Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Role of the Media in School Shootings in Finland

The latest school shootings in Finland repeat horrible events that have become all to common. Another disaffected teenage boy went on a violent rampage at his school, killing himself after murdering 7 students and the principal. What is new is that he apparently posted an anticipatory communication on You-tube and communicated with an American kid who had admitted to plotting a Columbine-type massacre at his school. Both youths are said to have been fans of the violent video game "Hitman." This raises so many issues regarding the role of the media in the lives of our youth, includingthe impact of media violence (both fantasy and real) on aggression; and the viral nature of some of these events that are communicated among teens around the world. Another major issue is the fear that such incidents evoke in children who suddenly are afraid in their own schools. I have posted a review of the effects of media violence on my website. I have also posted information on what types of images scare kids in these stories and advice on how to help children cope.

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