Violence in the Media

Nannies and Au Pairs Must Monitor Media for Children

Television, movies, magazines, newspapers, radio, music videos, video games, and the Internet are strong influences on children. Modern media technology greatly improves our lives with immediate access to news throughout the entire world, as well as educating us to other opinions, and our total learning. But, those same media sources can be harmful, especially to children.

The biggest concern is the number of real and imaginary violent acts children see on the television, in video games, and in the movies. Do you remember seeing children act like Power Rangers, pretending to stab or shoot their friends while playing?
Children under five-years-old do not understand the difference between real and unreal violent acts. Repeatedly seeing violence desensitizes children to the dangers of negative behaviors. For example, young children may not understand that using guns like their heroes in the cartoons is dangerous.
Hearing and reading about violence can be as dangerous as seeing aggressive behaviors. For shock value movies use profanity and make fun of people. Children repeat the profanity and may think it is funny to say nasty things about others, or make fun of other people when it is not.
To reduce a child’s exposure to violent acts, the television industry has a rating system for television shows called V-Chips. Learn more about the V-Chip ratings from the Federal Communications Commission at:

Nannies must monitor how children use media. Always follow the parents guidelines when choosing what children can play and watch. Use the television to educate rather then to baby-sit.
Signs Of Children Seeing Too Much Violence In The Media

— Too aggressive
— Rejected by friends due to bad behavior
— Less sensitive to pain
— Not sensitive to suffering of others
— Argues or disobeys authority

Ask the children you care for if they can find examples of verbal aggression in programs. Discuss if shows try to make verbal aggression seem funny or exciting.
Do you think your charges are influenced by violence in the media? Do you have any tips to share with nannies and au pairs on the topic?


  1. Media marketers know what glues kids to the screen, and they’ll use it regardless of the damage to the kids. The violence and attitudes in ads and shows such as WWW desensitizes kids to violence. The same sorts of video games and shows that kids see have been used by the military for years, to transform men into soldiers who can kill without hesitation.I strongly advocate joining the “campaign for a commercial-free childhood” at and participating in the email write-in campaigns that target the harmful exploitation of children for commercial purposes. And see the free documentary “Consuming Kids: the Commercialization of Childhood” near you. For screenings, check

  2. I care for three boys and they have all the warning signs listed! Swinging light sabers and swords are a part of their life and defines how they play. They have nerf guns and gi joes now and water guns and pretend machine guns. While eating dinner of taking a shower they make shooting and whipping noises.I think the parents think it is testosterone, but they are mimicking the shows they see. I think soccer, baseball, swimming, and basketball should be how they use their energy and testosterone, not swords and light sabers. I can’t tell the parents to stop buying guns, swords, and light sabers!!Julia in Philly

  3. It is a really difficult and pervasive problem. I am not as articulate as Janice or as educated as some but ithere is no doubt that there are too many violent and sexual acts in the media that children see. It is really difficult to keep kids technological current and avoid disturbing images. Violent and sexual acts are the most disturbing but I really dislike hearing swear or curse words too. I feel like every movie marketed to children and rated G still have “potty mouth” and the kids come out saying those disrespectful or inappropriate phrases.I think redirecting children’s activities to sports rather than gun fights and swords is a good idea.

  4. I don’t like when extreme acts of violence are blamed on the media though. When a young man kills someone for example, people start blaming the video games and violence in tv shows and so on. Although young children may not be able to realize what is real and what is not real and they must be sheltered from disturbing subjects and images, the majority of people realize acts of violence in the media are fictional. For example, we have all probably seen the Halloween series of movies and Friday the 13th but we never kill anyone or even hit someone.Have you ever slugged anyone? Not likely.But, yes, as nannies we must shelter children from violence, ads, sexy videos and inappropriate language. No soap operas, talk shows, or news programs benefit kids.Farrah, Madison, Wisconsin

  5. It is too late, the kids have seen Indiana Jones, Star Wars, you name it. Even Tom and Jerry are violent. Let’s concentrate on the fact that most kids never act-out the actual violent acts (despite nightmares and pretending to be the violent heros) they seldom actually hurt someone.NorthWest NJ

  6. An older gun-obsessed child (a friend of the child I cared for) continually talked about guns and shooting-scenes in films (seriously, non-stop!), until I told him that I simply didn’t like guns and shooting, so please, if he could just not talk about it when I am around. He agreed, though it was really hard for him. He’d start to talk about a movie, but seeing that he had to leave the gun and shooting parts out, it left him with little. This poor boy unfortunately is allowed to play several hours per day of first-person-shooter games (very violent and totally age inappropriate) and watch movies that are violent and equally inappropriate. I definitely believe that he is negatively influenced by this exposure to violence. By banning the topic of guns and shooting, I kind of cheated my way out of it, I of course didn’t solve the problem. But it was a hell of a lot easier for me though!

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