Media Violence: the Effect on Children

MEDIA VIOLENCE: LEADING CAUSE OF VIOLENT AND AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR IN YOUNG CHILDREN Introduction For many years, media violence has been a popular topic in terms of its influence over children. Exposure to violence can have significant effects on children during their development and as they form their own intimate relationships in childhood and adulthood.
Researchers have that found nonaggressive children who had been exposed to high levels of media violence had similar patterns of activity in an area of the brain linked to self-control and attention as aggressive children who had been diagnosed with disruptive behavior disorder. Knowing the extent of the negative effect media has will help guide me in working with children. Does violent media cause psychological effects on children? Current research agrees that violent media is associated with aggressive behavior.
Precarious behavior by children can include violence against others and lack of remorse for consequences. The Academy of Pediatrics (1999) says “More than one thousand scientific studies and reviews conclude that significant exposure to media violence increases the risk of aggressive behavior in certain children, desensitizes them to violence and makes them believe that the world is a ‘meaner and scarier’ place than it is. ” This type of flawed thinking creates stressors in children that can lead to the onset of many different symptoms.

Children who view media violence are more likely to have increased feelings of hostility, decreased emotional response to the portrayal of violence and injury that lead to violent behavior through imitation. If children begin to think that this type of violence is normal behavior, these thoughts are difficult to change later on in life. As written on Wikipedia (2012), one psychologist named Albert Bantura, tested his theory of the media’s extreme influence in 1963.
The experiment, known as the “Bobo doll experiment”, tested differences in children’s behavior and actions after seeing a model being rewarded, punished or experiencing no consequences for aggressive behavior towards a Bobo doll. The results of this experiment shed light on how influential media can be on children and their behavior; children who had been exposed to the aggressive behavior exhibited nearly twice as much aggressive behavior than the control group. The findings of this experiment support Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, a behaviorist theory.
That is, children learn social behavior such as aggression through the process of observation learning – through watching the behavior of another person. Another view from researchers suggests that performing violent acts in video games may be more contributing to children’s aggression than passively watching violent acts on television. According to this view, the more children practice violent acts, the more likely they are to perform violent acts (Cesarone, 1994). One example is the case of Michael Carneal. He was said to have been a video game fanatic, and in 1997, he shot and killed three of his classmates.
Michael Breen, an attorney in the case against Michael Carneal stated in court, “Michael Carneal clipped off nine shots in a 10-second period. Eight of those shots were hits. Three were head and neck shots and were kills. That is way beyond the military standard for expert marksmanship. This was a kid who had never fired a pistol in his life, but because of his obsession with computer games he had turned himself into an expert marksman” (Ivory, 2003), (Hanson, 1999, p. 15). This is not the only case of adolescents performing violent acts.
On the other hand, the makers of these violent types of argue that it is violent children who are drawn towards these types of entertainment. They believe that a child must have been exposed to more than just media in order to exhibit behaviors that they may have seen. One hypothesis suggests that exposure to violent media can actually provide a healthy release for the frightening emotions of children and young adults. Conclusion Media is a powerful tool that can alter a child’s ideas about the world. Everything that children see or hear in the media early on in their lives affects them in some way.
Research shows that fictional television and film violence contribute to both a short-term and a long-term increase in aggression and violence in young viewers. Unfortunately, violence is one of the most popular forms of entertainment. The “Bobo Doll Experiment” performed in 1961 by Albert Bandura, demonstrated the human behavior is learned through social imitation and copying, rather than being inherited through genetic factors. As positive role models, we should keep the best interest of our children and limit their exposure to violent media. Works Cited Cesarone, Bernard, 1994, Video Games and Children ERIC Digest. ttp://www. kidsource. com/kidsource/content2/video. games. html Ivory, James D. , 2001, Video Games and the Elusive Search for their Effects on Children: An assessment of Twenty Years of Research. http://www. unc. edu/~jivory/video. html “Media Education. ” Internet. http://pediatrics. aappublications. org/content/104/2/341. full. 1999 “Media Violence Research”. Internet. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Media_violence. 2012 Villani, Susan, 2003, Media Violence: More than Just Child’s Play? Facts of Life: Issue Briefings for Health Reporters vol. 8, no. 10. http://www. cfah. org/factsoflife/vol8no10. cfm.

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