Points to Danger
of Kids Imitating TV
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A case report of a 5-year-old child
who severely injured his 22-month-old cousin while imitating a
violent wrestling move suggests that children may indeed be affected
by the violence they see on television.
"This is one of the only cases reported in the medical literature
showing a direct effect of television violence on children," study
author Dr. Norman A. Silver of the Children's Hospital of Winnipeg
in Canada told Reuters Health. "The case study does show that imitation
of television causing severe injury can and does occur."
In fact, Silver believes that the "case report presented does
point to a much larger issue of kids imitating violence." Yet,
because there is little research in this area, he said, "we can
only speculate on the magnitude of the problem."
In the present case, the 5-year-old child performed a "pile
driver" move in which he placed his cousin's head between both
of his knees, lifted the infant's body and dropped to the ground.
After the baby's head hit the floor, the caretaker, who was in
a different room when the incident occurred, heard the baby crying
and later saw that he did not seem to be able to move.
The infant was taken to a local nursing station the following
day where he was found to have a 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees
Fahrenheit) fever and was unable to move his arms and legs. He
was first treated with antibiotics, as the healthcare providers
were unaware of the "pile driver" move and suspected him to be
suffering from septic shock, and was later transferred to a local
hospital where he was diagnosed with a spinal cord injury. A magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) scan later revealed swelling in his cervical
and thoracic spinal cord areas--around his neck and back.
The infant gradually improved and was later discharged more
than 5 weeks after his hospital admission.
"My recommendation to parents is to be aware of what their children
are watching, and children should not view violent television
at least until they can understand the difference between fiction
and reality," Silver said. "It is also important for parents to
watch television with their children in order to help their children
understand the meaning and reality of what they're watching."
The case was presented recently in Toronto during the Canadian
Pediatric Society's annual meeting.
Reference Source 89