Much has been made of the link between violence in the Media and video games real-life violence and aggression. Every time an instance of mass violence occurs, especially those that take place in schools, the Media examines the link between TV and video game violence and real-life aggression. While exposure to such violence can lead to increased aggression. There. (Huessman & Taylor, 2006) is little research to link that aggression to actual acts of violence.
Children exposed to violent scenes on TV are more prone to aggression than those who are exposed to neutral content. (Huessman & Taylor, 2006) Experiments designed to measure this use methods such as allowing subjects to subject others to loud noises for varying lengths to denote aggression. (Huessman & Taylor, 2006) While such behavior is unquestionably aggressive, it falls well short of actual violence. It would be unethical to allow subjects to club one another with baseball bats, but there must be a better way to link aggression with actual violence in an experimental session.
One study measuring the effects of violent TV and movies on younger children did use actual violence as a measure. . (Huessman & Taylor, 2006) They used physical acts against opponents in a field hockey game as the dependent variable. (Huessman & Taylor, 2006) The findings in this case were consistent with the view that violent media led to more violent behavior. (Huessman & Taylor, 2006) The Difference between this “violence” and actual acts of physical violence upon innocent victims should be noted here. First, the hockey players were in competition with their “victims.” Their “victims” had access to the same “weapons” and were engaged in the same activity as their attackers. These points differ greatly from not only real-life acts of violence but also those depicted on TV. It is not appropriate to assume that acts that might draw a penalty in a hockey game would translate to violent or lethal attacks on innocent victims.
The longitudinal studies of TV violence and aggressive behavior also warrant as second look. They universally not increased aggressive behavior among children who watch violent TV throughout middle school than those who do not. (Huessman & Taylor, 2006) Missing from this data, however, is the overall household environment of those children. It may be reasonably argued that parents who monitor and control the amount of violence their children are exposed to also take other actions to reduce the aggression of their children. Thus, the aggression noted in these studies may not come from watching TV, but from parental neglect or some other environmental factor unrelated to the Media watched by the children. It is important to not that not all longitudinal studies have produced data in support of the violence in media and aggression link. (Huessman & Taylor, 2006)
Video games have been blamed for the increase in violence perpetrated by young people. (Bond, 2011) Certain high-profile cases, such as the Columbine, Colorado shooting, in which the perpetrators were known to be video game fanatics, feed the perceptions that the violent behavior is caused or contributed to by the video games themselves. (Bond, 2011) This conclusion, while perhaps logical, is not scientifically valid. In fact, a number of meta analysis done on video-game and aggression studies have found either no link or an effect that only reaches those who already score in the top quarter for aggressive tendencies. (Bond, 2011) A wide variety of other factors are more important antecedents of aggression than violent video games, including child abuse and neglect, victimization, bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, exposure to violence in the home, neurobiological indicators, low socioeconomic status, and access to guns. (Bond, 2011)
It is clear that exposure to violence on TV and video games does lead to some increased aggression in some people. What is less clear is whether that aggression leads to violence, and how much exposure is necessary to make an otherwise disinclined person turn to violence. There has been no study that has suggested that exposure to TV or video-game violence makes anyone into a violent person. Apart from a few high profile cases, it has not been demonstrated that real-life violence has anything to do with TV or video games. If the goal of this field of research is to reduce the amount of violence displayed in real life, then the best course of action would seem to be in reducing other factors such as child abuse and neglect, victimization, bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, exposure to violence in the home, neurobiological indicators, low socioeconomic status, and access to guns. Doing this would be a better help to society than wasting energy attacking violent TV and video games.
Bond, D. (2011) “The Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior and the Relationship to School Shootings” South Florida University Scholar CommonsRetrieved 12-12-2013 from: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1062&context=honors_et
Huessman, L. & Taylor, L. (2006) “The Role of Media Violence in Violent Behavior” Annu. Rev. Public Health 2006. 27:393–415