Daily Telegraph 6 August 2012
Knife crime is soaring among youngsters because brutal video games that reward players for murder, rape and theft have made violence seem acceptable, the state’s top cop said yesterday. Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione believes young people are being desensitised by spending hours acting out deadly scenarios on their computer screens. “The thing that’s concerning me is the prevalence of people who are at this stage not just prepared to carry a knife, but prepared to use it,” Mr Scipione said. “That has increased significantly.” He said he had reached the conclusion that there was “nothing more potentially damaging than the sort of violence they’re being exposed to, be it in movies, be it in console games they’re playing.” “How can it not affect you if you’re a young adolescent growing up in an era where to be violent is almost praiseworthy, where you engage in virtual crime on a daily basis and many of these young people (do) for hours and hours on end,” he said. “You get rewarded for killing people, raping women, stealing money from prostitutes, driving cars crashing and killing people. That’s not going to affect the vast majority but it’s only got to affect one or two and what have you got? You’ve got some potentially really disturbed young person out there who’s got access to weapons like knives or is good with the fist, can go out there and almost live that life now in the streets of modern Australia. That’s concerning.”
Nonviolent videos better for preschoolers’ sleep
Reuters 6 Aug 2012
Preschoolers seemed to sleep better when their parents were encouraged to cut kids’ exposure to violent or age inappropriate videos throughout the day, in a new study. Researchers found that within months after urging parents to switch their children’s viewing to nonviolent and age-appropriate videos, those children were about 20 percent less likely to have a sleep problem than kids whose parents didn’t receive the same advice. “One of the things that’s exciting for me is that if families want to make these changes, it doesn’t require going to the doctor’s office or going to a person’s home,” said Michelle Garrison, the study’s lead author from the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Previous research has suggested a link between the kinds of media young kids see during the day and sleep problems at night.