Violence in the Media
Television, video games, movies, and other media sources are common place in our world today. I would be hard pressed to find a home without any one of the media sources available. Society has become dependent on these sources for information and entertainment, but the effects of these media outlets could be even greater. Late night news broadcasts the violence on a daily basis. As the world becomes more corrupted by violence, it is easy to blame the aggression on the media. “Aggression is defined by psychologists as any behavior that is intended to harm another person.” (Anderson et al., 2003). Harm can come in many forms: verbal, physical, mental, or behavioral. Some of these forms are hard to measure which is why the question “Whether or not exposure to media violence causes increased levels of aggression and violence in young people is the perennial question of media effects research” (Media, 2010). All of the current research shows that exposure to media violence can have a lasting negative impact on our children. The effects of the media on our children appear to be both short-term and long-term. Aggression can present itself in our youth in a variety of ways. “For example, verbal aggression usually refers to saying hurtful things to the victim. Relational or indirect aggression refers to behavior that is intend to harm the target person but is enacted outside of the target person’s view (e.g., behind his or her back), such as telling lies to get the person in trouble or to harm his or her interpersonal relationships” (Anderson et al., 2003). Children who have not demonstrated these types of behaviors can be impacted by the media sources they are exposed to. “Watching violent television programs or video games may affect children's minds even if they don't have a history of aggressive behavior” (Mathias, 2005). In addition to the effects on children’s minds “media violence can be dangerous to children’s health” (Muscari, 2003). Children become less emotionally stable. They view what they see on television and in video games, as well as what they hear on the radio and in popular songs produced by artists who elicit interest from children and youth as reality. These false realities lead our children to become more aggressive by nature. In addition children become less able to relate to others in the real world. Social media has decreased their ability to use appropriate interpersonal skills. It might be easy to think that all of these effects are based on long term exposure to media violence. However, short-term exposure to media violence also “increases the likelihood of physically and verbally aggressive behavior, aggressive thoughts, and aggressive emotions” (Anderson et al., 2003). Regardless of the length of exposure, media violence does affect our children. How is it that exposure to media violence, whether short term or long term, can produce such an impact? Simply stated “entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values, and behavior, particularly in children” (Anderson et al., 2003). Making video games and television shows realistic draws children and young adults into the scenarios. My own children seem to enjoy or become more involved in games that are more realistic. However, as boys, they seem to be drawn to play games of violence over games of action such as the sports or interactive games on the Wii or the Xbox Kinect. “Experts feel that the mechanical, interactive qualities of ‘first person shooter’ games make them potentially more dangerous than TV or movies. Many young school shooters, including those at Columbine were obsessed with video games and some had little or no experience with real guns prior to their shooting sprees” (Muscari, 2003). This information is alarming to me as a parent. I have become increasingly aware of the amount of time my children spent engaged in media with violence and aggression being...
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