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Cause And Effect Essay Causes Of School Violence

2268 words - 9 pages

 
The United States is facing an epidemic of seriously violent crimes in middle schools and high schools across the country. At least fifty people have died due to a series of high school shootings. These shooting rampages have occurred across the United States in 13 cities ranging from Pennsylvania to southern Mississippi and to western California. Just when the murder rampages seem to be subsiding, another tragedy occurs. Preventive measures have been taken by the government and school systems. For instance, in 1994, Congress passed the Drug-Free Schools and Community Act, which provides for support of drug and violence prevention programs. However, these programs have not been effective in taming the ferocious dispositions of the particular young kids who have participated in these shooting rampages. Therefore, parents, school officials, and the government are still left wondering what is the cause of the horrific violence and how can they solve the problem.

A widely accepted cause of the murders committed by children is violence in the media. The parents of three students killed at a high school in Padukah, Kentucky filed a $130 million lawsuit against the entertainment industry because they believe that violence in the media inspired the boy, Michael Carneal, who killed their children ("Media"). To some extent, these parents are correct in their assumption. On average, children watch television 16 to 17 hours per week, beginning as early as age 2 (Strasburger 129). Furthermore, when video games are added, some teenagers may spend as many as 35 to 55 hours per week in front of the television set (Straburger 129). Within these many hours of television viewing, there are many violent scenes. The National Television Violence Study examined nearly 10,000 hours of television programming throughout 3 years and found that 61% contains violence, with children's programming being the most violent (Strasburger 129).

As evidence has shown, children view many violent scenes while watching television, movies, or playing video games, but the question still remains: What psychological effect does violence in the media have on children? Research over the past 10 years has consistently shown that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between media violence and real-life aggression (Strasburger 129). Violence in the media can lead to aggressive behavior by children and teenagers who watch the various programs. Of course, not all children who watch television, or movies, or play video games develop aggressive behavior. However, there is a strong correlation between media violence and aggressive behavior. A study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, examined how children's television viewing practices are related to aggressive behaviors. The results revealed that children who reported watching greater amounts of television per day had higher levels of violent behavior than children who reported lesser...

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