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Did you notice that the number of crimes committed by child criminals is on the rise every year.

Nowadays, the number of crime news caused by children has been increasing every year. Violence, whether it is physical or mental, is the behavior that should not occur to anyone. Since online media plays a significant role in our society, the number of children accessing violent content also increases. So, the increase in the statistics of children’s access to violent media causes more violent behavior because children are the age of learning from their environment. I have been thinking about social media existing and the number of children access to violence that also increase. Therefore, social media may be one of the significant factors that can lead to violent behavior.

What are the reasons you think accessing violence through social media affects in children more than adults?

As we know that imitating is the basic way humans use to learn even though they are unintentionally. Therefore, the violence in media is affected not only in children but also adults too.  Along with the reason that most online platforms do not have a limited-age policy that will filter accession of children to the violent contents because childhood is not the age that they can analyze good or bad things without any advice. When children watch and listen to violent behavior more and more, they will normalize those actions and be negligent that it is an ordinary behavior though the action that they have seen was just a drama or advertisement. For instance, there are many news were reported about the high school boys bring a group to hit with each other for a little reasons such as they like the same girl which we have seen many times in a movies plot such as hormones which were published in 2013.

This is an example of one scene in Thai drama. It is a scene where Charlet, who is a kids actress, uses aggressive and rude body language, facial expression, and speech to retaliate aunt in the market that is teasing her. This scene went viral in Tiktok the previous years and many users made content about how we can reply to Karen when they try to suppress the younger one which I think is not appropriate because children in Tiktok who cannot separate between acting and  imitating that behavior in their real life.

Whydoes the existence of online media affect the statistics of children who access violent content more than traditional media?

The number of children’s access to violent media has increased since online media, such as video games, images, and novels has become one part of the society and everyone including children can approach it 24/7 from a variety of devices just having an internet. Unlike the era of traditional media, such as television or radio, that children have a limit time to consume the media, family time which family members usually spend the evening time together to watching TV.In addition, there are several reasons to explain why children can reach violent media via online platforms more than in the traditional media will be mentioned in the following paragraph.

Increased in availability: Every social media platform was created to make it easier for the users to access and share any content just in a few clicks. This means they can access violent content at any time, even when their parents are not present to monitor their online activities.

Lack of parental oversight : It is hard for parents to keep an eye on their children’s social media use. Particularly, if the children are using their own devices to access social media. As opposed to the traditional media era, children usually have only family time to watch media with their parents so their parents can give advice to their children.

Peer influence : if the children saw their online friends watch and share violence, they will be more likely to do so. Because social media is also a  platform where the users will compete with each other whether to follow the trend or for other reasons.

Algorithmics suggestion : as we know that social media have algorithms that will recommend the content based on the user’s viewing history to keep them engaged on the platform. So, if the children have open just some violent content, the cycle of increasingly violent content will be formed.

Have you ever heard about Albert Bandura’s Social Learning theory? Let me explain what it is and how we can apply this theory to illustrate why the increasing of children’s access to violence causes increasing their violent behavior too.

Albert Bandura is a theorist who doesn’t believe that learning is a result of reinforcement or punishment as other theorists, but he believes that behavior is learned through observation, imitation, and modeling which is the concept of his Social Learning theory, and is influenced by other factors such as attention, motivation, attitudes, and emotion. The experiment which he used to study  involved the doll named Bobo. In this experiment, he let the children watch an adult acting violently to Bobo. Then, let the children meet Bobo. In consequence, the children began to imitate aggressive action they had previously watched. Also, Bandura’s experiment said that observational learning has 4 processes as the following.

  •  Attention is the significant factor for observational learning because a behavior must grab our attention before it can be imitated. If the model or the situation are the same as the children’s story, they are more likely to pay attention and effectively observe those actions.
  • Retention is the process that the observer remembers the behavior after they have learned. Because social learning takes time, the behavior will not be performed unless a memory is formed.
  • Reproduction is the ability to perform the behavior that we’ve observed. It influences our decision whether to try performing or not because we will not always follow the model’s behavior for many reasons such as physical condition or lack of certain skills.
  • Motivation is a stimulator to make the children decide to imitate the actions such as reinforcement and punishment. Seeing others receiving reinforcement or punishment is just as powerful a motivator as experiencing these yourself. For instance, if the children saw the child actor cry and scream when their parents do not buy the doll for her that she wants and then their parents solved the problem by giving their child a doll, the children will think that if she imitates that child actor’s behavior they will get what they want.

What are the ways that you think it can solve this problem?

As this problem is one of significant problems because it is relevant with the children. And using violence by children causes a various negative effects. Therefore, to solve this problem requires a multifaceted strategy that includes policymakers, educators, and parents.

  • Parents involvement : In order to limit their children’s access to violent online content, parents should keep an eye on their kids’ online activity, set limits on screen time, and have a conversation with their children about the potential risk and negative effects of violent content.
  • Media literacy : Literacy skills should be teached to the children by the educators and parents,such as how to recognize and assess violent content and how to tell the difference between actual and imagined violence. Children will get a deeper knowledge of media messages as a result, and they may choose their entertainment more wisely.
  • Regulation and enforcement  : Policymakers  can work to control and enforce rules and guidelines related to children’s internet safety, such as cyberbullying, violent behavior and speech. As a result, there will be less violent stuff available online, and kids will be safer from bad conduct.
  • Mental health support : children who display violent behavior via online media may be struggling with underlying mental health issues and stressors. So, there should be mental health support such as counseling or therapy. These support would help and reduce the risk of violent behavior.
  • Positive reinforcement : Promoting gentle and compassionate actions online can help relieve the negative impacts of violent content. Parents and teachers may encourage children to behave positive behavior by modeling it for them and giving them the opportunity to engage in positive internet activities.

Overall, though, the existence of online media in our society causes an increase in the number of children’s access to violence via social media and the risk of children who use violent behavior also increase. Also, they have an impact on various involved people such as children, their parents, friends, teachers, etc. We as the citizens in the society should be aware of this problem and find a way to solve the problem and drive our society together because our world is changing every day, and technology that becomes one part of our society, comes up with many advantages and convenience. So, we should find some solutions to reduce the produce and try to live with them peacefully.