Violence is everywhere in media, and our children are constantly exposed to violent acts on television in cartoons, news, and even family shows. Does this violence influence our children to be violent than if they had not ever been exposed to media violence? This article will explore both sides of this issue.
One side of this issue is that there is no clear evidence to support that media violence influences or increases violence among children. People in this camp will point to psychological studies on the matter. Not all of these studies show a direct relationship between media violence and increased levels of aggression. The studies that do show a correlation only demonstrate a small percentage of a relationship between media violence and increased aggression with the range being from %1 to %9. An argument is also put forward that the participants in these studies may have been influenced to behave aggressively because of the experimenters were seeking, almost approving aggressive behavior. The overall point to this argument is that psychological studies have had mixed results, which means it is not exactly clear that exposure to media violence alone influences aggressive behavior.
The yes side of this argument focuses on studies that do show a relationship between media violence and increased aggression. The argument here is that watching a steady diet of media violence cultivates increased aggression especially if this violence is watched early in life. When addressing the inconsistent results from studies about media violence and increased aggression the argument is that people are affected differently. In other words, people should worry about the people who are influenced by media violence. This reasoning is that people who are susceptible to media violence, become desensitized to aggression and violence, and are thus more likely to engage in aggression and violence without emotional attachment to the behaviors.
This writer accepts the view that continuous exposure to violence on television does cultivate a sense of violence as an acceptable method to solve problems. Although, people have always been violent, it does not seem to be a good idea to expound and build on these natural tendencies by exposing our children to constant media violence.
Nier, J. A. (2009). Taking sides: Clashing views in social psychology (3rd Ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.