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The Effects Of Media Violence On Children

2241 words - 9 pages

If a child acted violently towards someone else, like if he or she punched another child, there would be consequences for that child. Perhaps detention or grounding, but then their act of violence is mostly forgotten about. Rarely do the parents or school officials investigate why the child acted violently in the first place. If asked, the adults might say something like “the child probably watches a violent television show, like Powerangers, or he/she plays violent video games, like Grand Theft Auto.” Most people would consider that an acceptable reason. It is the norm to blame “the media” for everything that is wrong with our culture. But the question raised now is why; why does ...view middle of the document...

This definition helps open our eyes to how often media violence really shows up and how it is portrayed. The way it is portrayed makes it seem like its “okay” and “normal”, and that skews how children will think about violence in general. Media violence is not something that goes unnoticed by experts; however, there are few conclusive studies done on the subject. Most likely this is because the effects of media violence are difficult to test. Parents will lie about how much TV or video games their children use, and children could lie about that, too. Also, any sort of correlational study, like trying prove the correlation between playing violent video games as a child and then growing up to become a murderer, is difficult to do when it comes to behavior, especially behaviors that may not show up until 20-30 years later in life. It is generally accepted that media violence exists, but the questions still exists: how much of an effect does it have on society?
Media violence is something that is extremely prevalent in today’s popular media, especially television. According to an article by KD Browne and C Hamilton-Giachristsis published in the academic journal Lancet, “20–25 violent acts are shown in children’s television programs each hour, with an average of three to five violent acts during prime-time television viewing” (Browne 703). These numbers are just averages- some shows have more, some have less- but what is clear is how much violence is portrayed through media, specifically television. The study Browne presents in this article concludes that:
a significant association was reported between the amount of time spent watching television during adolescence and early adulthood (with accompanying probable exposure to violence) and the likelihood of subsequent antisocial behavior, such as threatening aggression, assault or physical fights resulting in injury, and robbery. (Browne 703)
The key words to pay attention to in this statement are “significant association.” Those words have an uncertain meaning about them. They seem to suggest that there is some sort of relationship between watching violent television and the childrens’ violent behaviors, but it is inconclusive as to what this relationship is. These words do not suggest any sort of finality to this claim. It is merely “significant”, not “absolutely” or “conclusively”, and it is only an “association”, meaning that there is no definite relationship, especially not a relationship that is causal.
Television shows are not the only place where media violence plays a big role. The news media and the violence depicted within it can also have an effect on children. The news is clearly not directed towards children, but according to a scholarly article by JH Walma Van der Molen in the journal Pediatrics, “children depend heavily on television for their knowledge about news events and they watch more news broadcasts than many parents and other caregivers might think they...

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