TRENTON – Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) and Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) have introduced a legislative initiative to help parents limit their children’s exposure to violence in the media, helping them counter the pervasive depictions of brutality from TV, movies, video games, the Internet and even via cell phones. The proposal would have the Department of Education develop an informative pamphlet for schools to distribute to the parents of all their students.
“A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that each child in America is exposed to an average of 200,000 acts of violence on TV alone before they reach the age of 18,” said Lesniak. ‘The proliferation of video games and other forms of media has multiplied this exposure. This can desensitize young people to violence and have a negative impact on their mental and psychological development.”
According to the bill, the State Education Department would prepare an information guide that would help parents limit the exposure to and the influence of media violence for their children. The information would be posted on the department’s website and made available to every school district in the state at no cost. Each district would then be responsible for distributing it to parents.
“Anything we can do to better empower families with relevant information that helps parents and guardians we should do,” said Ruiz, who chairs the Senate Education Committee. “This is a positive way of allowing them to partner with schools in working with children to deal with media violence. It is a small but important step to help counter the tide of violence that has claimed the lives of too many young people.”
Lesniak and Ruiz cited as examples some information guides developed by anti-violence organizations, including the American Psychological Association’s “Act Against Violence’ program: http://actagainstviolence.apa.org/materials/handouts/FamilyMV3.pdf http://actagainstviolence.apa.org/materials/handouts/FamilyMV4.pdf; and the Parents Television Council:
The bill was introduced on Monday.
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