Predictors of children's violent media use

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Shim, Mi-suk P.

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This study examined the predictors of children’s violent media use. Predictors of violent television viewing and violent game playing were studied for children ages 6 to 12 from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Child Development Supplement. This nationally representative dataset provides several measures of children’s ecological contexts from questionnaires and of their violent media use from time-diaries. Several levels of ecological contexts, including individual characteristics, family demographics, family dynamics, media parenting, peer and school factors, and community, were considered all together in comprehensive analyses. The results show that the factors predicted violent television viewing differ from the ones predicted violent game playing. Children’s violent television viewing was predicted viii

by parental education and number of peers they have, while their violent game playing was predicted by parenting practices, including harsh discipline and media parenting. It cannot be assumed that what predicts children’s violent media use is the same across medium. In addition, different predictors of violent media use were found for different subgroups, such as boys and girls, younger and older children, and minorities and nonminorities. These differences highlight the need to examine violent media use and its predictors for each of these subgroups. Although this study examined the predictors of children’s violent media use, it is necessary to incorporate what is found here with the existing knowledge base of the effects of children’s violent media use. Examining the predictors and the effects together will provide a more comprehensive picture of what attracts children to violent media and the consequences of their use.