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Effect of Media Violence on Adolescents Age 12-16

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 2911 words Published: 2nd Apr 2018

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  • Chris Thornton

Source 1:

“Violent Video Games and Movies Causing Violent Behaviour Research Finding and Tips for Parents. Published on December 22, 2012 by Eugene Beresin, M.D., M.A. in Inside Out, Outside In. ONLINE available at: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inside-out-outside-in/201212/violent-video-games-and-movies-causing-violent-behavior


This article, published in “inside out” provides relevant information. The evidence given in this article is contradictory as it explains how “the Virginia tech shooter” Seung-Hui Cho, did not involve himself in violent media and reportedly even avoided it while his friends would partake. However, “the Columbine High School shooters” Dylan Harris and Eric Klebold reportedly played violent video games often and were frequently exposed to other violent media such as movies. The NRA (National Rifle Association) has accused the media of being the cause of such rampages; they say that the violence in media these days is having negative effects on adolescents and making them do such actions. There have been extensive studies in to whether violent media affects children; some studies show that watching an aggressive movie passively can cause a person to behave in a way that isolates them from society or causes them to have addictive personalities. The research that has been done has not led to a direct link between violent media and violent adolescents. The USA has the highest homicide rate in the world, but japan is one of the biggest gaming communities but have a very low homicide rate close to zero. It states that the cause of these high homicide rates is not because of violent media, it is the cause of easily accessible firearms and low restrictions on the use of them. The FBI stated that, after investigating the columbine murders and others like it, they found no link between media violence and the shootings. After laws about not being able to sell 18+ rated games were not passed, it was concluded by courts that they are not able to pass a judgement due to the little knowledge of the relationship between media violence and the mental disposition of adolescents. It was also said that as well as having it’s disadvantages, media violence also has mental advantages such as hand-eye co-ordination, research has proven that these advantages are prevalent in adolescents who partake in violent games. Poems such as “Homer’s Odyssey” which is highly known for its cultural value, but it is also very violent, this shows how media can be violent in many different ways, this is frequently taught to adolescents as a usual poem. It has been debated whether or not it actually allows children to cope better with violence in the real world. Even if violent media is not the sole cause of the violent events, it is still a good idea to keep an eye on the exposure to such media.

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Other media such as television and radio news informing the community about violent incidents such as rape and murder could also be a contributing factor towards the violence in adolescents if there is such violence caused. In studies where a large group of 7th and 8th grade students were reviewed, it was found that about two thirds of the boys were involved in violent video games while only one quarter of the girls were involved in violent video games; it was found that the reason for this was usually to relieve stress and to escape from reality as well as to interact with peers over the network. It was found that a small percentage of the adolescents who were involved in violent media also displayed violent behaviour, but this was not due to violent media, it is suggested that the media is but a coping mechanism for the violent behaviour and not a cause. However, there were no direct relationships found between aggression and violent media in the group of school children between 13 and 14, it was but small correlations. Violence in movies and in the television seemed to have a higher correlation with sexuality, it would be more prevalent to a young boy if there was any evidence of sexual acts.


This source is highly valuable as it gives a lot of evidence towards how violent media effects adolescents, its general age at which the research is targeted is within the adolescent age at which I am researching.


The source, although good, is limited as it gives contradictory evidence and does not come to any stable conclusions.

Source 2:

http://www.nssc1.org/role-of-movies-in-school-violence.html [ONLINE] website dedicated to school related violence”.


Previous violent school related events such as the columbine shootings and the Virginia Tech murders have showed how school is not always a safe place for children and adolescents to be at. There is fear within the parental body of whether it is safe to even let their children leave the home. Aside from causes such as stress and general school anxiety, violent movies are a large cause of the violence within schools. Movies these days are showing very graphic scenes of murder and are teaching children to become less sensitive to the seriousness of the crime. At the age at which the child learns the most, a child will definitely learn to be more violent through these aggressive movies. Children can be taught very easily and do not know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Violent movies could be the cause for which a child could be incarcerated later in life. The government should be made to limit the amount of violent movies towards the children by passing acts. Children should be completely discouraged by their parents and teachers to not watch violent movies and should rather be encouraged to watch more educational films or even to read rather.


This source is relatively valuable as it is written by teachers who have had first-hand experience with children and know the mental state of the children. However, stable conclusions are made.


This source is very bias and does not show any evidence of extensive research into the question.

Source 3:

“Research published by Virginia Tech in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, done by James B. Weaver III and Dolf Zillmann and written by Sally Harris.”


This study shows that prolonged exposure to violent media can result in violence. A study was done at a university among both male and female students in which some students were given non-violent films and others were given extremely violent films over a period of a few days, after 5 days the students were told that the experiment was complete but to earn extra credit they were to participate in another experiment which was in fact the 2nd part to the first experiment. The 2nd experiment involved the students being tested by an examiner to determine what personality traits they had, the examiner would purposefully provoke the students by saying they did not have the correct social skills needed for the task. The students were then made to say whether the examiner deserved financial assistance or not, it was found that a much larger percent of the students who had watched violent films behaved in a more aggressive manner; denying the examiner financial assistance even if they were not provoked while the other group would behave less aggressive, both groups did act aggressively when indeed provoked. It was also found that the escalation of violence in a person would occur whether male or female. The effects of the violent movies were also over prolonged periods. Overall it was found that the violent films caused both genders to act in a more hostile manner even if not provoked due to the extra work load, it was speculated that the stress of the work activated hostile images seen in the movies.

