Media Violence Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1257 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Communication - Journalism

Media Violence

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The American Psychiatric Association exclaims, "The debate is over. Over the last three decades, the one overriding finding in research on the mass media is that exposure to media portrayals of violence increases aggressive behavior in children." In addition to the correlation between exposure to violent media and aggressive behavior, the APA asserts: "that exposure to depictions of violence causes desensitization and creates a climate of fear." However, causation is difficult to ascertain, as sociological and psychological studies in the area of media violence can generally only suggest correlation, not causation. Nevertheless, children are exposed to countless violent imagery, imagery that has become increasingly realistic over the past several years due to advancements in technology. Not only do movies and television shows glorify violence, but children's video games and even the music they listen to contribute to a culture of violence. There is no doubt that the United States does harbor a culture of violence. Incidents such as school shootings draw the public's attention increasingly to the role of violent media: its potential effects on developing minds and its potential effects on the society at large. If violence in media causes increased aggression, then some public policy changes are in order. Reputable studies do show that violence in the media can prompt aggressive behavior toward others or themselves, even when the portrayals of violence are fictional.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Media Violence Assignment

Fictional violence is in fact one of the primary ways young children and adolescents are exposed to violence in the media. Forty-six percent of all television violence may take place in children's cartoons, and children's programs are also highly unlikely to depict the long-term consequences of violence; rather, they portray violence in a humorous fashion most of the time ("Facts about Media Violence"). Cartoons are not the only culprit for promoting the notion that violent behavior has no consequences. The glamorization of violence by popular music stars also contributes to a growing sense among youth that violence is acceptable, even desirable behavior. Certainly such skewed and outright false ideas must have negative consequences on the individual psyche and the collective psyche of Americans.

Gerard Jones would probably disagree. In his book Killing Monsters, Jones describes how and why children might in fact need fantasy violence in order to develop constructive coping skills. Fantasy violence might help children master their psychological and social realities, make sense out of complicated emotions like anger and sadness, develop self-confidence, self-efficacy, and a sense of humor. Moreover, fantasy violence especially as its depictions have evolved over recent years, might be highly beneficial for young girls. One of the book chapters in Killing Monsters, "Girl Power," demonstrates the relevance of physically strong female action heroes, and how such female action heroes can tremendously boost the self-esteem of young girls. Female action heroes, even and perhaps especially when they use violence to accomplish their goals, can help girls overcome the otherwise gender-biased tendencies within traditional media and within the overall culture.

Still, in light of psychological and sociological evidence, the types of so-called positive forms of fantasy violence must be reexamined and challenged. Unfortunately, studying the real-world effects of media violence is notoriously and almost unavoidably difficult. Defining what constitutes violence is itself a central problem in research methodology ("Research on the Effects of Media Violence"). For example, is it violent when the Road Runner causes the Coyote to fall from a cliff? Are Discovery Channel episodes of lions eating zebras violent? Sometimes what constitutes violence in one parent's eyes is tame in another's. The simple presence of blood doesn't necessarily entail violence, so it can be hard to define media violence for research purposes. Even when violence can be clarified through strict working definitions, the conclusions of sociological or psychological studies can be biased or unclear.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Media Violence" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Media Violence.  (2005, June 10).  Retrieved October 24, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Media Violence."  10 June 2005.  Web.  24 October 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Media Violence."  June 10, 2005.  Accessed October 24, 2021.