Panel members told the audience that experts estimate 10-20% of young people (10 - 30 years?) experience anxiety-related issues that require medical care, and sometimes the issues cause young people to leave school, quit jobs and career paths, and seek hospitalization. Anxiety can dog people for many years and its onset can be hastened by different kinds of 'triggers'. Clearly, anxiety causes deep anguish and packs a significant wallop to families and our society, including a financial burden.
Overall the panel was insightful and valuable, and not without a significant irony: the CBC - our public broadcaster and sponsor of this event - is also a contributor to anxiety, the issue of focus, through its own sensationalization of violence on its TV and radio newscasts.
This was brought home when one of the panelists, Heinrich Schoeman, brought up the issue of violent newscasts and how they instantly trigger his anxiety. The next person to speak was a young audience member who said she responds the same way to newscasts.
There you have it. Some simple testimonies showing how violent newscasts trigger anxiety in young people. And if it's true for youth then it's a near-certainty it's also true for children and toddlers who are inadvertently exposed to violent TV and radio news. This situation begs an appeal to the CBC, and news anchor Gloria Macarenko for obvious reasons:
'Dear CBC and Ms Macarenko, As our national, public broadcaster, you provide Canadians with programming and news, and in so many ways you contribute to strengthening the fabric and imagination of our diverse society.
However, the CBC also contributes in a significant way to a negative health issue arising for young Canadians, including young children, through your violent sensationalization of TV and radio news.
This is clearly a business model you have adopted that dwells on and magnifies violent events in the hopes of securing greater advertising revenue.
But there is a serious downside to this business model, as is apparent in new scientific literature on pediatric stress and anxiety, and was likewise described as an anxiety 'trigger' in the recent public, panel discussion, 'Age of Anxiety' that you hosted and broadcast in Vancouver on October 3rd.
The anxiety and neurological stress arising in a young child inadvertently exposed to one or more violent newscasts may cause immediate anxiety or it may trigger anxiety for years or, worse, lifelong.
Choose News urges you to take a leadership role in adhering to the Canadian broadcasters 'Violence Code' (1993) that states explicitly, "young children not be exposed to programming which is unsuitable for them," and for helping to update this code.
Thank you kindly for your attention to this matter,
Choose News Advocacy Project