Schools Would Distribute Pamphlets To Help Parents Counter Pervasive Depictions Of Violence
TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Raymond Lesniak and Senator M. Teresa Ruiz to help parents limit their children’s exposure to violence in the media was approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on Thursday as part of the comprehensive gun safety plan. The proposal would have the Department of Education develop an informative pamphlet for schools to distribute to the parents of all their students.
“Multiple scientific studies have informed us that each child in America is exposed to an average of 200,000 acts of violence on TV alone before they reach the age of 18 and common sense tells us it isn’t good for them to be inundated with so much violence from so many sources,” said Senator Lesniak. “Of course, the proliferation of video games and other electronic devices has multiplied their exposure. This can desensitize young people to violence and have a negative impact on their mental and psychological development.”
According to the bill, the State Education Department would prepare an information guide that would help parents limit the exposure to and the influence of media violence for their children. The information would be posted on the department’s website and made available to every school district in the state at no cost. Each district would then be responsible for distributing it to parents.
“Anything we can do to better empower families with relevant information that helps parents and guardians we should do,” said Senator Ruiz, who chairs the Senate Education Committee. “This is a positive way of allowing them to partner with schools in working with children to deal with media violence. It is a small but important step to help counter the tide of violence that has claimed the lives of too many young people.”
Senator Lesniak and Senator Ruiz cited as examples some information guides developed by anti-violence organizations, including the American Psychological Association’s “Act Against Violence’ program: http://actagainstviolence.apa.org/materials/handouts/FamilyMV3.pdf http://actagainstviolence.apa.org/materials/handouts/FamilyMV4.pdf; and the Parents Television Council:
Approved with a unanimous vote, the bill now goes to the Senate