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The Influence of Media Violence on Children

were found to either prove that media violence has a negative effect on children or not. Numerous scholarly articles were acquired in this research because this topic has caused a lot of debate in the past as it concerns all ages from children to adults. For 50 years, researchers have explored the connection between media violence and real-life aggression in children and adolescents. More than 1,000 studies show a connection (Strasburger). Even though none of the results were consistent, but studies prove that children’s exposure to violence on the media has increased the likelihood of aggressive and violent behavior.

This paper attempts to review the current literature regarding the negative effect media violence has on children and teenagers. Because a lot of studies were conducted to resolve this issue, not all the results were consistent, and in some cases results showed that media violence was in fact good for children. Therefore, a comparison of who conducted these studies was essential to make a conclusion of which results should help in resolving this topic.

Only a few sources like the study conducted by Texas A&M International University that was published online in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, claim that the exposure to violent is not a strong predictor of aggression or violence among youth. But most of the other sources, I acquired throughout my research state that children and teenagers who are exposed to violent scenes on TV made them more aggressive and violent. Examples of these sources include, Kevin D Browne, and Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis’ “The influence of violent media on children and adolescents: a public-health approach,” and Ybarra, M., M. Diener West, D. Markow, P. Leaf, M. Hamburger, and P. Boxer’n n n n’s “Linkages Between Internet and Other Media Violence With Seriously Violent Behavior by Youth.”

One of the most important sources I used is a scholarly periodical, “The influence of violent media on children and adolescents: a public-health approach” it has more than 130 references and it states the authors’ affiliation to more than one institution, Centre for Forensic and Family Psychology, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, UK (Prof K D Browne PhD, C Hamilton-Giachritsis PhD). This review shows 5 different scientific studies. The first two studies involves children aging one to five years old, the third study focuses on children aging from six to eleven years old and the last two studies focuses on teenagers. All five studies included in this review conclude that that children who watch violent television shows become more angry than children who are not exposed to such violent media.Therefore this journal reached a final resolution “that violent imagery has short-term effects on arousal, thoughts, and emotions, increasing the likelihood of aggressive or fearful behaviour. However, the evidence is less consistent for older children and teenagers.” Long-term outcomes for children viewing media violence are more controversial, partly because of the methodological difficulties in linking behavior with past viewing (Browne, Hamilton-Giachritsis).

There is consistent evidence that violent imagery in television, film and video, and computer games has substantial short-term effects on arousal, thoughts, and emotions, increasing the likelihood of aggressive or fearful behaviour in younger children, especially in boys. (Browne, Hamilton-Giachritsis)

A lot of the research gathered were found to be biased, misleading and do not use proper sample sizes, which leads to false conclusions.

Freedman’s article “Research on the Effects of Media Violence” that was published on The Media Awarness Network, included ten different studies and experiments showing the influence media violence had on children.

One study Freedman mentioned in his article conducted by Professor Leonard Eron, University of Michigan, in 1960, studied about 850 third grade students who live in Columbia County, and found that the children who watched violent television at home behaved more aggressively in school. Eron wanted to track the effect of this exposure over the years, so he revisited Columbia County ten years later, when the children who participated in the 1960 study were 19 years old. He found that boys who watched violent TV when they were eight were more likely to get in trouble with the law as teenagers.

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When Eron returned to Columbia County ten years later, the subjects were 30 years old. They reported that those participants who had watched more violent TV as eight-year-olds were more likely, as adults, to be convicted of serious crimes, to use violence to discipline their children, and to treat their spouses aggressively.

To prove that some of these studies are misleading and biased, Richard Rhodes, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, issued a response towards Eron’s study. This response accused Eron’s research of being ‘ poorly conceived, scientifically inadequate, biased and sloppy if not actually fraudulent research.’ Rhodes claims that Eron had information about the amount of TV viewed in 1960 for only 3 of the 24 men who committed violent crimes as adults years later. Rhodes concludes that Eron’s work is ‘poorly conceived, scientifically inadequate, biased and sloppy if not actually fraudulent research.’

