Television Violence and Aggressive Behavior

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Running Head: TELEVISION VIOLENCE CAUSES AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR IN CHILDREN TELEVISION VIOLENCE CAUSES AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR IN CHILDREN Research Paper Paul Laporte (W0227581) Developmental Psychology I GDEV 1020 Instructor Constance Huyer December 16, 2011 Table of Contents Introduction…………………………………………………………………………. Page 3 Literature Review…………………………………………………………………… Page 3 Discussion……………………………………………………………………….. …. Page 3 Cognitive Behavior Results………………………………………………………………………… Page 4 Commercial Violence……………………………………………………………..

Page 5 Concerns…………………………………………………………………………. Page 6 Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………… Page 7 References…………………………………………………………………………… Page 9 Introduction The purpose of this research paper is to discuss television violence and if it causes aggressive behavior in children. I believe unmonitored television viewing and aggressive violence has an impact directly and indirectly on children. There are also two sides to the effects it can produce. A literature review was conducted using Nova Net with background information obtained from articles, journals, and our textbook.

Literature Review Oldenburg’s (1992) Washington Post reported evidence from more than 3,000 research studies over two decades indicated a link to violence portrayed on television influenced attitudes and behavior of children. “According to an American Psychological Association task force report on television and American society, by the time the average child leaves elementary school, he or she will have witnessed at least 8,000 murders and more than 100,000 other assorted acts of violence on television” (Huston, et al. 1992). Huesmann (1986) proposed that there is a sensitive period between ages 8 and 12 during which children are particularly susceptible to the influence of television violence. Most Canadian children average more than six hours daily in front of a screen (Active Healthy Kids Canada, 2010) with only 10% of Canadian children meeting the recommended guideline of only two hours or less of screen time per day. Discussion Cognitive Behavior Results Characteristics of Viewers

Based on a critical literature review (Clapp, 1988) (Frazier, Bates, Dodge, & Petit, 1998) (Singer & Singer, 1986) (Huesmann, 1986) (Huesmann, Lagerspetz, & Eron, 1984) (Comstock and Paik, 1987, 1991) (Crump, C. A. , September 1995) the following characteristics of viewers have been shown to affect the influence of television violence on behavior: • Age – Children as young as three years old have shown a relationship between aggression and television violence.

However, children in middle childhood have a much more consistent and substantial relationship at earlier ages. The amount of violence watched in middle childhood is related to aggression in early adulthood. A longitudal study showed violence on television watched in early adulthood had no relationship with future ages. • Amount of television watched – Frenetic and hectic programming creating a high level of arousal in children can stimulate aggressive behavior, even though it is not the violence on television but the total amount being viewed.

As a result of repeated exposure to media violence, people may perceive violence as an effective means of solving personal or social problems, and accept violence as a way of life. • Identification with television personalities – It shows if children can identify with a character on television then that violent behavior will be modeled. Television violence-induced aggression tends to be directed most strongly against those persons associated in the viewer’s mind with the victim of the observed violence. • Belief that television violence is realistic – That hildren may not always be able to separate the violence happening on television is not realistic. • Intellectual achievement – Children of lower intellectual achievement generally watch more television, watch more violent television, believe violent television reflects real life, and behave more aggressively. Brighter children are less prone to naive imitation of television material and adopt a more discriminating approach. • Viewers who are in a state of anger or provocation before seeing a violent portrayal are more likely to display aggressive behavior.

Commercial Violence According to Comstock & Paik (1987, 1991) violence portrayed could heighten the likelihood of television influence such as a victim with the same name or characteristics as someone the viewer strongly dislikes. Since the year 2000 a law was passed making it mandatory for every television manufactured to have a v-chip installed. This chip enables the parent to monitor or block any programming they don’t deem appropriate for their child’s viewing. However, during these programs there are commercials, and these commercials are not prone to the ratings.

The media world advertisers take advantage of this gap. Based on theories of developmental psychology Lewis & Shimanovsky (2006) discussed the debates on how children lack the cognitive ability to distinguish commercial messages from other media content, and are seen as especially impressionable. Lewis & Shimanovsky (2006) report studies have suggested advertisers compete with regular programming for the attention of the audience, so they place all the stimulus and exciting scenes at once so the child doesn’t have time to process but is captivated.

With no ratings or guidelines on commercials this leaves it wide open for advertisers to cash in on a child market. Standards and guidelines for commercials mean advertisers have to follow rules on what is allowed to be aired. It is the v-chip that cannot filter out which commercials are suitable for a certain age. This makes it difficult for a parent to act as a buffer against television violence (Lewis & Shimanovsky, 2006). Lewis & Shimanovsky et. al in 2003 stated a total of 118 acts of violence in seven minutes of commercial time equated to 16. 88 violent acts each commercial minute Concerns

Children may become desensitized to violence and not respond to help someone who is in trouble. Not only does exposure to television violence stimulate antisocial behavior in children, it also seems to block prosocial or altruistic behavior. Children could swing the pendulum in two directions, become aggressive with their social interactions and problem solving, or start living their life in fear; worried that violence is everywhere and begin a secluded life. Singer & Singer (1986) stated one of the factors included in aggression from television violence is the level of intellectual achievement.

