Youth and Media Violence

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The topic of media violence having an influence on the attitudes and behavior of the youth has been a topic of debate for the past decade. Critics say that violence on television, movies, and video games, desensitizes children to the actual effects that violence has on society and themselves. The problem is that children tend to act on the behavior which is seen on the television shows they watch and video games that they play each day. They shoot someone on a video game and can’t distinguish that it is morally wrong to kill someone but with the daily influence it doesn’t affect them and they will grow up and be a violent person. This subject heavily debated because of the profound impact that the violence could have on the future of society. Proliferation of televisions exploded into 90% of homes by 1960 and by 1996 had reached 99% of American Homes (Beresin, 1999). As you can see by the statistics that television is everywhere even more prevalent then telephones in homes. So it’s a large part of the American society and children’s lives. In fact, Children spend more time watch television than time spent in school (Beresin, 1999). The introduction of television violence has led many to theorize that chronic exposure to such acts will desensitize some children and cause them to develop more aggressive traits (Beresin, 1999). While the cause of violence is multifactor and include variables as individual biological vulnerability; psychiatric disorder; substance abuse; and social conditions such as poverty, poor education, family psychopathology, and child mistreatment, the research literature is quite compelling in showing that among the most important variables is exposure of children to televised violence are at greater risk (Beresin, 1999). The “Notel” study a town that had not been exposed to television because of its remote location, and two other control communities that had access to televisions already. The researchers ended up finding no significant


References: Beresin, E. (1999). Media violence and youth. Academic Psychiatry; Summer 1999; 23, 2; Coursepack pg. 111-114 Olson, C. (2004). Media Violence Research and Youth Violence Data: Why Do They Conflict?. Academic Psychiatry; Summer 2004; 28, 2; Coursepack pg. 144-150

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