HealthyChildren.org says that kids are increasingly exposed to television, movies, video games and music that often have violent themes. It also says that children exposed to violence and crime may later resolve conflict in a violent manner and may become desensitized to it 2. Parents and caregivers can help a child learn to live a healthy life, thereby reducing the effects that crime and violence can have on a school-age child 3.
Ways Kids Are Exposed to Violence
A child can be exposed to violence and crime in several ways such as exposure at home, at school or through various media 23. This may have long- and short-term effects on school-aged kids that can hinder their lives. Crime and violence affects not only the child, but also families and society 3. HealthyChildren.org says that there are different effects, depending on whether the violence or crime is experienced first-hand or through media 3.
Effects of Exposure
The National Center for Children Exposed to Violence, or the NCCEV, says that school violence can hinder the learning process and lead to violent revenge and a range of mental health issues, including depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome 2. Domestic violence can lead to bullying behaviors, acting out and shame, says the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence, or the ACADV. Media violence can lead children to fear going out because it makes them feel unsafe as well as the possibly desensitizing them to violent and criminal acts, reports Kids Health 2.
Exposure Hinders Children's Development
Exposure to violence negatively affects the development of a child 2. The NCCEV reports these children have trouble with school, emotions and cognition as well as an increase in depression and anxiety. It can even result in future substance abuse. Children who witness violence or crime also have an increased risk for aggression, conflicts with those around them and difficulty trusting the people in their lives 2.
Effects Include Depression, Aggression
Childhood exposure to violence and crime can have effects that occur right away and those that linger or do not appear until later. Children suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome may have flashbacks and can end up feeling suicidal, says HealthyChildren. The NCCEV adds that these children are at a higher risk of becoming involved in the juvenile justice system due to their often-learned violent behavior. Violence and crime can also reduce self-esteem, which can leading to self-destructiveness and aggressive behaviors toward others.
Limit Exposure to Violence
While it is nearly impossible to completely avoid crime and violence, there are several things that parents, caregivers and teachers can do to help children 2. Parents are advised to limit the time that kids spend exposed to media; parents can also watch TV or listen to music with their kids, which allows parents to discuss these topics with their child, says Kids Health 1. Reporting potential abuse at home can remove a child from a violent environment. HealthyChildren recommends that parents and caregivers talk about the events and seek therapy if a child needs it to recover from a violent event 13.
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