The Association of Teachers and Lecturers is kicking off in Manchester this week and is set to address the problem of increasing violence in the playground.
One speaker, teacher Alison Sherratt from Bradford, said: “I watched my class out on the playground throwing themselves out of the window of the play car in slow motion and acting out blood spurting from their bodies.”
Ms Sherratt decided to confront the children about the nature of their play during circle time. She discovered that out of the 27 four and five year-olds, most of them had TVs or laptops in their bedrooms and most of them personally owned or had easy access to games consoles such as Nintendos, Xboxes, Playstations and Wiis.
Of course, play-violence among children is nothing new – even before the advent of video games, children played games like ‘cowboys and Indians’ and ‘cops and robbers’, where they shot at each other with imaginary arrows and guns and pretended to die.
However, Ms Sherratt claims to have noticed a significant increase in the level of violence explored in both the playground and the classroom, and says that children are increasingly thumping and hitting each other for ‘no particular reason.’
Video games differ from television programmes and films because they allow the players to become involved in the drama, and even to instigate the violence themselves. Children are no longer innocent bystanders, they are participants. Video games allow children to pull the trigger and become the killer. Experts find this concerning because young children are often less able to distinguish between fantasy worlds and reality, making them more likely to carry this violence into the real world.
Although a certain degree of rough and tumble is expected in schools, the levels of violence witnessed by many teachers today is becoming an increasingly troubling issue.
Not only are children becoming more aggressive, they are also turning up to class exhausted from staying up too late watching television or playing on the computer. Modern technology is thought to have contributed to the rise in childhood obesity, a fall in physical fitness and a decline in cognitive ability and mental health.
Some counsellors specialise in treating children with behavioural problems. If you would like to find out more, please visit our pages on Anger Management, Child Related Issues and Personality Disorders. If you cannot find what you are looking for in these pages, please browse through Types of Distress for a wide range of issues.
View and comment on the original BBC News article.