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Unformatted text preview: it is not surprising that there is no valid research demonstrating effectiveness of
general media-literacy education.
On a more positive note, one recent study tested an intervention that combined education about
the effects of violence with a counterattitudinal intervention and parental monitoring (Robinson,
Wilde, Navracruz, Haydel, & Varady, 2001). Two elementary schools similar on many key factors
were selected for the study; one was randomly chosen to participate in the intervention, and the
other served as a control. The intervention consisted of 18 classroom lessons over a 6-month
period. The lessons, which lasted 30 to 50 min each, included elements of media education and
attitude interventions. After the lessons were completed, the children were encouraged to not watch 65 Media Violence TV or movies or play video games for a "TV Turnoff" period of 10 days. Finally, the children were
encouraged to create and follow a video-entertainment budget of 7 hr per week. Newsletters were
used to enlist parents' support in helping the children achieve these goals. Note that the TV Turnoff
targeted media use in general, but did not address issues of aggressive behavior.
The aggressive behavior of both the control children and the children who received the
intervention was assessed in several ways. First, peers were asked to report on the participants'
aggressive behavior before the intervention (September) and again 7 months later (April). In
addition, 60% of the children were observed for physical and verbal aggression on the playground.
Finally, parents were interviewed about their child’s aggressive and delinquent behavior. All four
of the aggression measures showed that levels of aggression in April (adjusted for scores before the
intervention) were lower for the intervention participants than for the control participants. Both
peer ratings (p < .03) and observed verbal aggression (p < .01) showed significant effects of the
intervention, whereas observed physical aggression and parent-reported aggression did not yield
statistically significant effects. The authors also reported that the effect of the intervention did not
differ significantly for boys versus girls or for children of different ages.
Major Research Findings
We began our review by listing five questions that were our focus:
• What does research say about the relation—both short-term and long-term—between media violence and violent behavior?
• How does media violence produce its effects on violent behavior? • What characteristics of media violence are most influential, and who is most susceptible to such influences?• How widespread and accessible is violence in the media (TV, music videos, video games, Internet)?
• How can individuals and society counteract the influence of media violence? Anderson, Berkowitz, Donnerstein, Huesmann, Johnson, Linz, Malamuth, & Wartella 66 We summarize the broad answers to these questions in this section.
Media Violence, Aggression, and Violent Behavior
In brief, five general observations follow from this review of relevant research. First, media
violence has a modest direct effect (r = .13 to .32) on serious forms of violent behavior. Second, a
more extensive body of research documents a larger impact of media violence on aggression
(including violence; r = .18 to .38). Third, the research base for these first two conclusions is large;
diverse in methods, samples, and media genres; and consistent in overall findings. Fourth, for many
individuals, the negative effects of habitual childhood exposure to media violence extend well into
adulthood even if media violence is no longer being consumed. Fifth, even individuals who
typically are not highly aggressive are negatively affected by exposure to violent media both in
short-term situations and over long periods of time.
More specifically, research provides strong evidence that in the short term, exposure to media
violence causes increases in children’s, adolescents', and young adults’ physically and verbally
aggressive behavior, as well as in aggression-related variables (such as aggressive thoughts and
emotions) that are theoretically linked to aggressive and violent behavior. This body of research has
grown considerably over the decades since the 1972 Surgeon General’s report. The relatively few
large-scale longitudinal studies reported in recent years provide converging evidence linking
repeated exposure to violent media in childhood with aggression later in life, and in particular with
increased likelihood of serious physically aggressive behavior including physical assaults, spouse
abuse, and other types of crimes. Because extremely violent criminal behaviors (e.g., forcible rape,
aggravated assault, homicide) are relatively rare, additional longitudinal studies with very large
samples are needed to estimate accurately how habitual childhood exposure to media violence
compares in magnitude with other risk factors for the most serious criminally violent behavior.
Theory Media Violence 67 There is a growing body of well-supported theory ex...
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- Spring '13
- The Land