The rise and proliferation of media in modern society presents a problem to troubled parents: does violent media affect the growth of children? This question has been examined by numerous researchers and psychologists, either lauding or accusing the media, especially violent media, for the effect that it has on people. Some, like Gerard Jones, author of numerous comic books, say that violent media is empowering, that box office smash hits like The Avengers tell the tale of kid-friendly superheroes that defeat the “bad guys” and save the day. Others, such as Dr. David Moore, a professional psychologist, condemn violent media, labeling it as the cause of multiple tragedies, such as the ubiquitous school shootings. Morals are an issue at the forefront of society, but how does violent media affect the ability of children to learn?
To examine the effect on learning, one must first examine how violent media affects the physical growth, specifically body weight and eyesight, and the social skills of children. Taking into account the amount of time a child spends consuming this violent media, a cumulative average of twenty eight hours a week (American Academy of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry 1), the typical child spends more than a day every week exposed to violent media in the forms of the television, the Internet, video games, and the movie industry. These hours could very well be used in a more productive manner, such as exercising, which has benefits of its own. In 1980, the percentage of obese children (six to eleven years) in the American School System was 7%. In 2010, that percentage increased to 18%. Likewise, 5% of adolescents (twelve to nineteen years old) were obese in 1980 as compared to the 18% of adolescents in 2010 (Nihiser 1). The amount of time staring at a screen can also lead to poor eyesight, may prevent a child from seeing the blackboard in his or her classroom (Vision Council of America 1).
Social skills can also be stunted by the constant exposure to violent media. Violent media is generally associated with aggressive behavior, which can cause violence against others as well as reluctance to associate with peers. Media violence can also cause increased feelings of hostility, and desensitize the emotional response to real-life violence (Tompkins 1). Video gaming is an activity where one is usually isolated, and if there is interaction involved, it is aggressive or competitive in nature. The Internet is a place for those whose opinions, radical or otherwise, can be stated with anonymity or impunity. The more time spent on media, the easier it becomes to allow this behavior to show in the real world (American Academy of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry 2).
Most importantly, however, violent media presents the issue of inhibiting the ability of a child to think. Should people think that violent media actually helps children in providing a way to exercise memory or recognize patterns, in the case of video games? Would...