This article is about the relationship between exposure to media violence and bullying behaviours, school violence and criminal offences. The author promotes media literacy as a way to prevent violence and describes results of the 10Day Challenge programme as a strategy in the North American context.
In discussing alternatives to the funding of media literacy by "big media," the article discusses the founding of the Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME Coalition) as a political movement for focusing on the connection between television and video game violence and the increased incidence of violence among children and youth.
Using the example of the school shootings at Columbine High School, the author cites the following results of increased exposure to media violence: more sarcasm and humiliation in school environments, building frustration; acting out of the media-induced culture of revenge; and reduced empathy, hence, reduced inclination to rescue peers.
The strategy cited in this article is the 10Day Challenge to turn off TV, which was created in 20 elementary schools in Quebec, to induce children to increase reading, physical activity, parent-child time, and participation in community activities. In the high school experiment in Challenge participation, which included media literacy sessions in support of the Challenge, statistics show that 23% of participants decreased viewing and gaming by 75%, resulting in a high level of parent and teacher satisfaction. Benefits include: improved community and school dynamics, improved critical viewing of media, reduced verbal and physical violence, and increased physical activities and social time.
In conclusion, the Challenge offers a strategy for North American parents and schools to make a change in the social patterns of children and youth through reduced exposure to violence in media.
Email to The Communication Initiative from Jacques Brodeur on August 29 2006
and Nordicom Newsletter No. 2, 2005.