What Is Media Violence?
- Reward for violence (e.g. money, glory etc.)
- Reality of violence (e.g. graphic portrayals of violence)
- Violent role models
- Justified violence
- Violent connections
Experts who track violence in television programming, such as the late George Gerbner, defined violence as the act of injuring or killing someone.
Media violence is the type of violence that is portrayed in media, whether it be video games, movies or TV shows.
Some might disagree that media violence and aggression are associated, since there is no close connection between them, while others might say some data support the conclusion that there is no relationship between the two at all. It has also been said that the mechanism is a psychological one. Some researchers argue that it is the physiological effects of media violence that cause aggressive behaviours.
Impacts of Media Violence
Media violence can cause children and adolescents to have physical and mental health problems which include aggressive and violent behaviour, bullying others, desensitisation to violence, fear, depression, and nightmares.
The more realistic violence is illustrated, the greater the watcher will learn. One study of nearly 32,000 teenagers in 8 different countries revealed that heavy television viewing is associated with bullying.
During their childhood, children tend to copy behaviour of their family, peeers, community and mass media by observation. This means that children's actions and behaviours will most likely be affected by their surroundings. They might misunderstand things and think that everything their parents/authority figures do are all correct.
Long exposure to violent actions might lead to certain natural emotional reactions, which include increased heart rates, perspiration and self-reports of discomfort often accompany exposure to blood and gore. When children are used to all these violent actions, they will become desensitised and might become violent themselves.
There are many more different factors excluding violent media as a risk factor for youth violence such as poverty, education, discrimination, and home life.
Some violent media content does not intend to be an enhancement of violence. But these are only a few of them. Many do intend for adults or older audiences to watch them- though this goes ignored by the children. Children aged around 12 cannot recognise the use of humour, irony, exaggeration or ridicule.
We have to remember that not all children are the same. One may be affected but not the other. Besides development issues, emotional maturity and the relationships between friends and family play a much more significant role in determining if anyone is at risk for violent behaviour.
Preventing Youth Violence From Media
- Reduce exposure to media violence
Choose suitable TV shows and videos to watch and books and magazines to read. Seek positive ones to watch instead of negative ones. Skipping ads would also help reduce exposure to media violence since some ads contain violent scenes to introduce the company's product. Furthermore, hen watching movies, check its ratings to see if they are suitable for the audience's age.
- Locate and explore alternatives to media that solve conflicts with violence
Look for TV shows and other media that provide positive role models to counteract the actions and attitudes of today's violent superheroes.
Researcher: Jasmine, Editor: Hailey Wong, Editing + Thumbnail + Text Transcription: Megan Kwok