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Media Violence And Its Effect On Children

1393 words - 6 pages

There is a strong agreement among American society that violence in the country is on the rise. It is easy to see why this is a strong argument among the American people, especially because of the rising popularity of violent video games and television programs. However, as these violent video games and television shows are creating their own place in our society, the reports of violence among children are escalating. This correlation has been studied extensively in the scientific community in an attempt to discover whether media violence does negatively impact children but there has yet to be a consensus. There is a split between those that believe that children are becoming more violent because they are exposed to violent media and those that believe that correlation is not causation, who argue that media violence does not have any notable effect the youth.
Media violence has been a popular excuse for the rising crime rates ever since the Vietnam War. During this time in America, there was a tremendous increase in the amount of violent crimes being committed (“United States Crime Rates”) Scared parents and war protestors blamed this increase in violence on the great media coverage that the Vietnam War was receiving, which portrayed bloody battles and dying soldiers (Jones 40). The public went so far in their belief that media violence was detrimental to children that they managed to ban all violent cartoons from television during the 1970s, as well as eradicate any violent toys, such as plastic army soldiers.
As these people were fighting to hide any trace of violence from their children, scientific studies were being conducted on the subject. One of the most famous studies conducted during this time was Albert Bandura’s Bobo doll experiment. In this study, children observed adults playing a Bobo doll. Some adults acted aggressively toward the doll while other adults did not display any aggression toward the doll. Later, each child was left alone with the doll. The children that watched the aggressive interaction acted aggressively toward the doll while the children that observed the normal interactions with doll did not act aggressively. With these results, Bandura argued that children imitated behavior they witness, and that if they observed violent behavior in the media, they were likely to copy this behavior and act violently themselves (Bandura 575).
Many experiments followed Bandura’s footsteps, attempting to prove that there was a link between media violence and violence among the youth. These studies are still being conducted today, as there has yet to be a scientific consensus on the issue. However, despite there being evidence toward the contrary, many organizations have stated their position on the issue: they are against media violence because it causes violent behavior in children. One such organization is the National Association for the Education of Young Children (“Media Violence in Children’s Lives "). Influential...

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