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Effects of Media Violence on Children

   Effects of media violence on children has been studied from time in memorial from back in 1920s to 1930s when Payne Fund did his study. During his time of study, the children had made it a habit to attend movies on regular basis without any supervision. At this time the magic bullet theory was being tossed around and due to its legacy on fear, it caused parents to question what effects would movies have to the behavior of their children. Herbert Blumer (1933) reached to a conclusion that media influence the view of the children on the surrounding world and children tend to copy the behaviors shown on media. This study laid the foundation for future studies including bandura et al.’s study of 1963 and Livingstone et al.’s study of 2014. These two studies lead to a relationship between the violence in media and the aggression in the real world.

   In 1963, Albert Bandura, Ross D., and ross S.A carried out a study on transmission of aggression through imitation of media content by children. This research was carried out in a time when there was a rapid increase in violence in society and on the media especially television. The public was much worried that these violent content that was aired on televisions would create a generation of deviant youths. Their well-known bobo doll experiment of 1965, stated that there is a “high and uniform degree of learning” from children who had access to aggressive behaviors. Their argument was that if the children accessed these ferocious behaviours through mass media or attained them through real life experiences, the observed being is absorbed no matter what.

    Bandura et al.’s study used a video of an adult playing with an inflatable doll. The children were allowed to watch as the adult kicked the doll. After watching this video, the children were put in a playroom and given the same doll and toys. As expected, the kids imitated what they saw and punched and kicked the doll. The most surprising part was that the kids invented new ways of kicking the dolls. Although they state in their study that it was not automatic for the children to attain the behaviours anytime they viewed aggressive content, many children said they could imitate them anytime they are asked to do so (Bandura et al., 1963).

   Sonia Livingstone, Giovanna Mascheroni and Elisabeth Staksrud carried a study in 2014 about the effects of media violence on children. These three researchers were from Ohio state university. They confined 8 to 12 years old children in a lab and presented them with a 20-minute section of a highly parent guidance rated movie. In these sections, the children were allowed to see either the actual footage of the movie with the use of guns while others watched a version that was edited without guns. They were then put in a room with gun toys. To their surprise, those who watched the unedited footed were more aggressive with the guns than those who watched the edited footage (Livingstone et al., 2014).

    This study was fueled by the moral panics, risk discourses and censorious policy-making that threatened the behaviours of children. The European commission took its first action plan against these behaviours. The main focus of the European commission was to review evidences, conceptual clarification and debunking of myths. They carried this study in order to illustrate the value of systematically documenting and mapping while finding information on academic and public and policy makers so as to get a better understanding of how internet impacts the lives of the children.

These two studies exhibit a lot similarity than the differences that we can see. These similarities and differences will be discussed in this essay.

Similarities

Violent media causes aggression

   These two researchers have a clear conception of what they mean when they talk about media violence and aggressive behaviour. They have described and showed the violence in media translates to physical acts of aggression through human character. In the two studies it is evident that the children imitate what they see in the movies. Also it is evident from the two studies that they don’t only imitate the aggressive behaviour that they see, they advance them and even play more aggressively than what they saw.

Violent behaviours leads to aggressive behaviour.

    Violence and aggression seldomly caused by the same cause. They are as a result of many factors coupled together over a long period of time. Influence of violent media is only of the contributing behaviours that influence violence and aggression. Media content affects youthful behaviours. children who are aggressive are likely to grow up to be violent adults. The best solitary forecaster of violent behavior in older ages, young adults, and middle aged adults is the presence of aggressive behavior when they were young. Consequently, whatever that encourages aggressive behavior in young children will automatically be a factor to be considered for violent behavior in adults as well.

Moral panics and decay

   The two studies show that too much watching of violent media contents by the children corrupts their brain. Most youths who are aggressive and take part in antisocial behaviours were aggressive children and the seriously violent adolescents and adults were most probable aggressive and very violent when they were children. According to Paik and Comstock (1994), exposure to violent media, which promotes aggressive behaviours can cause to high anti-social behaviours later in many years to come.

Differences

   There are no much differences between these two studies as both leads to aggression and use of violence. The main difference between the two studies is what the children were exposed to. Madura et al.’s study exposed the children to physical assault while Livingstone et al.’s study used guns. From the two studies the kids who used guns turned out to be more aggressive than others. This means that it is whatever someone is introduced to determines the level of violence and aggression.

   In conclusion, the two studies definitely show that watching violent videos, films, cartoons, TV dramas and playing violent video games may make the observing child behave extremely aggressive towards others directly after that. This is evident from preschoolers, basic school children, high school students, college students, and adults. Huesmann and Guerra (1997) asserts that the children that access the violent clips have a tendency of behaving in a more aggressive way than those who view non-violent clips, and they accept theories that are more inclined to violence

References

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