Violence in the Media and its Effect on Adolescents
From the beginning up to the late ninetieth century, the only type of mass media was literature. One of the notable changes around the twentieth and twentieth-first centuries has been the saturation of people daily lives by the mass media. In that environment, television, movies, videos, cell phones even computer have assumed central roles in people’s daily lives.
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According to Ana Homayoun, teens spend around nine hours on social media every day.
Nowadays, it is not just the fact of people having a lousy friend who is likely to be exposed to bad things when they go out together. The development of electronic media have made much harder to protect people from the threats and have revealed many of them to risks that few people might have already been through.
As time has passed, and a new generation of parenting has come to the forefront, today’s children are becoming more learned in foul language and behaviors at a younger age. Through these messages, the mass media might have a strong influence on individual behavior, values, and views, as well as in shaping national character and culture.
People may have different things in their mind when they think of media violence. Similarly, with the public, there can be little consensus on what constitutes a violent media and violent behavior. Which impacts does the mass media have on people’s beliefs, practices or life?
Children readily embrace the behavior of the characters, which they see as heroic, courageous, and useful. In order to have any sustenance at all, it was first necessary to find out whether or not adolescents took what was seen on television, played on video games, or heard in music and applied such to everyday life situations.
In my journey through The New York Times, I first came across “Does Media Violence Lead to the Real Thing?” written by VASILIS K. POZIOS, PRAVEEN R. KAMBAM and H. ERIC BENDER and publisher on August 23, 2013. This article, from The New York Times, described several studied and experiences on teenagers about the effect of violent media. They did approximately 459 studies related to the relation between the media violence and actual behavior (H. Eric Bender, Praveen R. Kambam and Vasilis K. Pozios, paragraphs 5 and 7).
Many of their researches confirm the link between the immense viewing of television violence and negative behavioral implications. In scenes of violence, this point of view clarifies how the scene affects the viewer, and whether he or she relates to and shares the experience with the attacker or with the victim.
If the viewer shares the experience of the victim, he or she, in turn, feel helpless, afraid, powerless, less valuable, and may experience rage because of the attack. Meanwhile, consumers who associate themselves with the attacker, share the felt experience of power, control, domination, and respect (Hyman, 1974, p. 534).
The amount of violence influential is not the only one, but the context and relationships portrayed through scenes of violence may have severe effects on the viewers. Many psychologists have studied the impact of the media on an individual’s beliefs and behaviors on the world. There have been many studies which confirm the link that violence portrayed through the media can influence the level of audacity in the behavioral patterns of children and adults (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2001).
The authors show that it is hard to measure the effects of the media on adolescents. They agree that the media is a potent vehicle of attitudes, knowledge, beliefs, norms, social, and occupational roles, values, and beliefs. It is with these that someone learns “the distinctive patterns that fit an individual into the particular place and subgroup in which he lives” (Hyman, 1974, p. 529).
Now that it has been thoroughly sorted through, one of many, studies that showed positive results for children, It should be necessary to find out if adolescents spent a significant amount of time viewing, and or playing with violent or listening to crude media. These questions can lead to “Exposure of US Adolescents to Extremely Violent Movies”, an article written by authors Keilah A. Worth, Jennifer Gibson Chambers, Daniel H. Nassau, Balvinder K. Rakhra, and James D. Sargent from American Academy of Pediatrics, in the journal, PEDIATRICS.
That article was published on August 1, 2008. In this study, 6,522 US adolescents were interviewed on whether or not the most famous scary movies had been seen. It was awe-struck to find that the most popular R rated movie, Scary Movie, had been seen by 48% of America’s youth. The majority of the teenagers who have a higher percentage of watching the violent film are black teenagers.
Authors cite many researchers and studies that have proof of violent media hurting the mentality and morality of youngsters. According to the article, the principal problem lies in the fact that parents are not educated or do not have any idea about the fact that violent media can be harmful to children. Parents let their children with significant exposure to any violence by having a television in children’s bedrooms.
Violence on television, no matter if it is in programming or commercial TV, is shown as a way to resolve problems, gain control and to get one’s desires fulfilled. Furthermore, programming with violent content and displays of aggressiveness has been shown to incite higher levels of arousal than non-violent programs. If the intense action is positively rewarded or portrayed as heroic, more violent behavior is subsequently displayed. The solution which has been given is to have Pediatricians be more informative to parents.
After looking at a couple of articles on how mass media negatively affected children, it should be fair to give mass media a chance by searching for research on the positive effects of press on youth. This being a less researched area because it was a little more difficult to find articles relating to the topic. However, “Uncommonly Good: Exploring How Mass Media May Be a Positive Influence on Young Women’s Sexual Health and Development” from New Directions For Children and Adolescent Development.
Although this article is primarily written for an audience that was strictly looking at female adolescent behaviors, the information is readily applicable to both genders. There are many benefits from mass media listed, such as sharing information on sexual health issues, the provision of many different types of role models so that any child can relate, and different ways that media provides outlets for self-expression.
The information found in this article is interesting, but helpful as previous sources, mainly because the information given in this article seemed to be more speculative and less researched. The report from New Directions For Children and Adolescent Development, though less useful, spun me on to another idea, are there good role models in current pop media? Resulting from this question I found Celebrity Role Models, from the website www.commonsensemedia.org/celevrity-role-models.
Described is the fact that children will have celebrity role models; it is merely up to the parents to make sure that the celebrity is a good role model. Even what some would call a wrong role model can produce sound. For instance when a star gets into trouble make sure the child sees the consequences of the action and make an example out of the celebrity.
Concluding from my research thus far, it is safe to assert that children mimic the behaviors that they witness from media sources like video games, television, and music. Also, multiple studies prove that it is a collective action for young adolescents to participate in interaction with inappropriate media for the age group. Although a few beneficial factors were stemming from pop media, the negative factors were far out-numbering.
Before our final project, there are particular subject matters I want but yet have not addressed. There could be a continuing discussion as to whether violence in the media is responsible for the violent behavior in children and society, or whether it is a scapegoat to describe the violent society in which we live. Namely, whether or not young parenting also affects the morality of children of this generation.