More difficulties in adolescence for children exposed to violent content

More difficulties in adolescence for children exposed to violent content

The exposure of young preschool children to violent images on television can translate into greater psychological difficulties up to 10 years later, during their adolescence.

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This is at least what suggests a study conducted by Professor Linda Pagani, who works in the School of Psychoeducation at the University of Montreal.

To reach this conclusion, the professor’s team followed a cohort of nearly 2,000 children aged 3 to 4 and a half whose time spent watching violent content on television was measured by their parents.

“The child, at that age, is not going to distinguish between reality and what they see on the screens. […] They will integrate this learning on the social level, on their interactions, ”explained Professor Pagani on the air at LCN on Tuesday.

The repercussions of this time spent in front of the TV were then measured at the age of 12. Researchers found that teens who were more exposed to violent content during childhood were more likely to have psychological difficulties, in addition to learning problems.

“Violence on screens is often very fast. Things happen very quickly. […] What can happen is that they will develop a taste for things very quickly. So, at school, when the teacher explains something, they have a hard time following because they find it boring,” explained Pagani.

The phenomenon is observed in both boys and girls, although unequally.

“What we’ve seen is that both sexes experience psychological risks, such as distress, inattention and aggression, but boys are at a little higher risk because their choice of content at the he screen is often more aggressive,” the professor pointed out.

The study was published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

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