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Final Project
Violence in Media
Submitted for the project work undertaken in the partial
fulfillment of B.A.L.L.B (Hons.) 5 years integrated course of Dr.
Ram Manohar Lohiya NLU, Lucknow.

Shalini Dwivedi

ROLL NO:-121

1. Introduction..................................................................................................................................3
2. Media Effects Theories................................................................................................................3
3. The Impact of Media Violence on Children and Adolescents...................................................5
4. How to Deal with Media Violence.............................................................................................8
5. Violent media and real-world behavior.....................................................................................10
6. Reviews question some research findings.................................................................................11
7. Media effects are perceptual......................................................................................................12
8. Conclusion.................................................................................................................................13
9. Biliography................................................................................................................................14

The study of violence in mass media analyzes the degree of correlation between themes of
violence in media sources (particularly violence in video games, television and movies) with






Many social

scientists support


correlation. However, some scholars argue that media research has methodological problems and
that findings are exaggerated.
Complaints about the possible deleterious effects of mass media appear throughout history;
even Plato was concerned about the effects of plays on youth. Various media/genres,
including dime novels, comic books, jazz, rock and roll, role playing/computer games, television,
movies, internet (by computer or cell phone) and many others have attracted speculation that
consumers of such media may become more aggressive, rebellious or immoral. This has led
some scholars to conclude statements made by some researchers merely fit into a cycle of mediabased moral panics. The advent of television prompted research into the effects of this new
medium in the 1960s. Much of this research has been guided by social learning theory developed
by Albert Bandura. Social learning theory suggests that one way in which human beings learn is
by the process of modeling.

Media effects theories

Social Learning Theory
Media effects theories in modern times originated with Bandura's social learning theory, which
suggests that children may learn aggression from viewing others. Modeling of behavior was
observed in Bandura's Bobo Doll experiments. Bandura presented children with an Aggressive

Model: The model played with harmless tinker toys for a minute or so but then progressed onto
the Bobo doll, the model lay the Bobo doll down and was violent towards it; punched its nose,
hit it with a mallet, tossed it in the air, and kicked it. In addition, verbal comments were made in
relation. They then put the children in a room with a Bobo doll to see if he/she would imitate the
behavior previously seen on the video.
The findings of this experiment suggest that children tended to model the behavior they
witnessed in the video. This has been often taken to imply that children may imitate aggressive
behaviors witnessed in media. However, Bandura's experiments have been criticized on several
grounds. First, it is difficult to generalize from aggression toward a bo-bo doll (which is intended
to be hit) to person-on-person violence. Secondly, it may be possible that the children were
motivated simply to please the experimenter rather than to be aggressive. In other words, the
children may have viewed the videos as instructions, rather than incentives to feel more
aggressive. Third, in a latter study (1965) Bandura included a condition in which the adult model
was punished for hitting the bo-bo doll by himself being physically punished. Specifically the
adult was pushed down in the video by the experimenter and hit with a newspaper while being
berated. This actual person-on-person violence actually decreased aggressive acts in the children,
probably due to vicarious reinforcement. Nonetheless these last results indicate that even young
children don't automatically imitate aggression, but rather consider the context of aggression.
Given that some scholars estimate that children's viewing of violence in media is quite common,
concerns about media often follow social learning theoretical approaches.
Social Cognitive Theory
Social cognitive theories build upon social learning theory, but suggest that aggression may be
activated by learning and priming aggressive scripts. Desensitization and arousal/excitation are
also included in latter social cognitive theories. The concept of desensitization has particularly
gotten much interest from the scholarly community and general public. It is theorized that with
repeated exposure to media violence, a psychological saturation or emotional adjustment takes
place such that initial levels of anxiety and disgust diminish or weaken. For example in one
recent study, a sample of college students were assigned at random to play either a violent or
non-violent video game for 20 minutes. They were then asked to watch a 10 minute video of real

