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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Tuned into violence

What kids watch on TV does affect behavior, but so does how parents talk about shows

But does the way television depicts violence or sex really make a difference in the way children behave? (See also, page 8.) The answer, according to Karen Dill, is, "Yes ... probably."

A psychology professor at Lenoir-Rhyne College, Hickory, N.C., Dill said several studies show that children often react aggressively immediately after viewing violent programs. And a 22-year study from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, on the long-term effects of repeated exposure to media violence concluded that prolonged exposure to such programs is a factor in the profile of adults who end up committing violent crimes.

Despite such findings, there is no way to be sure how much of the blame can be placed on television. "No one who does research on TV violence will say that's what causes somebody to be aggressive or why every killer kills someone," Dill said. "It's just a variable. But it's an important one."


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