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Children are listening.
During the election, messages of hate, fear and intolerance were propagated across different media and into communities. And the messages continue. While parents view and listen to these ever-present messages, alongside them are their children, hearing these same messages through a lens ill-equipped to discern the implications of negative stereotypes and incorrect portrayals.
Election - Children - Things - Immigrants - Rapists
Throughout the election, children heard such things as Mexican immigrants are “rapists” and are “bringing drugs…bringing crime” and that African-Americans are “thugs” and “living in ****.”
These messages, no matter their voice, were designed and intended to target adults. As pediatricians, we’re now seeing, however, that children were listening and they are responding in ways we might not have anticipated.
Parents - Caretakers - Citizens - Power - Tide
As parents, caretakers and citizens, we have the power to turn this tide. And as we approach the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.‘s birthday, now is the time to explore ways to teach children to communicate with love and respect.
One response to the messages children hear is to incite more hate. In April 2016, a now well-cited survey of 2,000 teachers conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance Program found that more than half of respondents reported seeing an increase in uncivil discourse in their schools. This, along with other findings from the survey, was used to coin “The Trump Effect,” a term denoting the hateful acts performed by children and adults alike.
Rev - Dr - Martin - Luther - King
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Aug. 28, 1963.
The change we’ve seen in children’s behavior may be happening for the same reason they react to the violence they see in media. Prior research has shown that children exposed to media violence have higher levels of violent behaviors, hostility and that they are more desensitized to violence, including a lower likelihood of intervening in an ongoing fight and less sympathy for the victims...
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