life violence. The students who had played the violent video games were observed to be
significantly less affected by a simulated aggressive act than those who didn't play the violent
video games. However the degree to which the simulation was "believable" to the participants, or
to which the participants may have responded to "demand characteristics" is unclear.
Nonetheless, social cognitive theory was arguably the most dominant paradigm of media
violence effects for many years, although it has come under recent criticism. Recent scholarship
has suggested that social cognitive theories of aggression are outdated and should be retired.
Catalyst Model
One alternative theory is the Catalyst Model which has been proposed to explain the etiology of
violence. The Catalyst Model is a new theory and has not been tested extensively. According to
the Catalyst Model, violence arises from a combination of genetic and early social influences
(family and peers in particular). According to this model, media violence is explicitly considered
a weak causal influence. Specific violent acts are "catalyzed" by stressful environment
circumstances, with less stress required to catalyze violence in individuals with greater violence
predisposition. A challenge for this theory will be to demonstrate how the exposure to violent
media sources cannot be considered a significant early social influence although some early
work has supported this view.
Moral Panic Theory
A final theory relevant to this area is the moral panic. Elucidated largely by David Gauntlett, this
theory postulates that concerns about new media are historical and cyclical. In this view, a
society forms a predetermined negative belief about a new medium typically not used by the
elder and more powerful members of the society. Research studies and positions taken by
scholars and politicians tend to confirm the pre-existing belief, rather than dispassionately
observe and evaluate the issue. Ultimately the panic dies out after several years or decades, but
ultimately resurfaces when yet another new medium is introduced.

The Impact of Media Violence on Children and Adolescents

While violence is not new to the human race, it is an increasing problem in modern society. With

greater access to firearms and explosives, the scope and efficiency of violent behavior has had
serious consequences. We need only look at the recent school shootings and the escalating rate of
youth homicides among urban adolescents to appreciate the extent of this ominous trend. While
the causes of youth violence are multifactorial and include such variables as poverty, family
psychopathology, child abuse, exposure to domestic and community violence, substance abuse
and other psychiatric disorders, the research literature is quite compelling that children's
exposure to media violence plays an important role in the etiology of violent behavior. While it is
difficult to determine which children who have experienced televised violence are at greatest
risk, there appears to be a strong correlation between media violence and aggressive behavior
within vulnerable "at risk" segments of youth. In this article, I will briefly review the impact of
media violence on children and adolescents, and indicate the vital role physicians can play in









Over the past 30 years there has been extensive research on the relationship between televised
violence and violent behavior among youth. Longitudinal, cross-sectional, and experimental
studies have all confirmed this correlation. Televised violence and the presence of television in
American households have increased steadily over the years. In 1950, only 10% of American
homes had a television. Today 99% of homes have televisions. In fact, more families have
televisions than telephones. Over half of all children have a television set in their bedrooms. This
gives a greater opportunity for children to view programs without parental supervision. Studies
reveal that children watch approximately 28 hours of television a week, more time than they
spend in school. The typical American child will view more than 200,000 acts of violence,
including more than 16,000 murders before age 18. Television programs display 812 violent acts
per hour; children's programming, particularly cartoons, displays up to 20 violent acts hourly.
How does televised violence result in aggressive behavior? Some researchers have demonstrated
that very young children will imitate aggressive acts on TV in their play with peers. Before age
4, children are unable to distinguish between fact and fantasy and may view violence as an
ordinary occurrence. In general, violence on television and in movies often conveys a model of
conflict resolution. It is efficient, frequent, and inconsequential. Heroes are violent, and, as such,
are rewarded for their behavior. They become role models for youth. It is "cool" to carry an

automatic weapon and use it to knock off the "bad guys." The typical scenario of using violence
for a righteous cause may translate in daily life into a justification for using violence to retaliate
against perceived victimizers. Hence, vulnerable youth who have been victimized may be
tempted to use violent means to solve problems. Unfortunately, there are few, if any, models of
nonviolent conflict resolution in the media. Additionally, children who watch televised violence
are desensitized to it. They may come to see violence as a fact of life and, over time, lose their










There are other, new forms of violence to which children and adolescents are exposed. In one
recent study, it was demonstrated that 15% of music videos contain interpersonal violence. Still
another new source of violent exposure is access to the Internet and video games. There is little
data on the incidence of violence on the Internet; however, there is concern about sites that may
advocate violence, provide information on the creation of explosive devices, or reveal how to
acquire firearms. There is also little research on the impact of violent video games. We do know,
however, that they are extensive and have a role-modeling capacity. The fact that the child gets to
act out the violence, rather than to be a passive observer, as when viewing television or movies,