A second study was aimed at a larger target, the target was 200 students. The same scenario as experiment one occurred but the students were all made to watch 4 types of movies, ranging in violence. When the first stage was complete, they were made to participate in the second part which involved conflict resolution. The men who were consider to be socially out casted were shown to have a more hostile reaction to conflict resolution, the male students who had watched the violent movies all had a more hostile disposition to the social situation. Women were found to be less hostile in their solutions whether they had watched the violent movies or not.

This study was conducted to show the more subtle differences in how people who are subjected to violent media react. It was aimed at how people would react in social situations or if they used harsh language or not, or how hostile they were in their communications with one another. People are more willing to say things that would have been simply too inappropriate a few years ago, and violent media is indeed a contributing factor to the hostility.


This source is very valuable as it contains a lot of evidence that is not contradictory and is conclusive. It shows a defining feature of the effect of media violence.


The study was conducted in 1999, which was more than 10 years ago, this makes the source outdated for the time. The study was also conducted with a more mature test group and not adolescents.

Source 4:

“Journal Issue: Children and Electronic Media Volume 18 Number 1 spring 2008 Authors: Soledad Liliana Escobar-Chaves and Craig A. Anderson.”


Violence is something that the human race is not new to. But it has been increasing in magnitude due to the greater access to weapons and firearms. Youth homicides and shootings are very common, these homicides and violent acts are generally thought to be caused by poverty and violence within the community. It is hard to determine if any of the poverty stricken adolescents view any violent media.

Research into media violence has been studied for many years. The amount of families and households that own a television set has increased drastically since the 1950’s, in this modern day it is proven that 99% of households have a television set and can be exposed to such media violence. It has been proven that adolescents watch up to 28 hours of TV in a week. An adolescent will be exposed to over 200000 various acts of violence such as mainly murders and killings.

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Researchers suggest that children at the age of 4 are most effected by violent media. At that age they do not know the difference between fantasy and real life which causes them to commit violent acts. It has been seen that children at that age re-enact violent acts with their peers during play. The hero in movies is romanticized and causes children and adolescents to idolize him or her. The Hero in the movie often carries around automatic weapons which the youth will see as something that is appropriate and will make them just as good as the hero. Adolescents can also become desensitized to violent acts by watching them on TV, it becomes a natural occurrence to them.


This source is very valuable as it provides statistics and shows how the violence causes psychological changes within the adolescent mind.


A lot of the information provided is aimed at children and not adolescents.

Source 5:

“The Psychological Effects of Violent Media on Children

Aimee Tompkins

December 14, 2003”


Media in general will have an effect on the children in some way. Parents say it is good to limit the amount of media children are exposed to and should be watched for what they view. 60% of media on the television in these modern times are violent or commit violent acts. Violence is a very popular type of entertainment. Adolescents can react to violent media by re-enacting the scenes seen on the television. It is know that violent media can cause a lack in remorse and lack of consequence when acting. Violent video games are also very much a cause of the violence within the community. It has been found that there has been an increase from 3% to 15% of people who will be violent after having viewed violent content. It has been advised that parents limit the amount of time children and adolescents spend playing video games as well as question if the content within the video came is appropriate for that age as it causes these violent reactions. Contributing factors to the amount of hours spent viewing violent content as well as being involved in violent video games would be the lack of work given to a younger children, parents not encouraging outdoor play and children not being taught how to entertain themselves in other ways.

As well as the media violence, parents and other adults that communicate with the youth can have a large effect by being impulsively violent, the child will mimic these actions as that adult would be their role model.

In a contradictory study it was actually found that watching violent media does in fact not increase the amount of violence the child acts out, and with violent video games it has been found that the child actually commits a smaller amount of violent acts than children who do not involve themselves with video games that are violent, this is caused by the youth being able to act out their violent urges in their fantasy world rather than in real life. Besides that study it has been said that violent media does not effects adolescents in the long term but only in very short term, after a few days of not being exposed to violent media, the acts of impulsive violence deteriorate within the subject.

Not one study has come up with conclusive evidence to either support or deny the fact that media violence has an effect on adolescents and can therefore not be blamed for the violent acts committed by them.


This source is highly valuable as it provides many different researches in one writing, it also show the contradictory evidence that till now in my research only supported the negative effects of media violence.


The research is not conclusive and is contradictory, giving no clear justification for either arguments.

Source 6:

Caroline Knorr Find out how media violence impacts kids, and get tips on choosing quality, age-appropriate media. [ONLINE]



Media violence does in fact have an effect on adolescents. This violence can be found in many forms of media including books, video games, TV and many other sources. Violence in the media is very common and cannot be avoided easily, this is due to the increase in technology, making it more easily accessible to children and adolescents.

Research in to the effect of media violence has been inconclusive and incomplete, all that is has shown is that a high percentage of media contains violence and depicts graphic actions by the characters and subjects. It has however been shown that children and adolescents are constantly exposed to these forms of media, more time is spent viewing media than what is spent at school or with their families.

It cannot be shown that media violence is a large contributor to violence within children and adolescents although it can be said that it is a small contributing factor out of a much larger variety of violent actions within the world such as conflict within an adolescent’s household.

It is the responsibility of the parent or adult in charge of the child to limit the amount of viewing of media they are subjected to as well as deciding whether or not the content within the media of choice is appropriate for the child or adolescent.


This source is not very valuable as it is not long enough nor does it give any evidence towards whether or not media violence effects adolescents.


This source provides no clear evidence and cannot be used for further study.


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