Violent films making Indian teenagers aggressive: study

By Kavita Bajeli-Datt, IANS,

New Delhi : Violent action films are making Indian teenagers more aggressive and some are even keeping weapons to satisfy their urge or to show off, says a new study conducted in schools in Delhi and its neighbouring areas.

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The alarming finding comes from a survey by Delhi-based psychiatrist Samir Parikh among 1,000 students in private schools here and in the suburban towns of Gurgaon and Noida.

The survey says that as a large number of children in the 14-17 age group watch violent movies, they might be getting more aggressive.

“It is an attitudinal survey and not a behavioural survey. These children are young and vulnerable. After seeing such movies, they are inspired to copy them,” Parikh told IANS.

The study has found that an overwhelming majority of boys – 79 percent – enjoy watching violent movies, while 34 percent of girls also love seeing such action-oriented films.

“This indicates that a large population of students watch violent movies, which could result in their behaving in an aggressive manner. Movies do make an impression,” said Parikh.

Forty-four percent of boys said they have the urge to hit or harm someone, while the figure was 32 percent for girls.

Also, about 35 percent of boys feel that showing some force or bullying someone is important to make friends like them more. Around 24 percent of girls agree with this.

A worried Parikh said: “We need to understand teenagers. They have a certain mindset and are thus more vulnerable. They might not be harming anyone or bullying anyone now. But in the future, they might think it is ok to do so.”

The survey says feelings like physically harming someone score quite high among teenagers. “But it is not clear whether they actually act out their urge in harming someone.”

Many children said they are aware that their friends carry a weapon to school. The weapon can be anything that they feel will protect them.

Parikh said: “It comes as a shock to see that quite a few students are aware that defensive weapons are carried into school premises. These weapons could be anything.”

As many as 31 percent of boys said they know of someone being threatened or injured with a weapon in school while the figure is 22 percent for girls.

Another point the study highlights is that many children shared their feeling of not wanting to go to school as they feel unsafe. This could also be because of bullying by others or the fear that they could be harmed, said the psychiatrist.

As many as 53 percent of boys said they felt safer when they are with their own gang or group in school. This is true for girls too. About 45 percent of girls said they feel protected in school if they are part of a group.

Parikh said children with such thinking needed to be identified so that their pre-conceived mindsets could be corrected.

“Teachers and educationists need to work on understanding the adolescents. This is the time when they make up their mind. If they have to be shaped as better human beings, they have to be counselled now,” he added.

(Kavita Bajeli-Datt can be contacted at [email protected])