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Aggression in Children: The Influence of Violent Media
Media plays an important role in the society. It serves to mobilize, teach, inform and ridicule the society. Media comprises the Television networks, magazines, radio stations and websites. Therefore, given its prevalence in the society, media influences the decisions made by individuals. Recent times have seen an increase in media’s portrayal of violence. The film industry increasingly engages in the production of movies that are majorly filled with violence. These media tendencies have been known to influence the decisions made by adolescents. There are those who prevail that violent media adversely influences adolescents. Nonetheless, this assertion is often criticized for not being reflective of the truth. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
More than any other group in the society, adolescents spend more time using media. According to Strasburger et al. (2010), adolescents spend an average of 7 hours in a day accessing the television, phones and computers. This increasingly exposes them to media content. A research conducted by the American Life project indicates that 93% of adolescents, between the age of 12 to 17, have access to online platforms (Strasburger, 2010). This group spends an average of 4 hours watching Television content on a daily basis. Adolescents tend to imitate what they learn on screen. Therefore, increased exposure to violent media, may have a detrimental effect on their future decision-making process. . [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
To begin with, violent media normalizes aggression. Adolescents who are repeatedly exposed to violent media are more likely to engage in violence. In movies, violence is often portrayed to be a normal occurrence. Adolescents will more likely than not, normalize such violent tendencies as a means of solving problems. Therefore, normalization leads to increased aggression amongst adolescents. A report by Nevins (2004) prevails that media violence indeed normalizes violence. This is through the continuous portrayal of violence as a rewarding act. Violent media celebrates violence. In movies, protagonists overcome the antagonists through violent means. From this celebration, adolescents will identify violence as the correct means of solving disputes. The report, The Effects of Media Violence on Adolescent health, was drafted for the “Physicians for Global Surviving (Canada)” program. It employs literature review to determine its premises on the normalizing effect that violent media has on adolescents. The report is a co-relational study that examines three specific media. The media discussed in the report include the television, music and video games. The report prevails that, normalization routinized violence in the adolescents. It thus becomes a highly mechanized operation within the body. Once adolescents have normalized violence, the psychological barriers that previously served to prevent violence are broken down and hence increased aggression.
Violent media emotionally affects adolescents. It desensitizes them with regards to violent tendencies. Desensitization can be defined as the reduction in distress-related responses to the thoughts and manifestations of violence (Carnagey & Anderson 2003). When adolescents are exposed to increased violent media, their response towards violence changes. They become less aroused by violence and no longer express loathe towards violence. Human beings have a tendency to detest that which hurts them. However, increased violent media makes them less hostile to violence. Therefore, they become more welcoming to violence. The Influence of Media Violence on the Youth is a compiled research on the effects of media violence on the youth. The article suggests that emotional desensitization in the youth is a result of increased exposure to violent media. The research was of a co-relational nature. Anderson et al. (2003) examines previously documented research on related topics. From the literature review, they prevail that violent media has a tendency to destabilize one’s emotional responses towards violence. Their findings are based on psychological foundations. When one is repeatedly exposed to a similar stimulus, they tend to exhibit milder forms of neurophysiological responses to the stimulus (Anderson et al., 2003). The authors prevail that violent media has a similar influence such as the objects of phobia in the treatment of phobias. As a means of cure, people with phobias are normally exposed to visual graphics. These visual graphics document the interactions between the objects of phobia with other individuals. This intervention mitigates the anxiety with which the patient under treatment extended the object of phobia (Pantalon & Motta, 1998). Emotional desensitization is reinforced in a similar manner. Given that adolescents spend most of their time on media platforms, they are increasingly exposed to violence. In the initial phases, adolescents may project loath and fear for the programs. However, as they continue to engage violent media, they are more willing to accept violence. Therefore, they become more inclined towards aggression. < Click Essay Writer to order your essay >
Anxiety and Fear
Violent media reinforces fear and anxiety in adolescents. As a defense mechanism, these adolescents become aggressive. Increased aggression is often intended to mitigate their fear and anxiety. It thus becomes a defense mechanism. The article Health Effects of Media on Children and Adolescents prevails violent media has negative effects on adolescents. The article is of a co-relational nature. The authors establish a linkage, through literature review, of previous research on media influences to draft their conclusions. Strasburger et al. (2010) indicates that anxiety and fear among the adolescents tend to augment aggressive inclinations. When one is repeatedly exposed to violence, they become wary of their environment. Thus, to order to protect themselves, adolescents become increasingly hostile towards the objects of their fears. Violent media increasingly portrays that when one is in fear or anxious, they should strike back to defend themselves. When this is reinforced, adolescents become increasingly defensive. To overcome their fears, they engage aggressive tactics.
Alternatively, there is more than one argument, which has increasingly been forwarded against the negative effects of violent media on adolescents. Fergusson (2014) indicates that there is no clear or direct linkage between violent media to the aggression exhibited by adolescents. Through his article Does Media Violence Predict Societal Violence? It Depends on What You look at and When the author disputes the linkage between observation and manifestation of violence. It employs two previously conducted studies to determine its premises. The studies used movie violence statistics, youth population, population density statistical analyses. The article, which is of a co-relational nature, determines that the frequency of violence in media does not correspond with the violence in the society. Thus, it is not always the case that increased violent, and graphic media leads to increased violence in the society. The correlation was only applicable in the mid-20th century and does not apply to the 21st century (Fergusson, 2014). Furthermore, there has not been an established causal relationship between violent, graphic media and increased aggression in the adolescents (Massachusetts General Hospital, 2012. There is indeed a correlational relationship between the two. However, it has not been established whether it is aggressive tendencies that encourage the engagement of violent media. It could be that aggression inspires such inclinations in the adolescents.
Violent media encourages aggression among the adolescents. When one is exposed to repeated violence, they normalize violence. They become more complacent with violence and are more willing to engage in such acts. Despite opposing assertions, the correlation between violent media and aggression in adolescents cannot be disputed. This indicates that the two are interlinked. These elements fuel each other. The more one engages violent, graphic media, the more aggressive they become.
Anderson, C. A., Berkowitz, L., Donnerstein, E., Huesmann, L. R., Johnson, J. D., Linz, D., . . . Wartella, E. (2003). The Influence of Media Violence in Youth. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 4(3).
Carnagey, N., & Anderson, C. (2003). Media Violence and Children: A Complete Guide for Parents and Professionals. Connecticut: Praeger.
Fergusson, C. J. (2014). Does Media Violence Predict Societal Violence? It Depends on What You Look at and When. Journal of Communication, 1-22. doi:10.1111/jcom.12129
Nevins, T. (2004). The Effects of Media Violence on Adolescent Health. Physician for Global Survival Program (Canada), Studentship Program. Retrieved August 23, 2016
Pantalon, M. V., & Motta, R. W. (1998). The effectiveness of anxiety management training in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: A preliminary report. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 29, 21-29.
Massachusetts General Hospital. (2012, December 26). Research Shows Violent Media Do Not Cause Violence. Retrieved August 23, 2016, from Massachusetts General Hospital
Strasburger, V. C., Jordan, A. B., & Donnerstein, E. (2010, April ). Health Effects of Media on Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics, 125(4), 756-768. doi:10.1542/peds 2009-2563