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Does Violence in the Media Lead to Real-World Violence?

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Zachary Culver

on 27 October 2014

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Transcript of Does Violence in the Media Lead to Real-World Violence?

Many people believe that media violence does not affect violent behaviors in real life. For example, some claim that an individual who performs a violent behavior after playing a violent video game was already a violent person, the game did not affect him/her. However, research has shown that this is not the case. "Exposure to violent imagery does not preordain violence, but it is a risk factor." (Pozios, Kambam, and Bender 2013)
Does Violence in the Media Lead to Real-World Violence?
Pozios, V, Kambam P, Bender H. (2013, August 23). Does Media Violence
Lead to the Real Thing? Retrieved October 14, 2014.

Smith, M. (1993, December). Television Violence and Behavior:
A Research Summary. ERIC Digest. Retrieved October 14, 2014.

Committee on Public Education. (2001, November 1) Media Violence
Retrieved October 14, 2014. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/108/5/1222.full

Good, O. (2013, May 29). Teen's School Shooting Plan Included Call of
Duty's 'No Russian' Theme. Retrieved October 15, 2015. http://kotaku.com/teens-school-shooting-plan-included-call-of-dutys-no-510263384

Research has shown that violence in the media affects children the most. Children become less sympathetic to victims of violence, become more afraid of the world (mean world syndrome), and become more aggressive from exposure to violence in the media. This is because children are more prone to learn from what they observe. However, adults are also likely to learn from observation as are children. For example, our military uses video games to train soldiers to not fear killing other human beings. Video games create a positive reinforcement for the individuals that play them. They are not punished by the video game for engaging in violent acts, but instead rewarded.
Although violence in the media can have a negative effect on individuals, it can also have a positive effect. People can become more confident by soaking in the "power" that comes from violent media. "Through immersion in imaginary combat and identification with a violent protagonist, children engage the rage they've stifled, come to fear it less, and become more capable of utilizing it against life's challenges." (Jones, 2000)
Jones, G. (2000, June 28). Violent Media is Good for Kids. Retrieved October 16,
2014. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2000/06/violent-media-good-kids-0

Mittell, J. (2012, December 17). Media violence and debating effects & influences.
Retrieved October 17, 2014. http://justtv.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/media-violence-and-debating-effects-influences/

O'hehir, A. (2005, March 17). The myth of media violence. Retrieved October 18,
2014. http://www.salon.com/2005/03/18/media_271/
Many studies conclude that violence in the media does not affect violent behavior. One study found that “A history of teen delinquency, lower intelligence, and a history of school problems all predicted adult criminality,” and “Media use was not associated with either increased or decreased risk of adult criminality.” (Ferguson, 2013) It is difficult to directly study how media affects violent behaviors because it would be unethical to follow around individuals for a large portion of their lives and there are numerous factors that could affect violent behaviors in an individual besides the media. These factors include poverty/drug or alcohol abuse, access to weapons, and emotional or physical abuse.
If the media did have a significant impact on violent behaviors, "then Japan, whose media is as violent as or more than ours, would likely match or exceed America’s violent crime rates, rather than trailing the U.S. by a huge gap in nearly every category." (Mittell, 2012) If the media did have such a tremendous affect on violent behaviors, then individuals who play video games or watch violent movies and TV shows would be committing violent crimes every day. Two boys who recently committed murder, one 15 and the other 13, claimed that playing " Grand Theft Auto" influenced them. There can be many individuals like these boys who attempt to avoid legal punishment by blaming the media. According to some records, we live in the least violent era of human history.
Zach Culver, Pari Bhetwal, and Paul Erdman
Video games can also influence children and teenagers. For example, in Call of Duty there is a mission where the player is apart of an airport shooting. A teen was recently influenced by this mission in the game to attack his school. Parents sometimes ignore video game ratings and buy their children mature rated games. By the time we are 18 years of age, we have viewed almost 200,000 acts of violence on television alone. An even alarming trend is that these acts of violence are the most present in movies made for children. 100% of animated movies made for children from 1937 to 1999 contained violence.
Violent media greatly affects individuals that are?

Some studies are not reliable because?

Violent media can help you with what?

Children blame the media to escape what?

What percent of children's animated films contained violence from 1937 to 1999?

Roughly how many acts of violence have we witnessed by the time we are 18?

What is the mean world syndrome?

Have violent crimes increased or decreased in our era?

Why do you think politicians focus on the influence of media on violence rather than more severe problems?

What have you taken away from this presentation? Personal thoughts, connections etc. ?
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