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13. 12. 2008
Aggression between children
Aggression is a type of behaviour, which knowingly and purposefully hurts; curtails freedom and damages persons or objects. It is said that aggression is hidden in each of us and it is our responsibility to control our aggression. In the last years the stories about the children, who steal, bully or even murder, become more prevalent. Such news as: an 8 year old boy who had killed his younger brother by throwing him from the 1. floor or children who get drunk and then for fun let a dog kill a cat, etc.
Children see violence in their schools, their neighbourhoods, and their homes and of course the media is saturated with violent stories whether entertainment or truth. War in foreign lands along with daily reports of murder, rape, and robberies also heighten a child's perception of potential violence.
According to various internet sites, children are becoming more violent at earlier stages in their lives. From whence comes this aggression?
Television in the home is the greatest source of visual violence for children. The average child watches 8,000 televised murders and 100,000 acts of violence before finishing elementary school. That number more than doubles by the time he or she reaches age 18.
Another source of violence is MTV. Teenagers listen to more than 10,000 hours of rock and rap music, and this impact is intensified as they spend countless hours in front of MTV watching violent and sensual images.
Movie violence these days is louder, bloodier, and more graphically precise than ever before. When a bad guy was shot in a black-and-white Western, the most we saw was a puff of smoke and a few drops of fake blood. Now the sights, sounds, and special effects often shock us.
Violence in entertainment is not new. Even in ancient Rome, people gathered to watch gladiators. These shows were incredibly popular; in order to accommodate the huge masses of people eager to watch the combat.
Long before children watched violent cartoons, they listened to violent stories. Even our most cherished fairy tales often contain bloodshed. In fact, modern versions of fairy tales tend to be a less violent than the originals. In Hans Christen Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, the little mermaid has her tongue cut out, almost stabs her prince, and dies.
People enjoy watching violence because it is more thrilling than to watch happy stories. Vincent P. Mathews, a professor of radiology at Indiana University School of Medicine, discovered that watching violence on the media might actually alter brain function. Functional magnetic resonance imaging showed that watching violent images decreased frontal lobe brain activity in children whether or not they had previous problems of aggression. The same was done with video games. The research shows that the brain cannot distinguish between violent actions that are committed by the individual and violent activities that are purely unreal. Additionally, violent video games may be training the brain for real life violent behaviour.
Children cannot distinguish between real violence and fake violence, and simply watching violence may lead to increased behavioural problems.
Some researches investigated the children’s reaction to the series Power Rangers to prove that children became more aggressive in their styles of play after watching it. Fifty-two elementary-school girls and boys, aged between 5 and 11 years were randomly assigned either to watch an episode of Power Rangers or to a control group which did not see the episode. All the children were observed both before and after the programme while playing in their classroom. The researchers reported that children who had watched the Power Rangers episode exhibited a greater number of aggressive acts the next day at play than did children who had not been shown the episode. Indeed, children who had watched the episode committed seven times as many actions classed as aggressive as did the other children.
Psychologist Leonard Eron studied children at age eight and then again at eighteen. He found that television habits established at the age of eight influenced aggressive behaviour through childhood and adolescent years. He found that children who watched significant amounts of TV violence at the age of 8 were consistently more likely to commit violent crimes or engage in child or spouse abuse at 30.
It is common knowledge that children are very impressionable, and that the people they meet, their parents, and teachers can have a huge impact on the lives of children. We live in a society which praise individuality and freedom and when our success is measured by material wealth rather that family values. Today, many aggressive children are from poor or divorce, incomplete family settings. There can be situation when the child may be neglected because both parents need to work and the children have nothing else to occupy their time except for the media, especially TV media. The children of rich families are often filled up with parent’s money than their attention. Because of that they rather find solution in playing violent video games, drug or alcohol addiction. This can lead to destructive and aggressive behaviour. Also the tension between the parents and the ensuing confusion may have negative results on some children. And what a child who lives in the family where everything is solved with quarrels and fights? The child considers that the only possible solution is by this method because he doesn’t know any other response.
Children grow in stages of development. There are certain times when children are learning new skills and are easily frustrated. This can lead to aggressive behaviour. Also children who are ignored may become angry and aggressive. If they feel their need are not being heard and responded to, they may resort to acting out to get an adult’s attention. A study by the Mediascope Institute found that many children have already, by age six, spent more time watching TV than time they will spend talking to their parents.
Divorce is a hard for children to understand. With so many marriages ending in divorce today, it is often the children who are at the greatest risk of suffering the emotional complications when a marriage falls apart.
One out of every 10 children is considered unhappy, troubled or temperamental; the effect of a divorce upon these children can be profound. For infants, from birth through toddler age, the impact of a divorce may not seem. However, when faced with the unstable home environment of a divorce, the infant will commonly become more temperamental than usual which can lead to the first indications of a disturbed personality into childhood and adulthood. Infants of divorcing parents often cry excessively and even show sights of aggression.
Pre-school age children also show profound impacts of divorce. It is a age group, which seems to be most affected by a separation or divorce of parents. Statistics have shown that divorce and separation, during a child's age of two to three years, often leads to delayed development, even aggression.
Obviously something must be done. Parents, media programmers, and general citizens must take responsible actions to prevent the increasing violence in our society. Violent homes, violence on television, violence in the movies, and violence in the schools all contribute to the increasingly violent society we live in. We have a responsibility to make a difference and apply the appropriate principles in order to help stem the tide of violence in our society.

Certainly no single factor can be responsible for badly behaved children, but it ´s evident that a constant resist of violence in video games and TV are not helping. Perhaps more sympathetic and understanding parents, who find the time to spend with their children and listen to them, not just saying what to do, will be at least a partial solution. These parents would easily notice if their children are witnessing too much violence and could apply limits and find more leisure time activities. Listening to children and responding to their needs tell children they’re important and they don’t need to hurt someone to make and adult pay attention. More family togetherness and better family upbringing could be the answer to this problem.