The Influence of Media Violence on the Behavior and Psychology of Children
Throughout the past three decades, researchers have extensively conducted research to deduce the different factors for the prevalence of violence in modern times. Most findings of the studies indicated that the causes of violence among children are multifactorial and as such do not only comprise factors such as substance use, psychiatric conditions, poverty or exposure to domestic violence, but also children's exposure to media violence. For this reason, it is significant to recognize the role violent media plays in the psychology and behavior of children. However, even though it is challenging to identify the types of media which significantly make children vulnerable to violent acts, video games seem to contribute to aggressive behavior among children significantly. On the other hand, opponents of video games argue that viewing television programs containing aggression content is not detrimental because kids are not physically performing the violence (Groves and Craig 19).
Thus the mind responds in a manner that the individual watching has been abused. This attribute unfolds in cases where the violence in media is one-sided, such as sadistic violence. Conversely, given that children are still undergoing brain development, experience with violent media adversely affects their future behavior. In brief, children characterized by behavioral, emotional as well as learning or impulse control disorders are more vulnerable to be affected by media violence. Silvern and Williamson (455) assert that, excessive viewing of television influences children's mental and physical health. Instead of finding more peaceful conflict resolution strategies, they end up being more reactive rather than proactive by depending on more aggressive or violent reactions to resolve misunderstandings. Ultimately, this view of danger, coupled with the absence of sympathy, leads to sadistic behavior, thus making kids more appalling of social relationships.
On the other hand, children who have an extreme exposure to media violence become argumentative because they have allotted to the slow restraint of inhibitors. Such kids are therefore more probable to be bullied because they appear to be more impatient than their counterparts. Huesmann, et al (201) affirm that, children who get too much exposure to violence on various media seem to be less cooperative, thus often exhibit a strong sense of entitlement than their colleagues. The Academy of Pediatrics highlights that exposing children to media violence desensitizes them to aggression, thus changing their perception of the world around them. An encounter with violent media negatively affects the psychology of kids by making them recognize that violence is acceptable behavior. When this perception is deeply rooted in the children’s mind, it often creates obstacles in altering these thoughts in their future life.
Correspondingly, this concept aligns with incidences of domestic violence in which children who experience this type of violence either become victims or offenders since they consider that exposure to violence is a norm (Bond 1). For example, an incidence that necessitated the immediate addressing of violence media concern, especially among children is the Columbine episode. In this regards, media violence can instigate young kids to practice the type of aggression they have experienced in movies or video games; uncertain that their actions are inappropriate or wrong. Nonetheless, considering factors that cause aggressive behavior in children, studies have revealed that violent forms of media are not solely the reason for children perpetrating violent actions. Parents’ involvement and family interactions regarding the content children watch or get exposure to also play a critical role in influencing children’s behaviors or the value systems they will uphold in future.
For instance, a study conducted by Huesmann and Laramie (409) indicated that, both reflective and impulsive children demonstrate a rise in violent aggression concerning play items after participating in both non-violent and violent forms of media. Conversely, in a different study by Ihori et al (198), the researchers established an absence of significant difference among children exposed to non-violent media and those who experienced violent media. Eventually, the viewers of such kinds of media experience negative reactions automatically as a response to specific violent scenes which tend to diminish in intensity with subsequent exposures. For instance, perspiration and increased heart rates usually accompany experience with gore or blood episodes from violent media. Ultimately, with recurrent exposure to violent media, the desensitized child develops the ability to contemplate as well as plan preemptive aggressive actions without undergoing the negative effects.
Other than desensitization and observational learning, violent media also conditions children behavior through the enactive learning process. In essence, children playing violent video games more than just viewers, but rather ‘active’ participants in violent practices. ” The CBS News (2000 p. 1) reported an incident in Dallas where a seven-year-old boy unintentionally killed his three-year old sibling after imitating a wrestling move called ‘clothesline. ’ The perpetrator slammed his arm into his little brother’s neck, who sustained severe head trauma and died. The older boy who was a fan of wrestling said that he had learned this move on television while watching the program. Another example is the television program-Jack Ass that has had several reports of accidents related to young kids emulating stunts done on the show.
Others claim that no scientific evidence shows watching violence desensitizes people and makes them violent. Even though it may be difficult to assess and characterize media violence, current research agrees with those proponents who claim that aggressive behavior is directly affected by violent media. As evident from the television show Jack Ass and pro wrestling programs, violent media may influence children into developing stressors that result to the onset of various symptoms such as lack of remorse and violence against others as in the case of the seven years old who killed his three-year-old brother. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that children are less exposed to such media. Works cited Anderson, Craig A. Groves, Christopher L. , and Craig A. Anderson.
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