Washington, DC - America’s children are under attack by the entertainment industry, says Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens. He cites the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, which reports that a Netflix TV series, which premiered two years ago, 13 Reasons Why, is associated with a significant increase in suicides among adolescents.
Meanwhile, Weber expressed concern about the inappropriate impact of other teen accessible TV programming. He says that much of that content can have negative influence on the lives of kids due to explicit content, including scenes of drug use and sex and rape. He noted that Tim Winter, who heads up the Parents Television Council, recently said that what “Netflix is doing with ’13 Reasons Why,’ HBO, with its new high school centered show, ‘Euphoria,’ appears to be overtly, intentionally marketing extremely graphic adult content – sex, violence, profanity and drug use – to teens and preteens.”
Winter told Fox News that although the cable program company says Euphoria is a show intended for adults, “HBO is now internationally marketing this content to children.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics has long warned that kid-centric media content, whether on the big screen, on TV or in video games can be harmful to young minds. The AAP has noted that even suggestive lyrics in the songs they listen to can put the health and welfare of children and adolescents at “significant” risk.
Weber says that there is plenty of evidence that “the right kinds video games” can have a positive impact on children. He says there are many games that challenge kids brains to solve problems -- electronic puzzles, games that can improve hand-eye coordination and that teach how to analyze complex situations and make quick decisions, for example.
According to a large scale study of adolescents conducted by Michigan State University, “the more kids played video games, the more creative they were in tasks such as drawing pictures and writing stories.”
However, Weber points out that many children are attracted to games with aggressively violent themes and that there are numerous studies showing these can have a negative effect on youngsters. “It’s up to parents to monitor their children’s video gaming as well as the amount of time they are spending with these devices. It is most important, however, that guardians make sure the games are age appropriate, a task that can be aided by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. The ESRB rates games by age, offering six categories ranging from ‘Early Childhood’ to ‘Adult Only’.”
Weber also suggests that parents preview any such game that can be purchased for use in gaming systems and those that are downloaded via the Internet.