Youth and Violence: Video/Online Games
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- 59 million kids, aged 2-17, regularly play video games. One out of seven shows signs of an addiction. One out of three boys admitted that they feel addicted.
- Playing video games triggers and doubles the amount of dopamine in the brain, roughly equal to a dose of speed.
- 89% of the top selling video games contain violence.
- Many games offer an arena only of weapons, killing, kicking, stabbing and shooting.
- In many video or online games, kids “win” by murdering, raping and bullying.
- In many violent games, players must become increasingly more violent in order to keep winning.
- Nearly 90% of boys under 18 years old have played “R” rated video games.
- Sex, violence, language, and anti-social behavior are common elements in many games. The majority of players are boys.
- 60% of female video game characters are shown as sexually provocative. Many are depicted as weak and vulnerable.
- Each year more than 500,000 girls and women are raped. Half are raped before the age of 18.
- 90% of violent physical assaults are committed by males.
- 95% of domestic violence is committed by males. On average, 3 women every day are murdered as a result of domestic violence.
- One in four men will physically abuse their partners.
- Battering is the leading cause of injury to women in the U.S.
- 95% of dating violence is committed by males.
- Over 85% of murders are committed by males.
- 95% of child sexual abuse is committed by males. Millions of girls are sexually abused each year.
- Millions of girls and women are victims of sexual harassment in school, in the workplace, and on the street.
- 95% of road rage is committed by males.
Youth and Violence: TV/Movies
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- Media violence is everywhere. Hundreds of studies have proven that it has a negative effect on kids.
- A FTC report showed that 80% of “R” rated movies, 70% of restricted video games, and 100% of music with “explicit content” warning labels were being marketed to children under 17 years old.
- Research shows that media violence has not just increased in quantity; it has also become more graphic, sexual, and sadistic.
- The average child who watches 2 hours of cartoons per day may see more than 10,000 violent acts every year.
- There are more than twice as many violent incidents in children’s programming than in other types of programming.
- By the time kids enter middle school, they have seen 8,000 murders and 100,000 more acts of violence on broadcast TV.
- By the time the average child is 18 years old, they will have seen 200,000 acts of violence and 16,000 murders.
- Teens who watch more than 1 hour of TV per day are 4 times more likely than other teens to commit aggressive acts in adulthood.
- The more aggressive behavior kids see in the media, the more it becomes an acceptable way to settle conflicts.
- Media violence is especially damaging to children under 8 years old because they cannot easily tell the difference between real life and fantasy.
- The younger kids are when they see a violent or scary movie or TV show, the longer lasting the effects, especially in nightmares and increased anxiety.
- Exposure to media violence leads some children to believe that the world is a mean and scary place.
- Violence is a leading cause of death for children and adolescents – more prevalent than disease, cancer, or congenital disorders.
Youth and Sex
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- More than 80% of popular teen TV shows contain sexual content.
- 72% of teens think watching TV with a lot of sexual content influences sexual behavior.
- 70% of content once considered “R” rated now appears in PG-13 movies.
- Teens exposed to more sexual content in TV, movies, and music tend to have sex at younger ages and to engage in risky sex.
- Out of 68% of TV shows that contain overt sexual content, only 15% discuss risk and responsibility.
- Nearly 50% of American high school students have had sexual intercourse. Of these, 7% report having sex before the age of 13, and 14% have had more than 4 partners.
- Nine out of ten girls, ages 15-17, report feeling “some” or “a lot” of pressure to have sex.
- Each year more than 700,000 teenage girls have unplanned pregnancies.
- The U. S. has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world.
- Youth aged 15 to 24 years old account for nearly 50% of all STD diagnoses each year. This amounts to millions of young people.
- 50% of all new HIV infections in the U.S. are among young people.
- Virtually every media form studied provides ample evidence of the sexualization of women, including TV, music videos, music lyrics, movies, magazines, sports media, video games, the Internet and advertising.
Youth and Music
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- Pre-adolescents and adolescents listen to music, including music videos, between 3 and 4 hours per day.
- Children are a target market for music with explicit lyrics. The FTC found that the music industry continues to advertise music with violent and explicit lyrics to children.
- On average, music videos contain 93 sexual situations per hour, including 11 hard-core scenes showing behavior like intercourse and oral sex.
- Teens consider musicians their heroes more frequently than athletes.
- Music affects emotions and teens use music to enhance, intensify or change their mood.
- More than 20-30 music styles are identified by teens. Rap and heavy metal stir the most controversy over song lyrics.
- Lyrics of some teen music: advocate and glamorize the abuse of drugs or alcohol, describe graphic violence, talk about suicide, and describe harmful sexual practices, incest and a devaluing of women.
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- Advertising is a $180 billion dollar/year industry.
- The average American is exposed to over 3,000 ads every day.
- The average American will spend 3 years of their life watching TV commercials.
- Nearly 16 minutes of advertising is found in an average hour of prime time TV.
- Four hours of TV programming contain about 100 ads.
- The average American child sees 40,000 commercials annually on broadcast TV.
- Kids under 7 years old cannot tell the difference between entertainment and a commercial trying to sell them something.
