Critical Issue Analysis: Issue 15

Critical Issue Analysis: Issue 15 Does Exposure to Media Violence Promote Aggressive Behavior? Kevin Thomas PSYCH/515 1. What are at least two facts presented by each side of the critical issue? Yes: Glenn Ellis and Francis Sekyra (1972) and O. Ivar Lovaas (1961) found that children exposed to media violence behaved aggressively shortly after seeing violence. Yes: (Husemann, Moise-Titus, Podolski, and Eron 2003) found that watching violence, identification with same-sex aggressive characters, and a perception that television violence is realistic were related to adult aggression, regardless of how much aggression was exhibited as a child.

Yes: Most studies have shown that pro-social behavior decreases after children view an aggressive film. Yes: Children who watch violent television become suspicious and expect others to act violently an attributional bias that promotes aggressive behavior. No: The laboratory experiments produced inconsistent results, with more of them non-supportive than supportive. No: The number of studies on media violence has sometimes been overstated. 2. What are at least two opinions presented by each side of the critical issue?Yes: Exposure to media violence causes desensitization; viewers become less sensitive to the violence they see and thus become willing to tolerate a more violent society. Yes: Children are likely to imitate and admire the behavior of media heroes and learn that aggression is an acceptable solution to conflict. No: If children are learning anything from the media, it is that the forces of good will overcome evil assailants, who are the first to use violence.

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No: Real life violence has negative effects on children rather than fictional violence. 3. What are some of the strengths associated with the Pro side of the issue?What are some of the weaknesses? Strengths: The pro-side has a large body of evidence, which supports their argument that media violence does negatively affect children. Their evidence shows and supports the relationship between watching media violence and subsequent aggressive behavior for children, teens, and adults. Weaknesses: The Pro-Side does not clearly distinguish the effects of violence from effects of interest and excitement.

The research does not support their argument that exposure to media violence at a young age causes aggressive behavior later in life. 4. What are some of the strengths associated with the Con side of the issue?What are some of the weaknesses? Strengths: The Con-Side presented a good point when they mentioned the “heros” on television are violent BUT they are glorified. This statement is important because some individuals do not know how to differentiate “good violence” or self defense from bad violence such as abuse or bullying. Weaknesses: Freedman does not have any substantial evidence, which supports his argument. It seems as if Freedman was more strongly motivated to find flaws in the Pro-side rather than to prove his argument to be true and factual. Freedman also did not provide research on media violence’s effect on fear.

He claimed the research has not provided much support for it. 5. How credible were the authors of each argument? Explain your answer.

In my opinion, Signorielli is more credible than Freedman is. In addition to being a Research Administrator and conducting her own research, Signorelli is on the national level I am on the editorial board of several journals (Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Journal of Communication, Health Communication, and Communication Research Reports) and occasionally review manuscripts for other journals in the field. Jonathan Freedman has never conducted his own research on media violence.In my opinion Signorelli has more credible research and experience than Freedom. Freedman based his argument on close analysis of many published scientific studies of the effects of media violence on aggression or desensitization. The Motion Picture Association of America funded and supported Freedman’s research, but they may have supported him because they make money from violent films. Freedman is not credible because although his analysis of advertising techniques includes the acknowledgment that media can be “powerful,” he excuses ads because they have “a clear, unmistakable message. ” 6.

Based on the statements presented in this critical issue, which author do you agree with? Why? I agree with the statements on the pro-side that media affects viewers and cause them to foster aggression, become desensitized to violence, and become fearful. The Pro-side also stated that the evidence of the American Psychological Association (1985) to conclude that one factor in the development of aggressive behavior in children is a steady diet of real and/or mediated violence. I do believe that violence in the media is influential on a child’s behavior because children can be very impressionable.In my opinion Freedman loses the focus of the argument because he believes it is unnecessary for television stations to rate every televisions program/show for violence. He believes the research the television stations based the ratings on are flawed. 7. Which side of this critical issue does contemporary research support? Please provide specific examples in your response.

Contemporary research supports the Pro-side of this critical issue. The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes exposure to violence in media, including television, movies, music, and video games, as a significant risk to the health of children and adolescents.Extensive research evidence indicates that media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, nightmares, and fear of being harmed. Research also shows a large proportion of this media exposure includes acts of violence that are witnessed or “virtually perpetrated” (in the form of video games) by young people. It has been estimated that by age 18, the average young person will have viewed 200 000 acts of violence on television alone.The Con-side does not believe in scientific research and it includes a review of the literature dating back over 50 years. In my opinion, society, the environment, and media have changed dramatically over the past 50 years so that information may be out dated and irrelevant.

References: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kids and Media at the New Millennium: A Kaiser Family Foundation Report. Menlo Park, CA: The Henry J.

Kaiser Family Foundation; 1999 Roberts DF Media and youth: access, exposure, and privatization. J Adolesc Health 2000; 27:8-14



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