LESNIAK & RUIZ BILL TO LIMIT CHILDREN’S EXPOSURE TO MEDIA VIOLENCE CLEARS SENATE

Schools Would Distribute Pamphlets To Help Parents Counter Pervasive Depictions Of Violence

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Raymond Lesniak and Senator M. TeresaRuiz to help parents limit their children’s exposure to violence in the media was approved today by the full Senate as part of the Senate Democrats’ comprehensive gun safety plan. The proposal would require the Department of Education to develop an informative pamphlet for schools to distribute to the parents of all their students.

“Studies have shown that a child on average views hundreds of thousands of acts of violence on television alone before the age of 18. With the additional exposure to video games, social media and the Internet, children can be flooded with these images which can lead to their becoming desensitized to violence,” said Senator Lesniak. “In coordination with our schools, we can work to combat this problem by helping parents counter the pervasive depictions of violence in the media. This will better protect the psychological and emotional wellbeing of our children.”

According to the bill (S-2715) the State Education Department would prepare an information guide that would help parents limit the exposure to and the influence of media violence for their children. The information would be posted on the department’s website and made available to every school district in the state at no cost. Each district would then be responsible for distributing it to parents.

“Anything we can do to better empower families with relevant information that helps parents and guardians we should do,” said Senator Ruiz, who chairs the Senate Education Committee. “This is a positive way of allowing them to partner with schools in working with children to deal with media violence. It is a small but important step to help counter the tide of violence that has claimed the lives of too many young people.”

Senator Lesniak and Senator Ruiz cited as examples some information guides developed by anti-violence organizations, including the American Psychological Association’s “Act Against Violence’ program: http://actagainstviolence.apa.org/materials/handouts/FamilyMV3.pdf http://actagainstviolence.apa.org/materials/handouts/FamilyMV4.pdf; and the Parents Television Council: http://w2.parentstv.org/main/Research/Facts.aspx. The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 36-0. It now goes to the Assembly for consideration.

"He’s obviously working very, very hard at it. I mean he’s traveling all over the country as chairman of the [Republican Governors Association] and I think at this point he has as good a chance or better than anybody else. His name is household word all across the country, and I think he would make a great president."
—former U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton (R-3), on Gov. Chris Christie