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Media Violence and Its Psychological Effects on Children (literature Review)

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Media violence

Media Violence and its psychological effects on Children.

Moustafa Mohamed Morsy - Student

The British University in Egypt

Media Violence and its psychological effects on Children.

Many researchers have found a relationship between violence in media and aggressive behaviour in children. University of British Columbia professor Tannis McBeth Williams (1970) found that violent accidents had increased by 160 percent two years after television was introduced. Media in this paper is limited to television, movies, video games and music. Moreover, some studies have found a twelve percent increase in children's aggressive behaviour after watching violent scenes which led to several problems and accidents. Some of those problems, according to Tompkins (2003), are children's poor school performance, weak reading skills, and that they are more likely to be unsociable, overweight, and harmful to others. On the other hand, some people argue that media is a safe entertainment and is not attributed to children's behaviour. This paper will discuss a number of well-known researchers' points of views about whether media violence is the main reason behind children's aggression or not. It will also discuss some counter arguments and suggest some possible solutions.

Much of the earlier work associated violent media with aggressive behaviour. L. Rowell Huesmann reported that "the child most likely to be aggressive would be the one who watches violent television programs most of the time, believes that these shows portray life just as it is, and identifies strongly with the aggressive characters in the shows". Thus, he determined three variables which contribute to children's aggressive behaviour. Perhaps a popular example which supports the last variable is the case of Michael Carneal stated in court as follows; "Michael Carneal clipped off nine shots in a 10-second period. Eight of those shots were hits. Three were head and neck shots and were kills. That is way beyond the military standard for expert marksmanship. This was a kid who had never fired a pistol in his life, but because of his obsession with computer games he had turned himself into an expert marksman" (Ivory, 2003), (Hanson, 1999, p. 15). This instance may be a small evidence, however, it proves that violent media actually plays a role in behaviour.

Once again, A study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2003 showed that almost half (47 percent) of parents having children between the ages of 4 and 6 report that their children have committed aggressive behaviours from television. Surprisingly, not only television and video games can affect the behaviour, but also music lyrics. In 2003, Craig Anderson and Iowa State University colleague Nicholas Carnagey and Janie Eubanks of the Texas Department of Human Services reported that violent music lyrics increased aggressive feelings and antagonistic thoughts among five hundred college students. They concluded that music lyrics can also have negative effects on behaviour exactly like television and video games have. While those studies totally ignored any other factors that could contribute to children's aggression, they focused on the most significant and dangerous factor which is the media. As Kansas State University Professor John Murray concludes, "The most plausible interpretation of this pattern of correlations is that early preference for violent television programming and other media is one factor in the production of aggressive and antisocial behaviour when the young boy becomes a young man". Finally, many



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