It is common to see children glued to their TVs, phones, tablets, or computers, eagerly watching the latest superhero or action movie. While action and superhero movies may seem harmless, they tend to contain violent scenes, which can have a deep psychological effect on children. In this blog, I will take an in-depth look at the psychological effects of watching violent movies on children, the impact of these movies on their emotional and cognitive development, and how parents can protect their kids from their influence.
What are the Psychological Effects of Watching Violent Movies on Children?
Violent movies have been found to have a negative effect on children’s mental health, leading to:
- Increased aggressive behavior
- Increase in anxiety levels
- Desensitization to violence
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Decrease in concentration
- Increase in restlessness and irritability
- Low self-esteem
To understand the psychological effects of violent movies on children, it is crucial to know how they affect the brain. Watching violent movies releases adrenaline and cortisol in the body, hormones associated with fear and stress. This can lead to an increase in aggressive emotions and behaviors, as well as an increase in anxiety levels. Additionally, violent movies can lead to a decrease in empathy, as children are exposed to violence and desensitized to it.
The impact of watching violent movies on emotional and cognitive development is also significant. Violent films can lead to a decrease in concentration, as well as an increase in restlessness and irritability. Children may also show signs of depression and low self-esteem.
Does Watching Violent Movies Affect Behavior?
Studies by Behav Sci (Basel) have shown that violent movies can affect behavior, both in the short and long term. In the short term, as mentioned earlier, children may show an increase in aggressive behavior and a decrease in empathy, as well as an increase in restlessness and irritability. In the long term, children may show an increased likelihood of violent behavior, as well as an increased risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.
Remember that not all children are affected by violent movies in the same way. Some children may be more susceptible to the effects of violent movies than others due to their age, gender, and other factors. Additionally, the impact of violent films on behavior will vary depending on the type of violence depicted in the movie, as well as the amount of exposure to violence.
Does Watching Violent Movies Make You Violent?
Though there is evidence to suggest that violent movies can lead to an increase in aggressive behavior, the connection between watching violent movies and violent behavior is not absolute. According to MedicineNet, there is a correlation between watching violent films and an increase in aggressive behavior, but this correlation is not enough to prove causation.
Besides, let’s not forget that not all violent reactions can be blamed on violent movies, as other factors can lead to an increase in violent behavior, such as family environment, socioeconomic status, and access to weapons. Additionally, some factors can counter movies’ adverse effects, such as positive role models, access to educational and recreational activities, and positive coping skills.
Do Violent Movies Have any Positive Effects?
Despite the potential negative effects of violent movies, there are also some possible positive effects. For example, according to a National Geographic article, some children may find that watching violent movies can help them to cope with traumatic events or difficult emotions. Additionally, some films may also contain positive messages about courage and resilience, which could have a positive effect on children’s emotional development.
The positive effects of violent movies, however, are outweighed by the potential negative ones. Therefore, parents should be aware of the possible consequences of violent films on their children’s emotional and cognitive development and take steps to minimize the impact of these movies on their children.
What Can Parents Do to Minimize the Effects of Violent Movies on Kids?
It is crucial for parents to monitor their children’s viewing habits and limit the amount of time spent watching violent movies. Additionally, parents need to talk to their kids or, in some severe cases, get professional help to minimize the effects of their exposure to violent movies.
Parents can also use parental control apps such as Safes to help protect their kids from the influence of violent movies. With the Safes parental control app, you can monitor and control your child’s activity on websites and apps that host video streaming or downloading. You’d receive reports of the websites and apps your child has accessed or tried to access on their phones, tablets, or computers. Using the Web Filter and App Blocker features, you can stop your child from using websites or apps that are harmful to them.
To monitor your child’s access to violent movies on video streaming platforms such as Netflix, TVs, and TV channels, try adjusting their parental control and privacy settings. We’ve covered blog posts on how to put parental control on quite a few platforms and devices, as you can see below:
- How to Put Parental Controls on Netflix
- How to Put Parental Controls on Hotstar
- How to Put Parental Controls on NOW TV
- How to Put Parental Controls on Roku
- How to Put Parental Controls on Zgemma
- How to Set a Screen Time Limit on YouTube
- How to Set Parental Control on Vizio TV
- How to Put Parental Controls on Xfinity TV
- How to Put Parental Controls on GOtv
- How to Put Parental Control on LG TV
- How to Put Parental Controls on Samsung TVs
- How to Put Parental Control on TCL TV
Concluding the Psychological Effects of Watching Violent Movies on Children
Parents need to be aware of the psychological effects of violent movies on children, as these movies can have a deep and lasting impact on their emotional and cognitive development. Parents should be sure to limit their children’s exposure to violent films and give them emotional help if they’re disturbed by the violent content. Additionally, parents can use parental control apps such as Safes to help protect their kids from the influence of violent movies.
If you wish to give the parental control tools Safes offers a try, feel free to download it from our website. We offer a 14-day free trial with premium features. The sign-up process is quick and easy since we don’t ask for your credit card information.
Frequently Asked Questions about the psychological effects of watching violent movies
Here are some of the answers to the most commonly asked questions about this topic.
Does watching violent movies affect you?
People who watch violent movies may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others, become more fearful of the world around them, and be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others. Furthermore, there is a correlation between exposure to media violence and increased aggressive behavior.
Do violent movies affect behavior?
People who watch violent movies are more likely to engage in aggressive behavior, and this is particularly true for young viewers. Exposure to violent images has a desensitizing effect, so people may be more likely to tolerate or even engage in violent behavior in the future. However, the correlation does not necessarily imply causation and other factors could also contribute to aggressive behavior.
How do violent movies affect the brain?
Watching violent movies can lead to increased aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, and a greater acceptance of aggression as an everyday occurrence. Additionally, violent films can contribute to post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, and nightmares.