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mediaviolencefactsheet - Copy - Copy (2)

1983 p 905 four months after the intervention the

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Unformatted text preview: n paid to determining how to prevent it. Changing Attitudes Interventions specifically designed to counter violent messages presented in the media are rare (Eron, 1986; Singer & Singer, 1986a, 1986b; Singer, Singer, & Rapaczynski,1984); however, two have shown some success. Huesmann, Eron, Klein, Brice, and Fischer (1983) studied the effectiveness of two intervention programs designed to reduce the likelihood that 7- to 8-year-old children would imitate aggressive behaviors they saw on TV. In the first study, training sessions about television and realism failed to change attitudes or aggressive behavior. However, the same children participated in an additional—and successful—intervention the following year. In the second study, the children produced a videotape (ostensibly for children who had been "fooled by television or harmed by television violence") of themselves presenting persuasive essays explaining why it is bad to imitate TV violence and how television is not like real life (Huesmann et al., 1983, p. 905). Four months after the intervention, the children’s aggressive behavior (as reported by Media Violence 63 peers) had increased, as would be expected for this age, but it increased significantly less than the aggressive behavior of a randomly assigned comparison group of children who received a placebo intervention. Children who received the preventive intervention were also more inclined to view television violence as harmful and "not reflecting true life." The effectiveness of this intervention fits well with basic research on the effect of creating or reading causal explanations on beliefs, attitudes, and behavior (e.g., Anderson, Lepper, & Ross, 1980; Anderson & Sechler, 1986; Slusher & Anderson, 1996). That research showed that creating or considering causal explanations relevant to an issue leads to corresponding changes in beliefs, judgments, and behaviors. Similar results for media-violence interventions have been found with judgments involving sexual aggression. Linz, Fuson, and Donnerstein (1990) showed college men an educational documentary on the psychological impact of "slasher" films and two rape-prevention education films. The men were assigned to write essays about myths of sexual violence or essays critically evaluating television for its inaccurate portrayal of real life. After being videotaped reading these essays, they watched a playback of themselves and other participants advocating their antirape arguments or their media critiques. Men who had participated in either of these educational interventions were less likely to assign responsibility to a rape victim in a videotaped mock trial than were men in the control groups, who saw a neutral video or no video at all. Encouraging Parental Monitoring and Guidance As noted in the Research on Moderator Effects section, recent research has found that the harmful effects of exposure to media violence can be reduced if parents guide their children’s media exposure and discuss their interpretation of media violence with their children. For example, one study found that when parents speak negatively about violent TV or restrict viewing of violent television content, children place less importance on violent programming and have less aggressive attitudes. However, if parents watch TV with their children and say nothing about the violent content, children report higher than normal aggressive attitudes (Nathanson, 1999). Other studies Anderson, Berkowitz, Donnerstein, Huesmann, Johnson, Linz, Malamuth, & Wartella 64 have shown that when children watch a violent program with someone else present, they are less likely to express aggressive attitudes (Corder-Bolz, 1980) or to behave aggressively (Hicks, 1968) immediately after viewing the program if the other person makes negative comments about the violence than if that person is silent. They also are quicker to notify an adult that other children are fighting (Horton & Santogrossi, 1978) if they heard negative commentary while watching the violent program. Providing Media Education The preceding examples suggest that educating parents and teachers about specific techniques to reduce the effects of media violence might be a viable general intervention strategy. However, from an empirical and theoretical standpoint, there is little reason to believe that improving consumers’ ability to critically analyze, interpret, and evaluate media messages (i.e., improving media literacy; Corder-Bolz, 1982) would have much of an impact. To minimize observational learning, priming, automatization, and desensitization, an intervention must either reduce the child's exposure to violence or reduce the likelihood that the child will identify with the aggressive characters, perceive their actions as realistic and justified, and perceive aggression as acceptable. General media literacy programs do not specifically attempt to accomplish either of these two types of reductions; thus,...
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