“the influence of media violence on youth”

Craig, Anderson, et al the influence of media violence on youth, psychological science in the public interest, 2003, Vol.4 (3) p. 81-110.

The article “the influence of media violence on youth” was published for the National Institute of Mental Health but due alterations effected by the surgeon general without prior knowledge of these authors; they opted to publish it on their own. They modified the report and updated several sections before publishing it in the psychological science in the public interest. The report was then availed to the public through the periodical’s site.

There are a total of eight authors who have served in different capacities in the department of psychology from their respective universities and colleges. The lead author, Craig Anderson has been awarded a Fellow status by the American Psychological Society and the American Psychological Association. The other authors have diverse knowledge on psychology and other related areas as they have written several publications on psychological issues. Present among them is the dean of the college of communication thus providing great assistance in the area of communication and its impact on the society. One can therefore say that the article was written from an expert’s point of view since a great deal of consideration was taken before the publication was made public. The fact that they felt the Surgeon General’s copy was mere representation and not an actual publication was clear indication that they took their time and would not provide anything less than the actual report.

The authors have taken a new method of looking at media violence and whether adverse effects are as a consequence of these games. They look at scientific methods within which they can either prove or disapprove the previous studies that have implicated media violence on causing aggression among the viewers. They also want to look for ways within which they can create mitigating measures for any adverse effects that may be perpetuated by these games or interactive media. They begin by classifying the different types of aggression that are possibly not well elaborated in the many researches that are carried out. Several federal agencies like the 2000 federal commission report; professional groups like the Eron, Gentry & Schlegel’s 1994 report for the American psychological association; and individual researchers like John Steinfield have all in one way or the dealt with the issue of media violence and its effect on the youth (p.82).

The purpose of these authors is to bring out the scientific conclusion on the effects of media violence on the youth by answering five critical questions (p.82). First, what does research say about the relationship of violence, aggression and the media? Secondly, the theoretical explanations on how media violence produces its effect on aggressive and violent behavior. Third, what moderator effects can be applied to reduce the influence of the characteristics that are most influential? Who are most susceptible to the characteristics? Fourthly, how accessible and widespread is violence media especially to the youth? Last but not least, how can the society counteract the effect of media violence on the individuals most susceptible? These questions provided a basis for their research and the basis for this report. They prepared this report to suite all types of audiences that may be interested in reading such a research. Whether professionals or not, the audience can readily understand what is being relayed by the authors. The research carried out by these authors is conclusively detailed to fit the audience that comes across these findings.

The most important aspect that is perpetuated by these authors is that there are several factors that should not be overlooked by other researchers who would like to venture in this area of psychology. They also serve to dispel allegations that media is the sole cause of aggression but reiterate that there are a number of factors that come to play when violence is looked at greater details. Violence is as a result of various effects that come from long term conditions placed on an individual. Other than media, other factors come alive when an individual becomes aggressive (p.84). The authors try to look at these other aspects and alienate the ones that are directly linked to the media and violent interactive media. They look at the meta-analysis of different researches that have been carried out over the last four decades and look for evidence that directly links media to aggressive behavior. The authors try to distinguish between inherent factors and external factors that lead to aggression and look for intervention measures that would otherwise be used for moderating these behaviors. Sparse reviews suggest counter-attitudinal and parental mediations as core interventions that could be used to reduce these characteristics. They cite reports that have been published earlier to show just how different researchers perceived violence depicted by the media (p.90). As a basis for their discussion, they look at the meaning of different aspects portrayed by other researchers on the area of violence and tend to delineate the media from being the major cause of violence. Though studies show that children who watch other children fighting in the media are less likely to call an adult when faced with a similar situation, the authors contemplate that an individual who takes violence as a means of settling quarrels will definitely accept violence as a solution.

The authors’ approach on this topic is very insightful they offer new directions on the way the media can be involved and how certain measures can be taken to drastically reduce the expected results. They look at a myriad of solutions that distinguish the major types of aggression and how they can be detected and solved. They term short term effects of violence as coming as a result of observational learning, imitation, arousal and excitation, and priming. This may be true but according to social cognition, these imitations could only occur if an individual has had a pressing issue that he sees solved particularly via violence. If there are any issues at home and an individual sees someone in the same situation solving it through murder, the individual will then take that as an option. If a male adolescent has in any way been harassed by a female and then sees a violent treatment of women in a movie, then there are higher chances of the individual being assaultive in the way they handle women (p.95). Long-term effects are seen as a result of observational learning, atomization of aggressive schematic processing and emotional habituation. So far, the authors agree with my point of view that the media is not the direct cause of violence and aggression but a recipe for an aggravated individual who has not found a way of dealing with their own problems.

My idea is that violent media does not lead to aggressive behavior and these authors have just proved that. They suggestive that violence will only be a result if the model used is attractive or similar to the viewer in that they can identify with the situations presented. Only associated stimuli cause resultant behavior which in this case is aggression. This, the authors cite, is critical especially when the society is involved. If the society condones violence, then the situations affecting the individual could be related to that environment and solved in such ways. They answer questions concerning the use of scientific research to quantify behavioral practices in a way that is easy to understand and digest information therein. They tackle the critical questions adequately and provide detailed information that is helpful for other researchers willing to carry out extensive research in this area. They also provide a basis for others who would like to use this information as their foundational argument. For the readers, they aid them in understanding the various ways in which they can assist individuals addicted to these games and different ways in which they can help reduce cases of aggression especially among the youth.

Works cited:

  1. Craig, Anderson, et al the influence of media violence on youth, psychological science in the public interest, 2003, Vol.4 (3) p. 81-110.


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