School Safety and Guns
Kids can play an on-line video game entitled “The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary School,” where you start by killing the mother at home and then go to the school, just as the real life shooter did.
“Sustained violent video game play was significantly related to steeper increases in adolescents’ trajectory of aggressive behavior over time”. Our findings, and the fact that many adolescents play video games for several hours every day, underscore the need for a greater understanding of the long-term relation between violent video games and aggression, as well as the specific game characteristics” (Willoughby, Adachi, & Good, 2012).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), less than 1% of all homicides among school age children happen on school grounds or on the way to or from school. Majority of students will never experience violence at school, but many will experience gun violence. Nationally, guns still kill twice as many children and young people than cancer, five times as many than heart disease, and fifteen times more than infection, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) estimates that firearms are one of the top three causes of death among children” (Palfrey & Palfrey, 2013).
According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, injuries from firearms send an estimated 7,000 kids to the Emergency Room every year and an additional 3,000 children die from gunshot wounds before they can get to a hospital. Doctors are pointing to the new data as further evidence of the serious public health toll that gun violence takes on America’s youth (Leventhal, Gaither, & Sege, 2014).
For children from 5 to 14 years of age, firearm suicide rates were eight times higher and death rates from unintentional firearm injuries were ten times higher in the United States than any other high-income countries (Beaman, Annest, Mercy, Kresnow, & Pollock, 2000).
Should video games like “The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary School” be banned from being sold? Does a game like this promote similar violence in teens?
What measures have been taken to make schools safer? Statistically, has school safety improved in the last ten years?
Where do most unintentional shooting deaths occur? Who is most likely the shooter?
What factors contribute to the high rates of firearm suicides and injuries in children aged 5 to 14 years?
Should parents be held accountable for teaching a child gun safety, if the parents own a firearm? What penalties are there for letting a child have access to a firearm?
When considering the subject of children and gun violence, should 17- or 18-year-old gang members be included in the data? Does doing so alter the conclusions we might draw from studying the problems associated with children and guns?
Explain your reasoning in your answers to all the questions.
Beaman, V., Annest, J. L., Mercy, J. A., Kresnow, M., & Pollock, D. A. (2000).
Lethality of firearm-related injuries in the United States population.
Annals of Emergency Medicine, 35(3), 258-266. doi:10.1016/
Leventhal, J. M., Gaither, J. R., & Sege, R. (2014). Hospitalizations due to firearm
injuries in children and adolescents. Pediatrics, 133(2), 219-225.
Palfrey, J. S., & Palfrey, S. (2013). Preventing gun deaths in children. The New
England Journal of Medicine, 368(5), 401-403.
Willoughby, T., Adachi, P. J. C., & Good, M. (2012). A longitudinal study of the
association between violent video game play and aggression among
adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 48(4), 1044-1057. doi:http://