Media Violence Affecting Children Essay

1200 words - 5 pages

For many years people have argued weather or not media violence is to blame for aggressive behavior in children. Sadly, throughout the years, television has become our generation’s primary teacher. Many television programs don’t teach children how to deal with everyday life or teach moral values. Many children’s programs such as “Looney Toons” portray acts of violence that many people overlook. An example of this is when Elmer Fudd pulls out his gun to shoot “that pesky little rabbit” known as Buggs Bunny. Psychologist, Albert Bandura, conducted an experiment demonstrating that social media does in fact have an impact on children’s behavior. However, no experiment goes without a critic. One of Bandura’s most famous critics name is Patrick Cooke. Cooke argued that, "Children cannot distinguish between what is allegory and what isn't, and opinions formed at that age are difficult to change." He also stated that Bandura’s experiment did not observe long term behavior. Therefore, failing to prove that media violence is to blame for belligerent actions in children. With that being said, I agree with Bandura.
First, let’s take a look at the famous Bandura Experiment. Fifty years ago a Psychologist by the name of Albert Bandura conducted an experiment to prove his theory that children learn through their observations. Bandura used 72 children between the ages of three to five years old. He used one male and one female model as demonstrators. Bandura used twenty-four of the children to watch one of the models as they behaved aggressively towards the “bobo doll”. The adults attacked the doll with objects such as dart-gun and mallets and even went as far as kicking the doll or throwing it in the air. He then took twenty-four different children and let them observe the models acting non-violently towards the doll. The non-violent acts consisted of more verbal aggression, such as models yelling “Pow, Pow” or “punch it in the nose”. Lastly, he used the remaining twenty-four children as the controlled group and didn’t expose them to any model at all. Through this experiment Bandura found that the children that had been exposed to the aggressive models behaved more aggressively towards the “bobo doll” than those exposed to the non-aggressive models. A whopping 88% of the children imitated the same aggressive behaviors! He also discovered that the boys showed more physical acts of violence than the girls; however, they both showed about the same amount of verbal aggression.
Secondly, let’s talk about Bandura’s critics. Through my research, I came across a man by the name of Patrick Cooke. “Who is Patrick Cooke?” one may ask. Well, Mr. Cooke is most known for his article in the New York Times called, “TV the cause of violence? Says who?”. In this article Cooke argued that Bandura’s experiment did not observe long term behavior therefore, not proving that media violence was to blame for aggressive behavior in children. Cooke believed that people blamed...

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