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"Leaders are indispensable, but to produce a major social change many ordinary people must also be involved." —Anne Firor Scott


Adolescents who watch more than one hour of television a day are more likely to commit aggressive, violent acts as adults, according to a 17-year study reported in the journal Science (March, 2002). The study found that young people watching one to three hours of television daily were almost four times more likely to commit violent and aggressive acts later in life than those who watched TV less than an hour a day. Girls as well as boys exhibited increasing aggression.

The study's researchers, from Columbia University and Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, used data from a wider-ranging study of the behavior of children in 707 New York state families. The families had been selected randomly, not because their children had behavior problems. Over 17 years, the children and their parents were interviewed periodically about TV habits, violence and aggression. Scientists also examined state and FBI records to find those in the study had been arrested or charged with a crime.

The researchers found that 5.7 percent of those who reported watching less than one hour of TV a day as teens committed aggressive acts against others in later years. Those acts included threats, assaults, fights, robbery and using a weapon to commit a crime. That figure increased to 22.5 percent of those who watched TV for one to three hours a day, and to 28.8 percent of those who watched more than three hours a day.

For a plethora of ideas on helping raise non-violent children, check out Hearing Everyone's Voice: Educating Young Children for Peace and Democratic Community, at

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