Another study mentioned by Freedman in his article was for Professor Monroe Lefkowitz, Lefkowitz published similar findings in 1971. He interviewed a group of eight-year-olds and found that the boys who watched more violent TV were more likely to act aggressively in the real world. When he interviewed the same boys again in the year 1981, he figured out that if a child watched violent television material at the age of eight, he is going to be a violent teenager when he is 18.

A major weakness that was present in all the sources that stated that media violence had a negative effect on children’s behavior was their failure to verify that the children’s violent acts were only caused by watching violent scenes on television. There is a possibility that these acts of violence were caused by another factor like problems at home or school. Therefore, this is the only advantage that sources that claim However, there is only weak evidence from correlation studies linking media violence directly to crime (Browne, Hamilton-Giachritsis).

Exposure to violent video games or television shows is not a strong predictor of aggression or violence among youth, says a new study from Texas A&M International University. Instead, it found that depression influences children and teens levels of aggression and violence. The study included 302 children, aged 10 to 14 years old, and they were observed for 12 months. The participants were questioned before and after the study. At the beginning of the study, 40% of the children watched violent material on TV or played violent video games within within the past month.

After the study was conducted, seven percent of the children that participated were involved in at least one criminally violent act during the previous 12 months. The criminal acts included bullying other children at school and getting involved in fights.

The study also found that 19% of the youth took part in at least one nonviolent crime, such as shoplifting, over the same period.

Another scholarly article I found was for Jeffrey M. McCall who “is a professor of communication at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., and author of”Viewer Discretion Advised: Taking Control of Mass Media Influences.”‘ In this article McCall approaches the isse of media violence an it’s effect on children in a different way. He stayed away from scientific studies and experiments and public surveys, but he focused this article on how “the state of California passed a law five years ago to penalize merchants who sold such video games to minors” (McCall). Courts have long affirmed the interest of states in protecting the well-being of children, at times relying on simple common sense to base a decision.

Linkages Between Internet and Other Media Violence With Seriously Violent Behavior by Youth The goal was to examine the association between violence in the media and the expression of seriously violent behavior among older children and teenagers in a national sample. The Growing up with Media survey was a national, online survey of 1588 youths that was conducted in August and September 2006. Participants were 10- to 15-year-old youths who had used the Internet at least once in the past 6 months. The main outcome measure was self-reported seriously violent behavior, including (1) shooting or stabbing someone, (2) aggravated assault, (3) robbery, and (4) sexual assault. Five percent of youths reported engaging in seriously violent behavior in the past 12 months. Thirty-eight percent reported exposure to violence online. Exposures to violence in the media, both online and off-line, were associated with significantly elevated odds for concurrently reporting seriously violent behavior. Compared with otherwise similar youths, those who indicated that many, most, or all of the Web sites they visited depicted real people engaged in violent behavior were significantly more likely to report seriously violent behavior. After adjustment for underlying differences in youth characteristics, respondents’ alcohol use, propensity to respond to stimuli with anger, delinquent peers, parental monitoring, and exposures to violence in the community also were associated with significantly increased odds of concurrently reporting seriously violent behavior. Exposure to violence in the media is associated with concurrent reports of seriously violent behavior across media (eg, games and music). Newer forms of violent media seem to be especially concerning.

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Kevin D Browne, and Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis. “The influence of violent media on children and adolescents: a public-health approach. ” The Lancet 365.9460 (2005): 702-710. Platinum Periodicals, ProQuest. Web. 3 Apr. 2011.

“Violent Video Games Don’t Predict Aggressive Behavior – US News and World Report.” Online Posting. Health News Articles – US News Health. 17 Dec. 2010. Web. Mar. 2011. .

Manfred Spitzer. “Influence of violent media on children and adolescents. ” The Lancet 365.9468 (2005): 1387-1388. Platinum Periodicals, ProQuest. Web. 30 March 2011.

Freedman, Jonathan L. “Research on the Effects of Media Violence.” Media Awareness Network | R’seau ‘ducation M’dias. Web. Feb.-Mar. 2011. .

Ybarra, M., M. Diener-West, D. Markow, P. Leaf, M. Hamburger, and P. Boxer. “Linkages Between Internet and Other



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