Child and adolescent psychiatrists, pediatricians and other physicians can have a major impact on
the effects of media violence. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has created a list of
recommendations to address television violence. It suggests that physicians talk openly with
parents about the nature and extent of viewing patterns in their homes. Parents should limit
television to 1-2 hours daily and watch programs with their children, enabling them to address
any objectionable material seen. Physicians should make parents and schools "media literate,"
meaning they should understand the risks of exposure to violence and teach children how to
interpret what they see on television and in the movies, including the intent and content of
commercials. In doing so, children may be increasingly able to discern which media messages
are suitable. Schools and homes should teach children conflict resolution. The American
Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, along with medical organizations, has been a
strong advocate for television ratings and installation of chips to block certain programs.
Physicians, in their role as health promoters, should become more active in educating the media

to become more sensitive to the impact of violence on youth. We should be speaking up to the
networks, cable vendors, local stations, federal agencies, and our political officials to help insure
that programming decisions are made with an eye open to the potential consequences to the
viewing audience, and that when violence is present, there are adequate warnings provided to the
public. The arena of media violence is a new frontier where physicians can promote health
through public education and advocacy.

How to Deal with Media Violence

Violence literally everywhere: in video games, movies, books, music videos, and cartoons, on the
nightly news and the Web, and even in commercials. And it's becoming harder to avoid. Today,
with the explosion of technology and 24/7 media access, the question more than ever is, what's
the impact, especially on our kids?
The short answer is: We don't know. Although experts agree that no single factor can cause a
nonviolent person to act aggressively, heavy exposure to violent media can be a risk factor for
violent behavior. Children who are exposed to multiple risk factors -- including aggression and
conflict at home -- are the most likely to behave aggressively.
Heavy exposure to violent media can lead to desensitization, too. And it may actually start with
parents. A study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania found
that parents who watched a lot of movies were more likely to say it was OK for younger kids to
watch movies that had R-rated violence and sexual content.
The good news is that, as parents, we can make a choice to consistently expose our kids to media
that reflects our own personal values and say "no" to the stuff that doesn't. The number one
influence on kids' media consumption is how their parents think and act regarding media. There
are so many benefits to media and technology, including the potential to teach valuable skills.
Doing research about TV shows, movies, or games before your kids watch, play, and interact
with them will go a long way in helping them avoid iffy stuff.
So how can you as a parent manage media violence in your kids' lives?

Tips for parents of all kids

Explain consequences. What parent hasn't heard "but there's no blood" as an excuse for

watching a movie or playing a video game? Explain the true consequences of violence, and point
out how unrealistic it is for people to get away with violent behavior.

Keep an eye on the clock. Don't let kids spend too long with virtual violence. The more

time they spend immersed in violent content, the greater its impact and influence.

Teach conflict resolution. Most kids know that hitting someone on the head isn't the way

to solve a disagreement, but verbal cruelty also is violence. Teach kids how to use their words
responsibly to stand up for themselves -- and others -- without throwing a punch.

Know your kids' media. Check out ratings, and, when there are none, find out about

content. For example, content in a 1992 R-rated movie is now acceptable for a PG-13. Streaming
online videos aren't rated and can showcase very brutal stuff.

Keep an eye on interactive media violence. There's no way to accurately measure

whether there's more or less violence than in the past, but the pervasiveness of it in interactive
forms, such as social media, online videos, and video games, is relatively new.
Advice by age

Two- to 4-year-old kids often see cartoon violence. But keep them away from anything

that shows physical aggression as a means of conflict resolution, because they'll imitate what
they see.

For 5- to 7-year-olds, cartoon rough-and-tumble, slapstick, and fantasy violence are OK,

but violence that could result in death or serious injury is too scary.

Eight- to 10-year-olds can handle action-hero sword fighting or gunplay so long as there's

no gore.

For 11- to 12-year-olds, historical action -- battles, fantasy clashes, and duels -- is OK.

But closeups of gore or graphic violence (alone or combined with sexual situations or racial
stereotypes) aren't recommended.

Kids age 13 to 17 can and will see shoot-'em-ups, blow-'em-ups, high-tech violence,

accidents with disfigurement or death, anger, and gang fighting. Point out that the violence
portrayed hurts and causes suffering, and limit the time they're exposed to violence, especially in
video games.

Most M-rated games aren't right for kids under 17. The kid down the street may have the

latest cop-killer game, but that doesn't mean it's good for him. The ultra-violent behavior, often
combined with sexual images, affects developing brains. Just because your child's friend is
allowed to play violent games or watch violent movies doesn't mean they're OK for your child.

