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Effect of Media Violence on Children and Adolescent Behaviors

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Effect of Media Violence on Children and Adolescent Behaviors

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This literature review examined examples and statistics about media violence and the

implications and possible influence on children and adolescent behaviors. Researchers and

medical personnel, and mental health professionals have debated whether or not viewing

violence in the media has an effect on children and adolescents. The Committee on Pediatric

Workforce (2001) noted that, "Research has associated exposure to media violence with

aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, fear, depression, nightmares, and sleep

disturbances" (p. 1223). Television and assorted media violence can have an impact on attitudes

and behaviors, including violent behavior as well as the imitation of acts viewed on television.






Effect of Media Violence on Children and Adolescent Behaviors


One might be surprised to learn that American children ages 2 to 18 years appear to

spend more time viewing media each day than any other activity besides sleeping (Committee on

Pediatric Workforce, 2001, p. 1222). Children average about 6 hours, 32 minutes a day listening

to and viewing media such as music, television, internet, video games, and print (Committee on

Pediatric Workforce, 2001, p. 1222). The purpose of this literature review is to examine the

impact and or influence media violence may have on the behavior and attitudes of children and

adolescents. The question addressed in this paper is: How does Media Violence Affect

Children's and Adolescent's Behavior? It appears that television and assorted media violence

can influence children's and adolescent's attitudes and behavior, including violent behavior, and

imitation of things they view on television. The information for this paper was obtained from

scholarly and professional journal articles, books, and online sources.

This paper is designed to give readers insight into this growing problem in America.

Some parents and caregivers may not be aware of the consequences of exposing children and

adolescents to violence in the media. According to Rubinstein (1983), "Television can no longer

be considered a casual part of daily life, as an electronic toy" (p. 820). Making people aware of

the potential implications of this issue could assist parents in creating a brighter future for their


Review of Literature

Engagement in Viewing Violence

Committee on Pediatric Workforce (2001) reported the, "The context in which violence

is portrayed can make the difference between learning about violence and learning to be violent"

(p. 1224). For example, the movies Saving Private Ryan, Shawshank Redemption, or Blackhawk






Down have number of violent scenes in them. The difference amongst those movies and movies

such as Saw, Scream, or Hellboy, for example, is the type of violence that is depicted. The

former shows scenes of wars, turbulent times in history, and the loss of human life. They show

the emotions that are experienced when a loss has occurred, as well as the harm that is done

when people resort to violence. The latter films show violence differently than it occurs in real

life and seem to be made to please movie-goers out for a thrill; human cost or emotions may not

be shown in those types of movies (Committee on Pediatric Workforce).

Children may often learn by observing and trying out behavioral scripts (Committee on

Pediatric Workforce (2001). If the child is continually exposed to violent and aggressive

behavioral scripts, the child could learn to react with hostility when provoked. Video games,

therefore, can be an ideal place to learn violence; the player may feel a sense of satisfaction when

he or she wins points or moves to a different level of the game for committing violent acts. The

player is not a bystander who is simply viewing the violence, the player has the chance to

"rehearse an entire behavioral script from provocation, to choosing to respond violently, to

resolution of the conflict" (Committee on Pediatric Workforce, p. 1225). Some people in society




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