• Is Media Violence Harmful? Science Says YES!

    by  • February 4, 2014 • Misrated, Ratings Reform, Studies, Violence • 19 Comments

    mv_behavior(1st in a Series about Media Violence)

    It’s common sense that what people see on television influences their thoughts, decisions, and behavior. If it didn’t, why would advertisers spend $74 BILLION advertising their goods and services during 2012? Each and every one of those 74,000,000,000 dollars was spent with the intention and expectation of changing the behavior of the viewer. Why would advertisers buy, and television show, commercials at all, if what people watch doesn’t influence their decisions on what to buy? And every parent who has resisted pleas for toys or sugary breakfast cereal KNOWS that TV influences young children!

    But does media violence influence and promote violent behavior? Science says “yes.”

    Last year, Brad Bushman, professor of psychology at Ohio State University, testified before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science that “people who consume a lot violent media come to view the world as a hostile place, where violence is ‘normal’ behavior. When people expect others to behave aggressively, they are more likely to behave aggressively themselves. Aggressive youth often consume violent media because it allows them to justify their own behavior as being normal.”

    And Bushman isn’t alone. The International Society for Research on Aggression is an organization comprising a world-wide body of scientists  dedicated to the study of aggression and violence. In its 2012 report, the ISRA’s Media Violence Commission found that “the effects of violent content are learning effects in the brain…Media characters are attractive role models, especially if their violent actions on the screen are presented as justified and socially acceptable. If the violent content is rewarded and seen as “fun,” then aggression concepts will be classically conditioned with positive feelings. These will likely result in changes to attitudes and beliefs about aggression, such as seeing aggression as a more acceptable response to provocations.”

    Dale Kunkel, a professor of communications at the University of Arizona and a member of the American Psychological Association, testified  before the before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in 2007 that “there is an elaborate, solid foundation of evidence regarding the cumulative effects of televised violence on children…As exposure accrues over time, year in and year out, a child who is a heavy viewer of media violence is significantly more likely to behave aggressively. Findings from the scientific community make clear that television violence is a troubling problem for our society.”

    Douglas Gentile, professor of psychology at Iowa State University, has done numerous studies on the effects of media violence on children. In an article in Pediatrics, Gentile summarized the views of pediatricians – the doctors most familiar with and concerned about child health and development: “Pediatricians almost universally believe that children’s media use negatively affects children in many different areas, including children’s aggressive behavior, eating habits, physical activity levels, risk for obesity, high-risk behaviors, and school performance…Over a thousand studies have established a connection between media violence and aggressive behavior among children. A recent study documented that the negative effects of TV viewing are not restricted to the short term for children and adolescents but increases in violent behavior persist even into adulthood.”

    Media Violence on Aggression ComparisonPediatricians and psychologists agree that “research on violent television and films, video games, and music reveals unequivocal evidence that media violence increases the likelihood of aggressive and violent behavior.”  And it should be noted that the primary dissenting view from the research community comes from a psychology professor – an outlier – who personally produces grotesquely and graphically violent media; and yet Hollywood points to him as “proof” that there is some scientific uncertainty on the media violence issue.

    In fact, so obvious is the correlation between media violence and real-life violence that in the year 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Psychiatric Association issued a joint statement declaring that “reports from the Surgeon General’s office, the National Institute of Mental Health, and numerous studies conducted by leading figures within our medical and public health organizations point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children.The conclusion of the public health community, based on over 30 years of research, is that viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values and behavior, particularly in children.

    Enough said! The science is settled. Media violence DOES influence media consumers – especially children.

    None of this is news. All the way back in 1972, the U.S. Surgeon General warned that “the causal relationship between televised violence and antisocial behavior is sufficient to warrant appropriate and immediate remedial action.” However — unlike the ban on cigarette advertising on TV, which happened around the same time – no such action protecting children from television violence was forthcoming.

    And the problem has only gotten worse.

    Despite horrific events like the shootings in Columbine, Aurora, and Newtown, the entertainment industry continues to pump more and more graphic violence into every living room in America…as we shall see in our next report.




