A study of New Zealand children’s exposure to violence shows that the most common experience is watching people fighting and killing on television. The obvious conclusion of the study is that the quickest way to reduce violence in children’s lives is to turn off the television.
90 % of the 2077 schoolchildren aged 9 to 13 in the study said they had seen violence in movies and shows. Around two-thirds of them said they had directly experienced physical violence; two thirds also said they had witnessed physical violence directed at other children; and 27 % reported witnessing violence against adults mostly as a result of family breakdown.
The study also found that witnessing physical violence against adults and in the media had more impact on children than witnessing physical violence against other children. Therefore parents can make a choice as to what their children are watching or the video games they are playing. The study found that “emotional violence” was even more prevalent and that 11 % of children had suffered sexual violence, comparable with 12 % in a US survey.
The Parliamentary Assembly should give urgent consideration to this issue and invite international organisations and national parliaments and governments to prioritise the protection of children and condemn every form of violence against children the most weak and innocent human beings.