Paper Due Date
- Factors affecting violent behavior in society
American Psychological Association has listed down several factors that responsible for increasing violent behavior. Amongst the various factors affecting violent behavior, exposure to violent media is one amongst them. (ABP Website). Kathryn Seifert, in an online publication, states that the factors affecting violent behavior also include biological trait, family bonding, individual characteristics intelligence, peer relationship, culture shaping society and resiliency.
The tendency to resort to violent behavior is genetically encoded in human beings. To this end, various external factors act as a catalyst agent in aggravating violent behavior and reaction. Even though there are several factors which lead to violent behavior, yet the factor of media influence is the one which simply cannot be overlooked. The characteristic of violence can be described as a seed that is there in each and every living being. In this context, media can easily be compared to water which nourishes the seed and enables it to sprout and nurture. To this end, biological traits can be compared to soil, family bonding to air, individual characteristics intelligence to climatic conditions, peer relationship, culture shaping society and resiliency can be described as nutrients that aids in germinating the seed of violence and subsequently nourishing it into a full fledged plant of violent behavior.
- Role of Media in accelerating violence vis-à-vis children
In an online report by Major Staff, Senate Committee on Judiciary, a statistics of Department of Justice was reproduced. The statistics According to the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ"), ”law enforcement agencies arrested approximately 2.8 million juveniles in 1997. Of that number, 2,500 were arrested for murder and 121,000 for other violent crimes. Juveniles accounted for 19% of all arrests, 14% of murder arrests, and 17% of all violent crime arrests”. (Majory Staff, Senate Committee of Judiciary. 2009:Web.)
National Association for Educating Young children published an online article on Media Violence in Children’s Life. The article stated that “The problem of violence in the media is not new but has become much worse since the Federal Communication Commission’s decision to deregulate children’s commercial television in 1982. For example, air time for war cartoons jumped from 1-1/2 hours per week in 1982 to 43 hours perweek in 1986 (Carlsson-Paige & Levin, 1987; Tuscherer,1988). Children’s programs featured 18.6 violent acts per hour a decade ago and now have about 26.4 violent acts each hour (Gerbner, 1990). Adults need to recognize that the content of programming has changed, and as a result the potential for negative effects on children’s development is greater. Next to family, television and other media may be the most important sources of information for children, rivaling the school as a principal factor influencing their development. (Naye.org, April 1990)
It is a well known fact that children are highly impressionable in nature and they have a natural inclination to copy whatever they see and come across. An online publication of American Psychological Association points out that a constant barrage of media violence may have the effect of making a child immune and less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others. (APA Web). It would also lead to an increase in a sense of foreboding and the children may start fearing the world in general. Violent television serial has a direct bearing on the increase in aggressive and destructive behavior of children towards other.
The online article of American Psychological Association quotes the research work of L. Rowell Huesmann, Leonard Eron. found that children who watched many hours of violence on television when they were in elementary school tended to show higher levels of aggressive behavior when they became teenagers. The research work carried out by the foregoing psychologist that the chances of increased criminal activity and prosecution was very high amongst those children who were exposed to a lot of violent television serial at the age of 8 years. They also observed that Television could rather be a cause and not consequence of violent behavior. Nevertheless, research carried out by scientist at later stage established that television could rather just be one of the factors that contributed to violent behavior. (APA. Web.1999)
- Role of Media in Impacting Violent Behavior
It is a well known fact that people react to violent media content in variety of manner.
Melanine Brown of Australian Institute of Criminology published an research paper on The Portrayal of Violence in the Media: Impacts & Implications for Policy. The key points about the impact of media on violence as stated in the foregoing research paper are summarized as follows:
- Continuous exposure to on-screen violence has a direct co-relationship with increased level of aggression, gradual corrosion of sensitive, and an increased fear of crime;
- Violent media is one of the many factors which contribute to violent behavior. There are other determining factors as well.
- Certain section of the population is into the habit of imitating whatever they see on the media and television. Howerver, everyone do not indulge in this behavioral pattern.
- There is a direct relationship between screen violence and aggressive behavior. However, this is a bidirectional relationship. This is because people who are aggressive in nature tend to watch more off onscreen violence and people who watch more onscreen violence tend to get more aggressive.
- The context of violence is very critical on the impact it has on viewer.
- The impact of onscreen violence can be both short as well as long term.
- The most vulnerable section of the society who is at a high risk to on screen violence are children. However, this does not completely exclude adults and they can also get greatly influenced by violent behavior.
- Gender has a role to play here. Males are more likely to be influenced by violent media in comparison to females.
- Parents are required to take up the responsibility of explaining their children the difference between onscreen media violence and real life situation.
- It is still not entirely clear whether media is the greatest factor or whether there are other determining factor as well like disintegrated family, drug, health issues, poverty etc.
- Reducing the Impact of Media Violence
The most advisable solution to reduce the influence of violent media is to reduce the exposure of young children to violent content. The responsibility of explaining the difference between real and reel life situation lies with parents.
Carmela Lomonaco points out in an online article that various researches has indicated that limiting media consumption, whether it be viewing television or playing video games can certainly reduce aggressive behavior in children. (3), can reduce short-term aggressiveness in children.
Another way to curb violence is by passing suitable legislations which effectively regulates television contents and the prime time slots for various categories of shows. Carlos Lomonaco further points out that in 1996 Congress passed the Telecommunications Act, so as to assist parents in reducing children’s exposure to media. (P 3).
Various NGO’s and self help group can also aid and assist parents in helping reduce the impact of media on violent behavior by providing them with the necessary trainings.
It can be reasonably inferred that media does impact violence at many levels. Nevertheless, adequate steps can be taken so as to temper and/or reduce the impact of media on violent behavior.
- American Psychological Association. Web. n.p n.d
- Kathryn Seifert, “Why Do People Resort To Violence?” The Psychologytoday.com December 23, 2011.
- American Psychological Association “Violence in the Media — Psychologists Study TV and Video Game Violence for Potential Harmful Effects”: Web. APA.org n.p.n.d
- Majority Staff Senate Committee on the Judiciary “Children Violence and the Media”. (Web. Sept 14, 199)
- National Association for the Education of Young Children “Media Violence in Children’s Lives” (Web. 1990)
- Melanine Brown “The Portrayal of Violence in the Media: Impacts & Implications for Policy”: Web: Australian Institute of Criminology: (P.2-June, 1996)
- Carmela Lomonaco et el. “Media Violence” Web. (P.2 2010)