendations on media use to assist parents in setting boundaries for screen time, but we also need to be prepared to handle the fallout that can come from witnessing violence in the news.