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Violence in Media and Toys

plus Role of Assessment - Positions Statements of Psychological Services

Position statements from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) are revised from time to time so I'll just direct you to these pages for more details about current positions. After each link, there is a direct quotation from the site.

The role of school psychologists in many schools is this: meet, test, score tests, write reports, meet. Other schools use psychological services to develop broader plans for prevention and intervention. I've worked in both kinds of systems.

Click on this link to see more details about the Position Statement on School Psychologists’ Involvement in the Role of Assessment. The National Association of School Psychologists promotes educational and mental health services for all children and youth. Assessment, linked to prevention and intervention, is an important part of ensuring that all children and youth receive needed services. School psychologists, through training, continuing professional development, research activities and experience, are experts in assessment. They can provide local education agencies, as well as state education agencies, with the knowledge, skills, and techniques needed to restructure schools in positive ways. Thus, NASP endorses assessment practices that are tailored to the needs of the individual student in the context of a comprehensive delivery system which facilitates educational progress for all children.

Sometimes people quote psychologists who lived in the late 1800's and early 1900's to support the idea that we should not be alarmed about the effects of violent movies, TV, etc. on children. That was a long time ago! In the last several decades, there has been much more research done about the effects of violent movies, etc.

Now NASP makes firm statements about the detrimental effects: Resolution on Children and Violence in Media and Toys. The Executive Board of the National Association of School Psychologists recognizes that children observe a large number of violent acts in television programming, videotapes, toys, electronic and video games, movies, and cartoons. Research supports that exposure to violence in media and toys can have a negative impact on children's learning and development and can lead to harmful consequences. Therefore, the executive Board of the National Association of School Psychologists resolves to:

  1. Inform public policy makers, leaders in media and toy industries, parents educators, school psychologists, and others of research on the potential negative consequences that violence in media and toys may have for children;
  2. Support public policies which effectively address children's exposure to violence in media and toys.
    Read more details.

Have you heard about these pop musician action figures? McFarlane Toys makes a little Alice Cooper figure with a guillotine, a severed head, and a basket to catch it. Art Asylum has a furious Eminem figure screaming and swinging a chainsaw. The next Eminem "toy" will have a dead woman in a car trunk memorializing the lyrics his first album. Where is NOW? What about concern for the self-concepts of girls and women?

The company's promotional literature has the slogan "Psycho Toyz for Crazy Kidz." Crazy indeed! People who object to this have just as much of a right to free speech as those who are making big bucks from driving our kids crazy. Why aren't these people aren't being sued for contributing to the delinquency of minors or something like that? This is less harmful to the individual and society than French fries?

School psychologists and many other responsible people are concerned about the mental health effects. Most people feel that the debate about the effects of heredity vs environment has long been resolved. Both are very important.

You might like to explore other topics on the NASP site. Learn about your own State Associations.

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