Violent media and real-world behavior: Historical data and recent trends:The relationship between violent media and real-world violence has been the subject of extensive
debate and considerable academic research, yet the core question is far from answered. Do
violent games and movies encourage more violence, less, or is there no effect? Complicating
matters is what seems like a simultaneous rise in onscreen mayhem and the number of bloody
events in our streets according to a 2014 report from the FBI, between 2007 and 2013 there
were an average of 16.4 active-shooter incidents in the U.S. every year, more than 150% higher
than the annual rate between 2000 and 2006.
But as has long been observed, any correlation is not necessarily causation. While Adam Lanza
and James Holmes respectively, the perpetrators of the Newtown and Aurora mass
shootings both played violent video games, so do millions of law-abiding Americans. A 2014
study in Psychology of Popular Media Culture found no evidence of an association between
violent crime and video game sales and the release dates of popular violent video games.
Unexpectedly, many of the results were suggestive of a decrease in violent crime in response to
violent video games, write the researchers, based at Villanova and Rutgers. A 2015 study from
the University of Toledo showed that playing violent video games could desensitize children and


youth to violence, but didnt establish a definitive connection with real-world behavior, positive
or negative.
A 2014 study in Journal of Communication, Does Media Violence Predict Societal Violence? It
Depends on What You Look at and When, builds on prior research to look closer at media
portrayals of violence and rates of violent behavior. The research, by Christopher J. Ferguson of
Stetson University, had two parts: The first measured the frequency and graphicness of violence
in movies between 1920 and 2005 and compared it to homicide rates, median household income,
policing, population density, youth population and GDP over the same period. The second part
looked at the correlation between the consumption of violent video games and youth behavior
from 1996 to 2011.

Reviews question some research findings

Numerous studies claim a causal connection between media violence and real-world aggression,
but comprehensive reviews of those studies question their findings. The reviews, published
in 2004, 2008, and 2012 in the journals Aggression and Violent Behavior and American
Behavioral Scientist, identify numerous problems in decades of media-violence research.
Much research, for example, fails to distinguish between violent media content and energetic or
high-action media content, and fails to provide an operational definition of aggression. So while
studies show children may imitate adventuresome narratives in "Zorro" or silly behavior in "The
Three Stooges," they do not show the imitation was accompanied by violent intent, and thus
likely to be repeated in non-play situations, or that the imitation was because of violent content.
Most research on media violence, in addition, demonstrates correlation rather than causation:
Aggressive children do watch more violent television, but they are as likely to watch the violent
content because of their aggressive traits as they are to behave aggressively because they watch
violent programs. This problem is especially pronounced in the 2004 and 2008 reviews, but even
the 2012 authors note a failure to control for intervening factors like violent parents and
depression, and bemoan that little effort appears to be made to employ more careful research


designs, particularly when well-controlled multivariate designs with well-validated outcome

measures appear to produce different outcomes than less-controlled studies.
The reviews of media violence research express similar conclusions. From 2004: There is little
evidence in favor of focusing on media violence as a means of remedying our violent crime
problem. From 2008: We really do not know what long-term clinical psychological effect, if
any, media violence has had on this society. And most pronounced, from 2012: In decades of
media violence research, where thousands of children and young adults have been shown violent
programming and, more recently, asked to play violent video games, we have seen no direct
evidence that even one truly violent act has been caused by television violence exposure, either
alone or in part.

Media effects are perceptual

Does this mean we should be unconcerned about the influences of television and video games?
No. But we should reconsider how we think about those influences. George Gerbner was a media
scholar most known for his studies of television violence. As Ive noted elsewhere, his
conclusions indicate not that watching television makes people more violent, but that it makes
them more likely to think the world is a dangerous place. Media effects are not so much
behavioral as they are perceptual: They provide us with the meanings by which we view the
Those who watch lots of violent media content, for example, when compared to those who do
not, tend to believe their neighborhoods are more unsafe, that they are more likely to be victims
of violence, and that crime rates in general are increasing. They are more likely to favor stricter
laws and harsher sentences, and to buy new locks, watchdogs, and guns to protect themselves.
The result might be a more violent world, but its not because viewers simply imitate the
violence they see on television or in video games.
We should continue to study connections between media content and aggressive actions. But we
should also examine how television and video games might have effects other than to provoke
criminal aggression. We should be more concerned about how the media convince us that we live


in a scary world, and thus encourage us to behave and to make decisions based on a pervasive
sense of fear.

Much debate remains regarding the impact of media violence on aggressive and violent behavior.
At present, the evidence for short-term increases in minor aggression remains inconclusive and a
subject of continued debate. However, at present, the weight of evidence does not support a link
between media violence and acts of serious aggression or violent crime. Persistent focus on this
debate may potentially risk loss of attention to more pressing social causes of crime including
poverty, family violence, social inequality, and the drug trade