13, December 2010
The Effect of Media Violence on Children
Although very little research was done on it in the past, media violence has sparked much controversy in recent history. As technology becomes more advanced, new methods of uncovering the media’s effects on children have emerged. Advances in Neuroscience, for example, can become tools to understanding the effects media violence has from a psychological standpoint. The brain in its underpinnings from an MRI scan can suggest whether an individual is scared, aggressive, or desensitized after being exposed to some stimulus, which include TV and Videogame violence. In an article entitled “Media Violence and Social Neuroscience: New Questions and New Opportunities” found on the Current Directions in Psychological Science journal, Carnagey, Anderson, and Bartholow write Past research has shown, following exposure to either violent television (e.g., Thomas, Horton, Lippincott, & Drabman, 1977) or to videogames (Carnagey, Anderson, & Bushman, 2007) , participants show reduced skin conductance and heart rate reactivity when encountering subsequent descriptions of real violence. In other words, exposure to virtual violence produces desensitization to actual violence, which has been linked to increased aggression and reduced helping. (180) Survey research has shown that one quarter of children in the U.S have at least one television set at home and a fraction of them have it on all day. This statistic shows the prevalence of television viewership amongst children of all ages. News media contains much violence and affects children in many negative ways. For example, news media can make children express fear when they see reports on danger around them and in other parts of the world. These reports include accounts of murders, catastrophic accidents, and war, among other kinds of suffering. Media violence has many negative influences on children, symptoms of which include fear, aggression, and desensitization. The cure for these symptoms could be a community effort to stop children from watching violence and further research on the negative effects of violence on children.
I. What is Media Violence?
A. Types of Media Violence
In an article entitled “Violence and Suffering in Television News: Toward a Broader Conception of Harmful Television Content for Children” found on the Pediatrics Journal website, Dr. Walma Van der Molan writes that television news has a lot of violence which Americans use to overemphasize crime by very sensational violent presentations. (1771) 2. Video games/computer games
B. Negative influences on Children
Media violence has been a topic of research for decades. Psychologists have come up with experiments and models to predict whether media has any influence on children. Results have shown that most children experience negative outcomes of emotion right after they experience some stimuli. Studies have shown that media violence can also affect children in the long term. In an article entitled “Media Violence and Social Neuroscience: New Questions and New Opportunities” found in the Current Directions in Psychological Science journal, Carnagey, Anderson, and Bartholow write, “The most recent comprehensive review of the effects of violent media found ‘unequivocal evidence that media violence increases the likelihood of aggressive and violent behavior in both immediate and long term contexts’” (178). However, there are different effects that each type of media can have on a child. For instance, video games offer a more interactive form of violence than just watching television. When an individual plays a violent video game, he or she becomes immersed in the game experience and even receives virtual rewards for his or her acts. On the other hand, when a child watches a violent scene in a movie, the...