Does the Media Influence Violent Behavior?
The media consist of television, movies, newspapers, radio, internet, and video games just to name a few. The media influence on violent behavior has been a debate for many years and not just violent behavior but all behaviors. There has been research after research to study violence and sexual actions from the media and the effects they have on people and especially children. On July 26, 2000, four health organizations at a health summit stated, “at this time, well over 1,000 studies point overwhelming to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some students.” (Congressional Public Health Summit, 2000).
Children are not always capable of making the difference from fiction and reality. Young children will often imitate what they see even at a very early age. For example, a toddler will see a parent talking on the phone, and they in turn will mimic that parent with a make believe or toy phone. Older children will imitate actions they have seen others do when confronted with a conflict.
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman’s book, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society identifies three conditioning factors to which our children are exposed: classical conditioning, operant (behavior) conditioning, and social learning. “Children view many acts of violence and brutality as a part of entertainment, they learn to associate violence with entertainment, this is the classical conditioning.” (Grossman, 2009) Children learn behavior associated with violence, they see the person using violence such as kicking, hitting, and even killing which reinforces the behavior with entertainment and this is the behavior conditioning. The social learning stems from what they see in the media, in the older days the hero was a law-abiding person always doing what was right; but now the hero handles the situation with violence regardless of the consequences and the child imitates...