Last week brought the tragic news of a school stabbing of two students in the hallway of an Abbotsford BC high school. A 13-year old was killed in the event.
What has compounded the horror of this event is a brief video taken by a fellow student that recorded the attack. The graphic and highly disturbing video was uploaded to social media and subsequently viewed many thousands of times.
News media, the school district, police and other organizations cautioned people about watching the video, warning that its content was highly disturbing, something that Choose News can confirm. Following the event, school and health authorities moved quickly to offer counseling services to students and staff to help them process this violent violation that they experienced in their school, and also arising from viewing the video - a few clicks away on a social media stream.
At this time, no instances are known of mainstream media newscasts actually replaying the stabbing video.
The video itself, while being shockingly horrific, is not so different than what mainstream news outlets broadcasts on TV and radio every day.
If this video is so shocking as to warrant stern warnings before viewing and come with offers of counseling to those who have viewed it, then how does this media event compare - psychologically - to any other graphically violent, and yet common, news broadcast?
Assuredly there are some differences that amplify the psychological impact of this all-too-real and video-captured event to school students and staff. Indeed, the consequences may linger long-term and even lifelong. But this event took place in a high school whose teen age students and adult staff have more cognitive wherewithal or developmental maturity to process this tragedy and heal over time.
However, a child under the age of 7 years, experiencing news of this event, or any other violent event via mainstream broadcast news doesn't have such wherewithal. Consequently, their still-forming psyches are at much higher risk of longer-term impact and harm.
It's time for our society to address this risk and move to reduce it. You can help by signing the Choose News petition to help reduce the violent content of TV and radio news.
(n.b. - Choose News has received an insipid response from the office of the Canadian Minister of Health, Honourable Jane Philpott. It was clear from Minister Philpott's response that she didn't take the time to read our letter of last May to her and the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Honourable Mélanie Jolie, urging them to recognize the negative health consequences posed by violent news broadcasts to Canadian children, and to act to address this issue. How disappointing. That said, no response has yet been received from the Minister Jolie. Doubly disappointing, and shameful).