TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by state Sen. Raymond Lesniak and Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz to help parents limit their children’s exposure to violence in the media was signed into law on Monday. The new law requires the Department of Education to develop an informative pamphlet for schools to distribute to the parents of all their students.
“Young people digest a virtual onslaught of depictions of violence from a growing array of media,” said Lesniak. “The volume and intensity of their exposure to violence in the media can cause them to become desensitized to the real-life consequences of violent behavior. I believe we can work to counteract this problem through the schools and with parents in order to protect the psychological and emotional wellbeing of our children.”
According to the bill (S-2715) 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:
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