Role of Media Violence in Teen ViolenceAnnotated Bibliography

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¶ … Media Violence and Teen Violence

One of the major issues that has characterized public debate since the 1930s is concerns and questions on whether exposure to violent media affect the youth, especially in relation to teen violence. This issue has attracted considerable debate in the recent past because of the increase in video games. As video games have become prevalent in the society and more accessible to teenagers, there have been corresponding increases in incidents and reports of violence and explicit imagery. The increased violence is attributed to increased aggressiveness brought by the psychological impact of media violence on teenagers and the society in general. In light of recent statistics and trends, it is quite evident that media violence has a direct link to teen violence, which has contributed to the emergence of great concerns on the effect of movies and television on young people.

Development of Mass Media

The social environment in the contemporary society has been characterized by the increased development and infiltration of mass media (Huesmann & Taylor, 2006, p.393). Mass media i.e. television, computer networks, radio, videos, movies, and video games have assumed central roles in the daily life of every individual in the new social environment. Consequently, mass media continues to have a considerable impact on societal beliefs, values, and behaviors either in a positive or negative manner. Television is regarded as the biggest form of mass media that has major effects on the behavior of children and teenagers.

Given the prevalence of mass media in the modern society, its impact on the thought processes and behaviors of people cannot be underestimated. In essence, mass media plays a crucial role in the development of beliefs and values, which in turn affect thinking patterns and behaviors. This implies that exposure to any form of mass media has significant psychological impacts on people and the society in general. Mass media continues to grow and have tremendous impacts on individuals and the society because of the rapid technological advancements that characterize the 20th Century.

Media Violence

Despite the numerous positive impacts of the media on individuals and the society in general, it is associated with several negative effects. One of the major negative impacts of exposure to mass media is its detrimental impacts on the health of viewers and others, especially in relation to violence. Based on the findings of researches that have been carried out over the years, exposure to media violence on television and in video games enhances the risk of violent behavior and contributed to teen violence. The impact of media violence on teen violence is similar to the way growing up in a violent environment enhances the risk of violent behavior (Huesmann & Taylor, 2006, p.393). However, there are numerous concerns on whether there a direct correlation between media violence and teen violence actually exists.

Media violence can be described as visual displays of physical aggression actions by one individual against another. Nonetheless, the definition does not incorporate perceived off-screen poisonings, but strictly refers to visually displayed physical aggressive acts (Huesmann & Taylor, 2006, p.395). As a result, this kind of violence poses a major threat to public health since it partly results in an increase in real-world aggression and eventual violent acts.

Link Between Media Violence and Teen Violence

As previously mentioned, the findings of various studies have demonstrated that media violence plays a major role in real-world aggression and violence, particularly teen violence. While the findings of these studies have been dismissed on the basis that they do not demonstrate any causal effect between the effect and for being systematically flawed, it is still evident that there is a link between media violence and teen violence (Signorielli, 2005, p.307). There are several factors that show the correlation between media violence and teen violence including the following

Development of Aggression

One of the ways through which media violence is directly connected with teen violence is that it promotes aggressive behaviors. According to Beresin (n.d.), research literature provides compelling evidence that children's exposure to media violence has a major effect on the etiology of violent behavior. Nonetheless, the research literature acknowledges that teen violence is multi-factorial and comprises several variables like child abuse, poverty, psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and psychopathology. Even though it is difficult to establish whether children's exposure to media violence enhances their risk to violent acts, there is a strong connection between media violence and aggression among vulnerable youth populations.

In the past three decades, numerous extensive studies have been conducted regarding the correlation between media violence and teenage violence. The varying studies i.e. experimental, cross-sectional, and longitudinal researches have established this correlation (Beresin, n.d.). The aggression brought by exposure to media violence results in teen violence as young people attempt to imitate the aggressive or violent acts during play with their peers. Since these individuals are exposed to media violence while still young, they are relatively unable to differentiate between fact and fantasy and may consider violence as a natural occurrence. The consideration of violence as a natural occurrence influences their involvement in violent acts.

The correlation between media violence and teen violence through resulting in development of aggression is supported by findings of a new study. Park (2014) states that the findings of a new study shows that increased exposure to violent media such as video games can make children and teenagers react in increasingly hostile means as compared to those who spend lesser time in violent media. The study was influenced by the existence of an ever growing research body that support the fact that video games can make children and young people act aggressively in real-world interactions. Moreover, media violence contributes to aggression, which leads to teen violence by making them develop fantasies regarding violence and hostile attitudes towards others (Park, 2014). In essence, media violence is regarded as a major factor that makes children and adolescents to view the world in an increasingly aggressive manner. Therefore, increased exposure to media violence enhances aggression through enhancing aggressive thinking among children and adolescents.

Desensitization to Violence

The second way through which media violence is directly linked to teen violence is through desensitizing viewers to violence and its consequences (Anderson & Gentile, 2008, p.292). The desensitization to violence occurs as media violence enable children and adolescents to develop aggressive or violent thinking. Actually, children and adolescents tend to become more aggressive since exposure to violence in mass media makes them consider aggressive and violent acts as normal occurrences. This implies that as children and adolescents are increasingly exposed to media violence they become less sensitive to it and become willing to accept a more violent social environment (Signorielli, 2005, p.312).

Desensitization to violence becomes an issue of major concern as these individuals continue to increase the duration and frequency of viewing. The more the individual is exposed to media violence; the more he/she becomes desensitized. While the desensitization can in some cases help to lessen children's or adolescent's fears, it generates considerable negative effects. In addition to becoming more violent, children who have been increasingly exposed to media violence show less concern to victims of violence in real-life situations.

Creation of Mean World Syndrome

The correlation of media violence and teen violence is further demonstrated by the fact media violence in turn creates a mean world syndrome among children and adolescents. The mean world syndrome is developed by instilling short-term and long-term fear due to psychological and emotional effect of media violence. The mean world syndrome is basically a generalized fear effect that creates a misrepresentation of people who are involved in violence in real-world situations. For instance, long-term exposure to media violence exaggerates the numbers of individuals engaged in violence and over-estimates the likelihood of being a victim of violence in real-world (Signorielli, 2005, p.313).

As a result of this effect, children and adolescents grow up believing that the world is a mean and dangerous place where many people in the society cannot be trusted and are self-centered. Therefore, there is strong link between exposure to media and perceptions of mistrust and victimization, which in turn results in violence. The mean world syndrome then becomes the basis through which media violence influences teen violence where children and adolescents show less concern to aggressive acts, victims of such acts, and consequences.

Conclusion

Mass media has continued to grow in the past few decades to an extent that it has become a central part in everyday life. This growth is mainly influenced by the numerous positive impacts of mass media in relation to providing news, educating, and offering entertainment. However, the media has been associated with some negative impacts, especially teen violence that is largely influenced by violent media. While the issue has attracted several controversies, media violence is linked to teen violence as demonstrated by numerous studies. In light of recent statistics and trends, it is quite evident that media violence has a direct link to teen violence, which has contributed to the emergence of great concerns… [END OF PREVIEW]

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