The range of media to which children have access has grown rapidly in this generation. Take the books, newspapers, magazines, films, radio, tapes, records, and broadcast television familiar to children of the previous generation, then add dozens of cable t.v. channels, thousands of videos and video games, and millions of Internet sites. The result is a dense electronic bath in which children are immersed daily. This is true not only in the industrialized countries but increasingly in all societies of the world.
What is the impact of this new environment on children, and what is the particular effect of images of violence in the media? To address this question, in i996 and i997 UNESCO conducted the Global Media Violence Survey. More than 5,000 12-year-old students in 93 countries participated, representing all regions of the world and a broad variety of cultural, social, and economic conditions, from countries like Canada andjapan to high-crime neighbourhoods in Brazil and war-ravaged countries like Angola and Tajikistan.
Under the supervision of Drjo Groebel of Utrecht University, the study aimed to understand the role of media in the lives of children and the relationship between media violence and aggressive behaviour among children in different settings.
The study found that 93% of students who live in electrified urban or rural areas have regular access to television and watch it for an average of three hours a day. This is at least So% more than the time spent on any other out-of-school activity, including homework, being with friends, or reading. There is little doubt that television is the most important medium in the lives of children almost everywhere in the world.
Television, videos, and video games expose children to high levels of violent images on a daily basis. In many countries, there is an average of five to...