Violence in Media

Violence in Media - Probst 1 Christine Probst English Comp...

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Probst 1 Christine Probst English Comp 3 Shaffer Nov 28 2007 Media Violence and Aggression Television is a powerful tool with the ability to both entertain and inform the viewer. However, television may be too powerful, as many individuals have an addictive relationship with the screen. TV-Free America recently compiled a compelling series of statistics on American viewers, making it perfectly clear that people spend too much time watching television. According to these statistics, the average viewer watches more than four hours of TV everyday. Kids spend more time watching TV than going to class. Also, 200,000 violent acts are seen on TV by age eighteen. With so much free time spent watching television, it is instinctual to fear that it has negative effects on our society. In fact, 79 percent of Americans believe that TV violence helps precipitate real-life mayhem (6). The idea that violence in the media causes aggression and leads to crime has been preached by researchers, parents, and politicians since the 1980s. However, despite the countless studies that have been conducted, no significant consistent relationship has been found. Still, many hold onto the idea that television makes their children more aggressive than they would have been naturally. Perhaps this is due to the stigma that TV teaches children that violence is cool, funny, and effective. Perhaps it is because parents cannot understand why their children seek out violent media as a source of entertainment. Perhaps this is because its the most simple and guilt free explanation for every bad thing
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Probst 2 children do. There are many rational reasons to believe that media violence causes aggression, but these excuses simply hold people back from listening to the majority of scientific evidence that rejects the claim that media violence leads to real life aggression. The misperception of this issue comes at a high cost, as valuable time and money is spent trying to control violence in the media via V-chips or governmental regulation, rather than attacking the root causes of crime including poverty, racism, and inequality. Of course, there is some evidence that violence in the media is correlated to aggression, because if there were not, this issue would have died more than twenty-five years ago. A 2007 meta-analysis conducted by Bushman and Huesmann studied both the short term and long term effects of media exposure in 431 studies, which succeeded in proving that “there were overall modest but significant effects for exposure to media violence on aggressive behaviors, aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, arousal levels, and helping behavior” (101). In the long term, this effect was stronger for children than adults, as television can play a role in encoding scripts and schemas during this impressionable time period. Also, W. James Potter forms a relationship between violence and aggression,
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Violence in Media - Probst 1 Christine Probst English Comp...

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