- Advertisers annually spend over $15 billion targeting kids.
- The food and beverage industry spends more than $10 billion targeting children and youth through TV ads, contests, promotions, and packaging.
- Cartoons and toy characters are used on all kinds of products, seeking to influence children and purchasing.
- Children as young as 3 years old recognize brand logos, with brand loyalty influence starting at 2 years old.
- Kids 12 years and younger directly and indirectly influence the household spending of over $60 billion.
- Teenagers spend $155 billion per year on a wide variety of products.
- Materialistic kids often feel less happy and more anxious.
- Materialistic kids tend to judge their worth by what they own.
Body Image: Girls and Boys
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- Kids see more than 250,000 commercials aimed at their appearance by age 17.
- One study showed that the amount of time an adolescent watches soaps, movies and music videos is directly related to their degree of body dissatisfaction and desire to be thin.
- Identification with TV stars (for girls and boys), and models (for girls), or athletes (for boys), definitely correlated with body dissatisfaction.
- Advertisers tell girls and women that how they look ranks #1 in importance. This includes being beautiful, flawless, and unnaturally thin.
- Teenage girls spend over $8 billion annually on beauty products.
- 43% of 6-9 year olds are already using lipstick or lip gloss. 38% use hairstyling products. 12% use other cosmetics.
- Teenage girls who viewed commercials showing women who modeled the unrealistically thin-ideal type of beauty caused the girls to feel less confident, angry and dissatisfied with their weight and appearance.
- At age 13, 53% of American girls are “unhappy with their bodies.” This grows to 78% by the time girls are 17 years old.
- The average model: 5 ft 10” and 110 lbs. Average woman: 5 ft 5” and 145 lbs.
- The #1 wish for girls 11-17 is to be thinner.
- 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.
- In studies of 9 and 10 year old girls, 40% have tried dieting to lose weight.
- One in five American girls will suffer from an eating disorder.
- Girls are twice as likely as boys to experience a major depressive episode by the age of 15.
- The single group of teenagers most likely to consider suicide are girls who think they are overweight.
- There is an increasing rate of depression and suicide among girls and young women. In one year the suicide rate for 10-14 year old girls jumped 76%.
- Boys 11-17 want a physical look that can only be achieved through dangerous steroid use.
- Boys are surrounded by media messages that encourage them to judge their female peers based on how they look, often to view them with contempt, and to expect sexual subservience from them.
Girl’s and Women’s Magazines
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- Almost 25% of readers of women’s magazines are 12-17 year olds.
- Many spin-offs of women’s magazines have been created, targeting 12-17 year old girls.
- In leading teen magazines for girls the dominant themes focus on appearance, dating, clothes and fashion. Few articles focus on self-confidence, career, school, health issues, and becoming independent.
- Studies of girls, ages 12 and 13, who are regular readers of teen magazines use the magazines to formulate their concepts of femininity and rely heavily on articles that featured boys’ opinions about how to gain male approval and act in relationships with males.
- Studies of teen magazine readers indicate that they consider these magazines a valued source of advice about their personal lives.
- In 2007, magazines popular with both girls and women carried ads for the new cigarette “Camel No. 9” packaged in shiny black boxes with hot pink and teal borders. The marketing campaign associated the brand with romance and glamour through magazine ads that used words like “Light and luscious,” “Now available in stiletto,” “dressed to the 9s,” and a cigarette for “the most fashion forward woman.”
- Six years after the introduction of cigarette brands aimed at the female market, the rate of smoking initiation of 12 year old girls had increased by 110%.
- With cigarettes like Virginia Slims and Superslims Light, tobacco advertising targeted to girls and women continues to link smoking to slimness and weight control.
- More than 66% of girls in 5th through 12th grades report that their ideal body shape is influenced by the fashion magazines they read.
- Within 3 minutes of looking at fashion magazines, 70% of women feel guilty, ashamed, and depressed.
Youth and Smoking
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- 50% of all kids who start smoking do so because they saw it in movies.
- Smoking on screen is the #1 recruiter of new adolescent smokers in the U.S. – 390,000 kids every year.
- Tobacco companies spend more than $13 billion/year on advertising and marketing. That’s more than $34 million/day.
- According to Brown & Williamson, “Nicotine is addictive. We are then in the business of selling nicotine.”
- According to Philip Morris, “The cigarette should be conceived not as a product, but a package. The product is nicotine.” “Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customers.”
- Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds, the nation’s two largest tobacco companies, have launched new marketing campaigns that depict smoking as feminine and fashionable. Ads ran in magazines popular with girls and women.
- With every puff of a cigarette, a smoker breathes more than 4,000 chemicals, including ammonia, arsenic, acetone, formaldehyde, toluene, polonium-210, and carbon monoxide.
- Smoking is linked to many forms of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and emphysema.
- Almost 90% of adults who have been regular smokers began smoking by the time they were 18 years old.
- Each day in the U.S., almost 4,000 kids (under 18) try smoking for the first time.
- Each day 1,000 kids become new regular, daily smokers.
- Adult male smokers lose an average of 13 years of life.
