Does Media Influence Social Behavior

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This has been a hot topic for a while, Does Media Influence our behavior? I would say of course. Time and time again it has been proven by researchers that what we hear, watch, and play influences how we behave.

Just last month I watched a documentary about Gang members and violence, who did many of the young men say influenced them, Al Capone, from Scarface. The movie was loosely based on Al Capone and his life. We all know that this story does not end well. However many young men idolize him and this movie. There was no need to do a scientific study here, they all admitted that they had learned behavior from the movie. I know that many factors we at play here, it was just so mind boggling to think that a movie could have such influence over young people. My own husband loves Mafia movies, Scarface included. Is he violent? Not at all. So why is it that some people are so influenced by movies, music, and games and others are not?

I think that a combination of factors must be in play. Of course Violence in media is one of those. Also though we must consider personality, home life as a child, education, personal values, and where we live in to the bigger picture. In my work with low income families I often see these things working together. Children who act out aggressively more often than not come from homes where they see and hear violence on TV, in the home, in video games and in music. Their lives are usually chaotic. People coming and going, no real routines or consistency. They often witness verbal and physical violence in their own homes. I would say 80% of the time one or both parents did not finish high school. Many times mental illness is present in either the child or their caregiver. So while I believe Media has influence on these children and their behavior, so many other factors are also at play. I cannot say that if we simply remove violence in media from the equation that their behaviors would change.

Based on what I have...
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