||Objective: To detail a media strategy enacted and developed by New York City and inner-city youth regarding strategies for avoiding violence.
Results: Authors suggest that television violence may result in children’s modeling of events and characters portrayed on television, and thus New York City’s peer education program, Youth Against Violence: Choose to De-Fuse utilized television as a medium for their antiviolence message. The city put together a group of urban youth ages 12-24 who were at risk by witnessing, having been a victim or a perpetrator of violence. Focus groups discussed their experiences and created three priorities: anger management and interpersonal communication, the need for positive peer messages, and utilizing television and popular culture as the communicative medium for positive messages. Groups created six 10-30 second long public service announcements for television broadcast, showing prosocial behavior in youth peer groups such as diffusing fights or walking away from potential conflict. Spots utilized attention-getting, accurate language that urban youth could identify with, engaging visual styles, and familiar scenarios to demonstrate prosocial values.
Conclusions: These television spots have since aired on cable stations including MTV and VH-1, as well as local networks. The PSA’s were awarded a National Emmy Finalist award, and were being translated into Spanish at the time of the article’s publication. Authors conclude that the media strategy described through the Youth Against Violence program was successful at forwarding prosocial behavior by engaging and including youth for consultation, subsequently resulting in maximum message effectiveness. Suggest that a national campaign is needed to help stop youth violence. © Center on Media and Child Health