Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Does Violence in Today’s Media Influence Aggressive Behavior Among Adolescence Essay

Chapter 1 Introduction Background and rationale There is increasing evidence that the programs aired on TV are responsible for the aggressive nature of children in their adolescent and early adulthood (Task Force on Television and Society. 1992). Cartoons and programs targeting children are more likely to have violent content than would an average soap opera or movie aimed at an adult audience. Violence aired on children’s shows is normally directed at the evil character or perpetrated by the ugly person who rarely gets punished. The victim of the violent act does not bleed or feel pain and as such the children believe that violence is acceptable as it does not cause any permanent damage. These misconceptions lead the children to adopt aggressive attitudes in a bid to imitate their TV stars. By reenacting scenes they watched, the children end up actually hurting one another and with time they internalize this behavior if they are not warned against it. This study is aimed at adding to the literature on the subject by investigating the influence of media violence on the aggressive nature of adolescents. By determining if a co-relationship exists between the exposure to media violence and the aggressive nature of adolescents in general, the research would have provided the basis for more research to be conducted into more detailed areas. The impact of TV violence on adolescents from different ethnic backgrounds, economic statuses and ages can be investigated to see if there are differences in overall results and if so why. This research will be deemed to have been successful it can come up with a general statement regarding the influence of media violence of the behavio r of children. Thesis Statement The researcher opines that, ‘media violence is responsible for the rise in adolescent aggressiveness in recent years.’ Statement of problem Parents, teachers, pediatricians and other stakeholders are increasing concerned at the trend of violent actions perpetrated by adolescents. The Columbine High School shooting shocked the nation into reassessing the triggers that make young people turn to extremely violent ways to deal with their problems. Video games and violent TV programs were singled out for mention as the possible contributors to the boys’ actions. In finding solutions to the problem of TV violence and its influence on adolescents, the stakeholders are keen to be better informed on the co-relationship between the two aspects so they can face the challenge more effectively. This research aims to fill the literature void and come up with realistic options that can be pursued. Chapter 2 Review of Literature In studies conducted by the American Psychological Association, it was found that the amount of violent TV watched had a corresponding effect on the level of violence exhibited by the viewer (Task Force on Television and Society, 1992.).The viewer becomes immune to the grim realities of violence and the consequences thereof that they begin to treat violence as an acceptable behavior. Cartoon figures rarely get hurt and violence meted on the characters appears funny as nobody bleeds even after being clobbered on the head with a hammer. The children attempt to play the same games they viewed on TV with painful results. Other programs glorify the use of armed weapons and killings such that the adolescents become desensitized and gradually accept violence as a mode of life and something to be emulated. Â  Unless the parents or caregivers can disabuse the children and get them to eschew violence, this view remains with them into adult life. Adolescents can be expected to act aggressively immediately after watching a violent movie (Comstock, 1980). The studies indicated that the individual is psyched up by the action viewed and needs little motivation to perpetrate violent actions against anything or anybody that will challenge their ego. Studies have indicated that children are more susceptible to media violence influences between the ages of 1-10. After that age the impact of media violence is tempered by the individual’s perception of life and a realistic view of things. By that time a child knows that being hit on the head with a hammer will cause a lot of pain and will not imitate everything they see on TV. However, adolescents can still be influenced to act violently especially if their hero succeeds through aggressive behavior (Lefkowitz, et al., 1977). Television programs have been scheduled such that the times those children are free to watch TV there is a lot of violence. Studies conducted found that between 8 and 9 am violence was screened at least 9 times while on Saturdays, the average number of violent scenes per hour peaked at 21(Greenberg et al., 1980). Yet another study established that parents have got to careful what they allow their children to watch as a lot of the programs being aired are violent or have adult themes that are unsuitable for adolescent viewing (Josephson, 1995). The findings further revealed that the viewing habits a child develops in their youth are carried on to adulthood. Thus, if they are used to violent movies, they will continue to prefer these over other programs and consequently internalize violent behavior as the accepted norm. In a bid to tackle the problem posed by media violence, specific measures must be taken by the caregivers to limit the exposure of the child to TV and to direct their energies to more productive pastimes. Where a child has developed aggressive behavior, it is crucial to counsel the child on the dangers of violence and encourage them to adopt a friendlier attitude towards people and life in general.

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