Critical Issue Analysis: Issue 15
Does Exposure to Media Violence Promote Aggressive Behavior? Kevin Thomas
1.What are at least two facts presented by each side of the critical issue? Yes: Glenn Ellis and Francis Sekyra (1972) and O. Ivar Lovaas (1961) found that children exposed to media violence behaved aggressively shortly after seeing violence. Yes: (Husemann, Moise-Titus, Podolski, and Eron 2003) found that watching violence, identification with same-sex aggressive characters, and a perception that television violence is realistic were related to adult aggression, regardless of how much aggression was exhibited as a child. Yes: Most studies have shown that pro-social behavior decreases after children view an aggressive film. Yes: Children who watch violent television become suspicious and expect others to act violently an attributional bias that promotes aggressive behavior. No: The laboratory experiments produced inconsistent results, with more of them non-supportive than supportive. No: The number of studies on media violence has sometimes been overstated.
2.What are at least two opinions presented by each side of the critical issue? Yes: Exposure to media violence causes desensitization; viewers become less sensitive to the violence they see and thus become willing to tolerate a more violent society. Yes: Children are likely to imitate and admire the behavior of media heroes and learn that aggression is an acceptable solution to conflict. No: If children are learning anything from the media, it is that the forces of good will overcome evil assailants, who are the first to use violence. No: Real life violence has negative effects on children rather than fictional violence.
3.What are some of the strengths associated with the Pro side of the issue? What are some of the weaknesses? Strengths: The pro-side has a large body of evidence, which supports their argument that media violence does negatively affect children. Their evidence...
References: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kids and Media at the New Millennium: A Kaiser Family Foundation Report. Menlo Park, CA: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation; 1999
Roberts DF Media and youth: access, exposure, and privatization. J Adolesc Health 2000; 27:8-14
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