Want to help stop violence? Don't 'like' it online


July 8, 2015

It’s common for parents to wonder whether regular exposure to violent acts in the news can influence their children.

That concern is why some parents shield their kids from continuous coverage of school shootings, and why advocacy groups issue regular reports about the damaging qualities of violence in the media. Keyboard photo Tom Dishion, a professor in ASU’s Psychology department, said that although the cultural discussion sometimes frames news reports of violence as a social “contagion,” a more penetrating effect comes from receiving peer approval for sharing negative or violent material. Photo by: IWD/Freeimages.com Download Full Image

But research suggests parents should be less worried about what children are watching and more concerned with what they’re posting on social media – and who’s “liking” it.

Tom Dishion, a professor in Arizona State University’s psychology department, said that although the cultural discussion sometimes frames news reports of violence as a social “contagion,” a more penetrating effect comes from receiving peer approval for sharing negative or violent material.

His example is simple: A person who is praised for posting a racist joke on social media is more likely to use racist language in everyday life. The same holds true with sharing scenes of violence.

“So when young kids (post online) and get likes, the way they bring attention to themselves through violent things is highly reinforcing,” Dishion says. “There’s pretty good research that … they’ll do more of it in the future.”

Or, perhaps, even incorporate violence into “real life.”

Various news reports have detailed how Dylan Roof escalated from posting his racist remarks online to murdering nine African-American parishioners in a Charleston, South Carolina, church last month. Dishion said it’s easy to prevent this worst-case-scenario situation: Just talk to your kids.

“In general, the more you’re engaged with young people the less likely it is they will go down that road, extremely,” Dishion said. “It’s preventative. That’s the key message. Words have power.”

And, apparently, so do "likes." Which means another way to combat the spread of violence is to not "like" violent or negative social-media posts.

ASU to offer language, speech programs for preschool children


July 8, 2015

Arizona State University's Department of Speech and Hearing Science, within the College of Health Solutions, is offering a language-based program for toddlers, ages 2-3, and individual speech therapy for 2- to 5-year-olds this fall. 

The programs will run from Aug. 24 through Dec. 3 and are located at the ASU Community Services Center on 200 E. Curry Rd., Suite 146, Tempe.  Download Full Image

For more information about the programs, registration forms and rates, call Kathie Smith at 480-727-4011 or email kathiesm@asu.edu.
 

Lisa Robbins

editor/publisher, Media Relations and Strategic Communications

480-965-9370