Feb 18 2005
By Tony Collins, Evening Mail
Parents should exercise the same control over their children's TV viewing as they do over tablets or chemicals in the home.
That was the warning issued today by psychology experts in Birmingham, increasingly alarmed at the influence of violent TV on impressionable children.
Researchers at Birmingham University's Centre for Forensic and Family Psychology have now issued safety guidelines.
They say the availability of videos, satellite and cable TV in the home means children now have access to " violent media inappropriate to their age, developmental stage and mental health".
The growth in interactive video and computer games containing violence has also limited the effectiveness of parental control.
Centre director Prof Kevin Browne said controls over age restriction were more difficult to implement in the home than in the cinema.
"We are asking that parents show greater responsibility for their children's viewing habits by recommending that parents exercise the same care with violent media entertainment aimed at adults as they do with medication and chemicals around the home.
"Carelessness with material containing extreme violence and sexual imagery might even be considered a
form of emotional child maltreatment."
Prof Browne added: "There is evidence that violence in the media has become more acceptable to policy makers.
"Producers need to recognise the potential impact of violence on vulnerable audiences who may not have the capacity or the will to see the violence in the context of the story."
Studies showed that violence in the media increased aggressive behaviours in children and adolescents, especially boys.
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