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▼
* Background for the Review
* Theoretical Explanations for Media Violence Effects
* The Key Empirical Studies
* Moderators of Media Violence Effects
* Mediators of Media Violence Effects
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... [continues]
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