Are screens teaching our kids that violence is normal?

Violence in Australian schools is erupting at an alarming rate, and educators believe unfiltered online content is driving the trend.

In the past four years, violent incidents in public schools have multiplied by more than a third,  according to new data from the NSW Education Department. 

In this year alone, more than 600 teachers were assaulted by their own students.

But it’s not just kids who are acting out. Research also shows a significant spike in attacks by parents on principals.

“We are getting increasing reports of people ending up in hospitals because of the attacks — broken bones and worse,” reported Deakin Professor of Educational Leadership Phil Riley.

In this year alone, more than 600 teachers were assaulted by their own students.

Commenting on the disturbing findings, Secondary Principals’ Council president Craig Petersen drew a direct line between the escalating violence and increasing levels of unfiltered, inappropriate screen-time. 

Children were being constantly exposed to violent content through streaming services like YouTube and Twitch, as well as first-person shooter games and “battle royale”-style games like Fortnite.

The lesson from such viewing was that violence was a normal, acceptable means of conflict resolution. 

“The depiction of violence in film, television and video games tends to be far more graphic than it used to be,” Petersen told The Daily Telegraph.

“You have got to look at what is being modelled in ­society, the films that they’re watching, the video games that they’re playing,” he said.

violent video

Cyber expert and leading child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg agreed, pointing to “the glorification of violence” in video games and movies and on social media.

“I think these figures are a clarion call for parents, schools and communities to do

something about it, to give these kids the skills that they so clearly lack.”

Yet recent scholarly research shows no link between violent viewing and violent behaviour.

According to the author of one such study, Oxford University researcher Professor Andrew Przybylski, “The idea that violent video games drive real-world aggression is a popular one, but it hasn’t tested very well over time. 

“Despite interest in the topic by parents and policy-makers, the research has not demonstrated that there is cause for concern.”

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Topics: Parental Controls, Screen time, Mobile Apps, Social Media, classroom management, digital learning, violence

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