    19 Responses to Is Media Violence Harmful? Science Says YES!

    1. Spike3
      October 6, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      “Mr. Iger and other industry leaders cannot claim their content does not have real-life impact when their very economic existence is based on advertising — the sole purpose of which is to change the behavior of each viewer,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

      But…but…Rob Reiner said that Hollywood’s contribution to crime and moral decay is minimal, “Maybe perhaps even non-existent.”

      “Directors will be fighting over this story,” Columbine killer Dylan Klebold declared, prior to the slaughter.

      Reiner went on to add that the real culprits are assault weapons and handguns. Reiner remains a Meathead.

    2. Shawn Sanborn
      November 12, 2015 at 11:04 am

      While I am a teenager myself, some people might discredit my opinion of the matter. However, I neither agree or disagree. The facts are there but with a higher percentage of kids observing this media you are more apt to discover aggressive behavior. I would also like to argue that there is a huge bias in the matter. Once again I would like to bring up the fact that I’m a teenager, however video games are a way to express these feelings as almost an outlet to direct my agression. Observing this violence is entirely a different story. With no outlet and the influence of media through nothing more than observation teens tend to find their own ways to release their demons. There are two sides to every story and I just thought that my generation deserved it’s own voice in the matter. Chao!!

    3. Kelsey Howard
      October 4, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      Overall, violence in the media does negatively affect behavior in children and adolescents. While changes in behavior may not be immediately noticed, research has shown that children who are exposed to violent media tend to become more aggressive as they get older. In addition, studies show that children with harsh family lives and problems with self-control also become more prone to violent behavior when it is displayed in the media. This has become more evident when children watch shows in which the person committing the violent act does not get reprimanded for their wrongdoing. When the children see that there is no punishment for the violence, their brains do not realize that the actions are still wrong. Parents can prevent this by monitoring what their children are exposed to and by explaining the fact that violence is not the answer to life’s problems.

    4. Lacey LeBlanc
      April 29, 2015 at 2:36 am

      Yes, Media Violence is a direct link to violent behavior within individuals today. The violent media ( video games and television) actually promote this type of behavior. This is a growing problem in our society. As technology continues to grow, our children are exposed to these violent media types. Parents are recommended to monitor what their children are being exposed to.

    5. March 3, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      Children tend to imitate the things they see done by other people in real life and on television shows and video games. If children see violence on television shows and video games, then there is a high chance that they there will be a change in their behavior. Parents should monitor the shows that they allow their children to watch and the games they play. As soon as parents see a change in their children’s behaviors, they should identify it and help the realize right from wrong.

    6. melissa
      February 26, 2014 at 8:30 am

      Back to the parents – We have to censure what our kids are exposed to – say no -turn off the TV – get them outside and play – be involved, proactive, engaged. YES, it is work but it is PARENTING!

    7. Jon-Bob Joey
      February 7, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      violence in video games movies and tv is a disgrace children would start thinking nudity swearing and other things are okay they will two start thinking homo behaviours are ok two they mieight even think god is a lie we are a christian nation with christian values we have to keep our kids from seeing the real world or they will go insane every channel should be changed to channels abut gawd and the babile kids would became athiest if we don’t and go violent

    8. Carmen
      February 7, 2014 at 11:23 am

      I agree wholeheartedly with Jackie above. The family values are under attack. How can parents teach their children how to handle their anger if they see anger handled as violence in movies & on TV?

    9. Patricia
      February 6, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      As a parent who has met and had discussions with many other parents, I have a theory that a large portion of us (especially fathers of sons) desire for their own children to be aggressive. We have a fear that our own children will be victimized more if they are less aggressive, so telling us that media causes aggression does not translate to media will harm our child. Many parents want aggressive children.

    10. Menorah
      February 6, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Lots of families try not to watch TV anymore. The old time they use to show programs that teach people good things, but unfortunately not anymore. The shows on TV which they say it is suitable for kids are R rated. There is no respect between people anymore. They teach people how to lie, how to run away, how to kill and other horrible things. Please do something about it. By showing these violence, movies, games, you are just building a huge population of confused, sick,
      emotionally destroyed people, specially children.