- Adult female smokers lose an average of 14 years of life.
- Tobacco kills one American every 72 seconds.
- One in three kids will ultimately die from a smoking-related disease.
- Nearly 40% of U.S. children are exposed to “secondhand” tobacco smoke. These kids are at increased risk for multiple serious health problems like asthma, respiratory infections, and decreased lung growth.
- More than 6.4 million children will die prematurely from a smoking-related disease.
Youth and Drinking
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- 98% of the top movies, rated “G” to “NC-17”, showed entertainers drinking, smoking, or doing drugs.
- Media glamorizes drinking and smoking, leading kids to drink and smoke at younger ages.
- The alcohol industry spends over $4 billion per year in the U.S., the equivalent of $11 million per day, on advertising, sponsorships, and promotional activities.
- Alcoholic beverage companies have created over 100 Internet websites to advertise and promote their products. Many of these sites have a strong appeal to youth.
- By the time teenagers reach driving age they will have seen 75,000 ads for alcohol.
- American children view 2,000 beer and wine commercials per year.
- 56% of students in 5th through 12th grades say that alcohol advertising encourages them to drink.
- Young people report more positive feelings about drinking and their own likelihood to drink after watching alcohol ads on TV.
- The more alcohol ads kids see, the more they drink.
- Online advertisers are now targeting children as young as 4 years of age.
- Childhood drinking has devastating effects on brain functioning, including the ability to learn and remember.
- Childhood drinking puts kids at greater risk of poor academic performance, social problems, violence, depression, and suicide.
- Approximately 11 million American youth under the age of 21 drink alcohol. Nearly 50% of them drink to excess.
- Boys usually try alcohol for the first time at 11 years old.
- Girls usually try alcohol for the first time at 13 years old.
- Alcohol is the most frequently used drug by high school seniors.
- 47% of kids under 14 who start drinking become alcoholics within 10 years.
- Underage drinking is a factor in nearly 50% of all teen automobile crashes, the leading cause of death among teenagers.
- Alcohol use contributes to youth suicides, homicides and fatal injuries – the leading cause of death among youth after auto crashes.
- Alcohol abuse is linked to 66% of all sexual assaults and date rapes of teens and college students.
- Alcohol is a major factor in unprotected sex among youth, increasing their risk of contracting HIV or other transmitted diseases.
- Binge drinking at colleges and universities results in 1,400 student deaths per year.
Kids and Teens Online
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- Online worlds are the fastest growing part of the Web for kids. On many sites, kids need to spend money for subscriptions or toys, and they are often exposed to many commercial messages.
- The line between educational or informational content and advertising on the Internet is blurred. Marketers directly target children in order to create ever younger consumers. Youth, ages 5-18, spend over $1.3 billion per year online.
- 55% of teens have a social networking profile on a site like Facebook or MySpace.
- 64% of online teens say that most of them do things online that they would not want their parents to know about.
- Over 40% of preteens and teens surveyed said they have encountered nudity and pornography on the Internet.
- The majority of users of online pornography are 12-17 year old boys.
- MySpace, a site popular with tweens and teens, reported that it had identified and removed 29,000 convicted sex offenders caught using the site.
- One in five children will be approached by a sexual predator online.
- Middle school students who play video games during the week do worse in school.
Youth and Cyberbullying
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- 43% of 13-17 year olds have been a victim of cyberbullying.
- 53% of teens admit sending a hurtful message.
- Most victims know the person who is bullying them.
- Only 10% of cyberbullying victims tell their parents.
- Victims of cyberbullying often experience humiliation, anxiety, depression, and do not want to go to school.
- Cyberbullying results in emotional damage that can last a lifetime. Some kids have committed suicide.
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- Children who watch more than 3 hours of TV per day are 50% more likely to be obese than kids who watch fewer than 2 hours.
- A preschooler’s risk of obesity jumps 6% for every hour of TV watched per day. If the TV is in the bedroom, the odds of being overweight increased an added 31% for every hour watched.
- Children who use a lot of media have a lower activity level, which is linked to a higher rate of obesity.
- Commercials kids see are contributing to our nation’s childhood obesity epidemic.
- 83% of TV commercials aimed at kids are for junk food, fast food, candy, cereal, and toys.
- Approximately 30% of kids, ages 6-11, are overweight. Over 15% are obese.
- Approximately 33% of teens, ages 12-19, are overweight. Over 15% are obese.
- 60% of overweight children, ages 5-10, already have at least one risk factor for heart disease, including elevated blood cholesterol, blood pressure or increased insulin levels. These are factors that lead to hypertension, diabetes, and atherosclerosis.
- Due to obesity and inactivity, millions of kids, ages 12-19, have a pre-diabetic condition that puts them at risk for diabetes and cardiovascular problems.
American Academy of Pediatrics
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American Medical Association
American Psychological Association
National Institute on Media and the Family
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
Common Sense Media
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
“Reviving Ophelia” - Mary Pipher, Ph.D.
“Tough Guise” - Jackson Katz, ED.M.
“So Sexy So Soon” - Diane Levin, Ph.D. and Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D.