Thankfully, discussions on how to prevent tragedies such as Newtown, Conn. are filling the media and political arena. Debates will be heated and action will be painstakingly slow. You can wait for research to be done, debates to be held and laws to be passed or you can take action now in the place it matters most… with your own family.
If every family in America embraced change within their own family the likelihood of another senseless tragedy could be reduced. We can start a grass roots movement that will be as powerful as any legislation that can be passed.
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1. Securely store any guns kept in the home. The guns Adam Lanza used to kill 27 people were registered in his mother’s name. Clearly, Adam has access to those guns.
If you have guns in your home they must be in a locked gun safe. Only adults should know how to unlock the safe.
2. Limit or curtail viewing of violent TV shows, movies and video games in your home.
The average American child views nearly 1,000 TV murders each year. What good comes from this? Is it necessary for your child to simulate shooting human beings in games such as “Call of Duty,” “Grand Theft Auto” and “Mortal Kombat?”
Although direct correlations between shooting rampages and violent media are scant, can we agree that it perpetuates a culture of violence in America that is unparalleled in Western countries? Violence is glorified as “entertainment” and Americans seem to have an insatiable appetite for media violence. The latest “Call of Duty” earned over $1billion in sales within two weeks of its release.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "Extensive research evidence indicates that media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, nightmares, and fear of being harmed." Watching violent shows is also linked with having less empathy toward others.
Clearly, the shooters in Newtown, Columbine, Aurora, and other sites did not see their victims as caring, loving human beings whose loss would devastate all who knew them.
The University of Michigan Health System site has a thorough summary of media viewing and its effects on children and I highly recommend you visit this site: http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/tv.htm
The children of Newtown, Conn. have signed a pledge to throw away violent video games. Shouldn’t your kids join them?
Be a media-savvy parent by watching shows your children are watching and playing video games they’re playing so you can experience first-hand what your child is being exposed to. Don’t be afraid to take a stand and limit exposure to violence.
3. Prohibit physical aggression in your family.
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Assailants find violence as a solution to a problem.
From a young age, teach your kids that physical aggression and violence is never a solution to a problem. When children learn peaceful means of solving problems and practice using them every day they will transfer those skills to other relationships and will learn conflict resolution and negotiation skills.