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Media influences on children and advice for parents to reduce harmful exposure to firearm violence in media

Pediatric Clinics of North America cover.Key points

  • Firearm violence is a major concern for young people today, with a recent poll showing greater concern for gun violence (51%) than for abortion (47%) or climate change (37%).

  • Young people learn about firearms from entertainment and social media, with movies and television cited as major sources for learning about firearms, second only to family and friends.

  • Obtain a thorough media history as part of each child’s psychosocial evaluation, ideally by talking directly with the child rather than through or with his or her parent(s).

  • Ask children about their favorite games and movies; ask what is happening on social media (if they are on it), and ask them how they feel when watching or playing.

  • Pediatricians can educate parents about those risks by sensitizing them to the potentially harmful effects of violent PG-13 movies, TV-14 dramas, and E-rated video games that involve the use of simulated firearms.