Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic Media

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Abstract
Since the early 1960s research evidence has been accumulating that suggests that exposure to violence in television, movies, video games, cell phones, and on the internet increases the risk of violent behavior on the viewer’s part just as growing up in an environment filled with real violence increases the risk of them behaving violently. In the current review this research evidence is critically assessed, and the psychological theory that explains why exposure to violence has detrimental effects for both the short run and long run is elaborated. Finally, the size of the “media violence effect” is compared with some other well known threats to society to estimate how important a threat it should be considered. *  Other Sections▼

* Abstract
* Background for the Review
* Theoretical Explanations for Media Violence Effects
* The Key Empirical Studies
* Moderators of Media Violence Effects
* Mediators of Media Violence Effects
* Summary
* References
 
One of the notable changes in our social environment in the 20th and 21st centuries has been the saturation of our culture and daily lives by the mass media. In this new environment radio, television, movies, videos, video games, cell phones, and computer networks have assumed central roles in our children’s daily lives. For better or worse the mass media are having an enormous impact on our children’s values, beliefs, and behaviors. Unfortunately, the consequences of one particular common element of the electronic mass media has a particularly detrimental effect on children’s well being. Research evidence has accumulated over the past half-century that exposure to violence on television, movies, and most recently in video games increases the risk of violent behavior on the viewer’s part just as growing up in an environment filled with real violence increases the risk of violent behavior. Correspondingly, the recent increase in the use of mobile phones, text messaging, e-mail, and chat rooms by our youth have opened new venues for social interaction in which aggression can occur and youth can be victimized – new venues that break the old boundaries of family, neighborhood, and community that might have protected our youth to some extent in the past. These globe spanning electronic communication media have not really introduced new psychological threats to our children, but they have made it much harder to protect youth from the threats and have exposed many more of them to threats that only a few might have experienced before. It is now not just kids in bad neighborhoods or with bad friends who are likely to be exposed to bad things when they go out on the street. A ‘virtual’ bad street is easily available to most youth now. However, our response should not be to panic and keep our children “indoors” because the “streets” out there are dangerous. The streets also provide wonderful experiences and help youth become the kinds of adults we desire. Rather our response should be to understand the dangers on the streets, to help our children understand and avoid the dangers, to avoid exaggerating the dangers which will destroy our credibility, and also to try to control exposure to the extent we can. *  Other Sections▼

* Abstract
* Background for the Review
* Theoretical Explanations for Media Violence Effects
* The Key Empirical Studies
* Moderators of Media Violence Effects
* Mediators of Media Violence Effects
* Summary
* References
Background for the Review
Different people may have quite different things in mind when they think of media violence. Similarly, among the public there may be little consensus on what constitutes aggressive and violent behavior. Most researchers, however, have clear conceptions of what they mean by media violence and aggressive behavior. Most researchers define media violence as visual portrayals of acts of physical...
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