Original Research

Early childhood exposure to media violence: What parents and policymakers ought to know

Caroline Fitzpatrick, Michael J Oghia, Jad Melki, Linda S Pagani
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 6, No 1 | a431 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v6i1.431 | © 2016 Caroline Fitzpatrick, Michael J Oghia, Jad Melki, Linda S Pagani | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 April 2016 | Published: 23 November 2016

About the author(s)

Caroline Fitzpatrick, Department of Social Sciences, Université Sainte-Anne, Canada; Centre for Education Practice Research (CEPR), University of Johannesburg, South Africa and Perform Centre, Concordia University, Canada
Michael J Oghia, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Media Studies, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
Jad Melki, Department of Communication Arts, Lebanese American University, Lebanon
Linda S Pagani, School of Psychoeducation, Université de Montréal, Canada

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We review the state of evidence supporting a link between violent media exposure in preschool- aged children and subsequent well-being outcomes. We searched through four decades (1971–2011) of literature for enlightening details on the relationship between early exposure to media violence and health outcomes in later childhood and adolescence. Evidence suggests that preschool exposure may be linked to increased aggression and self-regulation problems. Results are discussed in the context of displacement, social cognitive and overstimulation theories. We recommend increasing efforts towards developing guidelines for families and professionals concerned with the well-being of children.


Media violence; Screen Violence; Television; Aggression; Psychosocial Adjustment; Socio-emotional Adjustment


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