    11. Laurie Vangellow
      February 5, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      Children are like sponges. They absorb everything they are exposed to. That makes them good learners. Therefore, they need to be exposed to things that are beneficial for them to learn. Especially children in lower income areas where crime and violence are happening on their streets. They are taking the violence in with the TV, movies, video games and music. They then go out on their streets and see it there. They become desensitized to it and think it is normal. PLEASE STOP THE VIOLENCE IN TV, MOVIES, VIDEO GAMES AND MUSIC. This is not how our society is supposed to be.

    12. Marion
      February 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      Absolutely! The media sets the tone of the nation. To fill the airwaves 24/7 they must use the daily police blotter to seek and report all the crimes that happened that day or night. Their argument is “the public’s right to know” Crime is not news, it is a sin against God. We are to blame. We, who are discerning and mature enough, need to teach our younger generation right from wrong and to act accordingly, to respect life. . We’ve reached a point where taking a life is an everyday occurrence. How sad. Not only the news, but the TV shows as well. We are appealing to our base instincts, let’s rise above it.

    13. James healey
      February 5, 2014 at 11:01 am

      The TV and movie media is out of control in promoting violence, and video games are worst!! An example is “the Following” which shows an evil serial killer and his cult continually outsmarting law enforcement! Also, “The walking Dead”, with over-the-top gratuitous violence!!

    14. John Clark
      February 5, 2014 at 7:01 am

      I know that Violence seen on TV causes bad behavior on people. It teaches kids ect. To have no respect or caring for their fellow man or woman! MTV is one of the biggest venues of programming that air this Crap! I don’t know where adults minds are at to allow their kids to watch what they are allowed to view on a daily basis. There are other channels that Violence can he viewed as well so I cent blame mtv for all of it! We as parents have to take the responsibility of what our children are allowed to view, so it is up to us to straighten this mess out!

    15. Tricia
      February 5, 2014 at 6:57 am

      “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” Romans 8:5 – “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” Romans 8:7 – “As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.” Job 4:8 — I know people want to prove things with their own studies and knowledge, but as shown above God has from the beginning warned of what we desire, the flesh, and what we sow. Our minds when filled with good will produce good things, our minds when filled with evil and fleshy things will produce evil things. It is good that these studies are being done to prove to others who are not open to God’s word and His teachings, but it all seems so simple to me. Also, it seems that people are so open to the understanding that when we eat bad things it will cause bad results to our health. Why can’t we understand that when we feed our minds bad things it also will produce bad results?

      • DJ
        February 8, 2014 at 7:16 pm

        Well said.

      • chris
        February 26, 2014 at 6:01 am

        Rev 19:10 says “the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophesy.” I believe this is exemplified when Peter announced “thou art the Christ the Son of the living God” in Mt 16:16. True prophesy from the Spirit of God (unlike most prophesy today that comes from the minds of men) are the tracks along which the train of the church that Jesus is building rides. Likewise, today’s world-wide media empire (movies, TV, radio, newspapers, books, newsletters, magazines, internet – everything that influences our thinking) is also prophetical, but from the spirit of antichrist which feeds the flesh and resists the Spirit. Jesus left us a great prophetical prayer to pray and in it we prophesy “thy kingdom come, thy will be done ON EARTH, as it is in heaven.” God has spoken the prayer into our hearts, we speak it into existence. His kingdom must come to earth – how? Through a people, a prepared people (Rev 19:7.) Don’t see it? Don’t understand what I’m talking about? You must “seek” more to discover the plan God has and how you are to be a part of it.

    16. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez
      February 4, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      I believe disrespect, rudeness, nudity, vulgarity, etc. is also harmful to children who watch any TV.

    17. Florence
      February 4, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      Yes violence has got much worse since We raised our kids back in the 60s than now when I am raising. my 12 year old great grandson. The TV is very limited and no programs with violence is allowed and I thank God he is very agreeable and cooperative.

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