In general, I've never big a big fan of blaming violent movies, TV, or video games, for the acts committed by people who view them regularly. However, if you have a kid with autism, you might consider taking a look at what exactly your child is watching. While this is a great idea for all parents, sometimes autism parents might assume that a certain show is OK or think your child is not paying attention to what YOU are watching.
In our case, our daughter is super perceptive even when we think she is focused on something else entirely. She also seems to tune in to our moods, which can also be a factor considering what you are watching. You often hear people say that kids with autism do not imitate others. This is not the case for lots of kids with autism. Our daughter does lots of imitating of people in real life and stuff from movies. Kids with autism are often very visual thinkers.
Video Modeling is even a therapy used to teach social behaviors to children on the Autism spectrum. In our case, what might appear to be just general bad behavior could have roots in a movie she saw last night, last week, or last year. Even movies that are NOT VIOLENT and perfectly fine with neuro-typical kids, can result in unwanted behaviors. One prime example of a movie banned from ever seeing the light of day in our house is the 1999 Walt Disney movie TARZAN. For one thing, Tarzan swing from everything under the sun. There are also lots of OVER ACTIVE MONKEYS being monkeys. None of these are things you want imitated. Acting like a monkey in Walmart could perhaps result in some parenting stress even for the best of us. Yes, that can be a pain, but some acts in what you might consider safe media, could result in serious injury or even death if imitated by your child.
One thing that I assumed was fine was Looney Tunes. Our daughter loves Bugs Bunny. She likes to take her Bugs Bunny doll with her lots of times. He is her most beloved doll. So much so, that she threw Buggs off of a moving train while we were going over a bridge in a heavily wooded area at the Six Flags amusement park right before we were about to enter BUGGS BUNNY NATIONAL PARK! Buggs was rescued by a brave Six Flags employee. Why would she do such a thing? At first thought, it doesn't make much logical sense to my brain. However, have you ever seen all of the things that Looney Tunes characters endure? Being thrown off of a moving train is actually pretty tame compared to a lot of the things the Buggs Bunny cartoon character gets himself into on screen. I watched Looney Tunes as a kid and my memory of them really didn't match up to reality. We are guilty of popping in a movie in the car DVD player, giving her the headphone and letting her watch a movie while we listen to something else. When I watched some of these classic cartoons with her, I was a tad shocked at some of the subject matter. The first episode that I watched had a prostitute, a homicide, and a suicide! The next involved about a dozen ways that the Road Runner tortured Wile E. Coyote. This was followed by Buggs apparently committing suicide while playing a friendly game of russian roulette with Yosemite Sam. I'm not going to go into the full laundry list of Looney Tunes debauchery here, but will give you a couple of examples that would not be wise to imitate. Below is Buggs Bunny after he was HANGED by another character. The second picture shows a character who was just submerged in boiling water because another character thought he resembled a lobster. The only consequence of these acts in the cartoon world was some mocking by the other characters. Real world imitations Bugs Bunny Hangingof either of these could result in a lot bad things.
Movies, TV, video games, and the Internet can be great tools for your visual learner if you provide the right input. So, watch what you are introducing to your ASD child's mind. The problem behaviors that you are enjoying may be the direct result of some simple cartoon that you assumed was fine.