They have shown children of lower achievement watch more violent television. On the contrary, heavy unmonitored television viewing during young childhood is associated with lower scores on achievement tests, including basic skills such as math, reading, and writing (Borzekowski & Robinson, 2005). Therefore, it seems to be a contiguous relationship between recommended television viewing, preference in programming shows, and aggression in behavior. Linebarger & Wainwright (2006) state there are also positive educational effects for teaching children social values.

If a child is properly monitored while viewing quality educational programs rather than entertainment type programs they were less aggressive and had higher grades (Linebarger & Wainwright, 2006). Parents do have recommended ways of enabling their child has a more assured and versed experience in molding their children’s patterns and behaviors. Groups such as the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA), the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have issued guidelines for parents concerned about what their children see on television (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2005).

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (2005), they recommend children be limited to no more than one or two hours of television a day and those parents watch television with their children, and should not be allowed to watch television just before bedtime. By watching television with their children they can discuss any violent acts, explain violent stunts are faked, and encourage watching non-violent shows. With proper supervision, parents can limit the amount of violence their children are exposed to, and help children put television violence into its proper context.

Conclusion It seems clear television is a commodity in our lives that will not be going away. It is a double edged sword which can both enhance our children with assistance to their development, but can also cut open numbed aggressive behavior. With children becoming acclimatized to these false realities, a fearful state may distort sensory perceptions. Daly & Perez (2009) stated in their discussion of media violence a child’s brain becomes distorted when interpreting threatening social cues, unable to self regulate their negative and aggressive behavior in play.

With mass media being delivered and accessible in so many forms it is more important than ever for parents to engage and partake in the child’s influential years during television viewing. My two daughters are the same age group but have different outlooks. One has a passion for reading and enjoys watching science shows while my other daughter is interested in viewing nature shows and wants to be a vet. Each child is different but each child watches the same programs.

Without standards and explanations for differences between television and reality, there is a relationship with television violence causing aggressive behavior in children, and/or becoming scared and fearful of the world surrounding them. Lewis & Shimanovsky (2006) used the Social Learning Theory where human behaviors are learned by observations of role models which can be either real or fictional. For how a child can be influenced by what they view on television. A critical literature review supports unmonitored television viewing and aggressive violence and has an impact directly and indirectly on children. References

Active Healthy Kids Canada (2010). Healthy habits start earlier than you think-report card on physical activity for children and youth. Active Healthy Kids Canada. Toronto, Ont. Retrieved Nov 14, 2011 from www. activehealthykids. ca/ReportCard. aspx. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) (2005). Understanding the Impact of Media on Children and Teens. Elk Grove Village, IL:AAP. Retrieved Nov 14, 2011 from http://www. aap. org/family/mediaimpact. htm. Borzekowski, D. G. L. , & Robinson, T. N. (2005). The remote, the mouse and the No. 2 pencil: The household media environment and academic achievement among third grade students.

Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 159(7), 607-613. Retrieved Friday November 18, 2011 from the ERIC database. Boyd, D. , Johnson, P. , and Bee, H. (2009). Lifespan development – Fourth Canadian Edition. Toronto, Ont: Pearson Canada Inc. Clapp, G. (1998). Child study research: Current perspectives and applications. Lexington, MA: Lexington. Retrieved Friday November 18, 2011 from the ERIC database. Comstock, G. & Paik, H. (1987). Television and children: A review of recent research. Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources. (ED 292 466).

Retrieved Friday November 18, 2011 from the ERIC database. Comstock, G. & Paik, H (1991). Television and the American child. San Diego, CA: Academic. Retrieved Friday November 18, 2011 from the ERIC database. Crump, C. A. (September 1995). Television violence and behavior: the effects of television on children. Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the Texas Speech Communication Association, Houston, TX. Daly, L. A. & Perez, L. M. (2009). Exposure to media violence and other correlates of aggressive behavior in preschool children. Early Childhood Research and Practise, 11(2), 1-13. Frazier, S. L. , Bates, J. E. Dodge, K. A. & Pettit, G. S. (1998). The effects of television violence and early harsh discipline on children’s social cognitions and peer-directed aggression. ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, V75(N1)p2-11. Huesmann, L. R. (1986). Psychological processes promoting the relation between exposure to media violence and aggressive behavior by the viewer. Journal of Social Sciences, 42 (3), 125-139. Huesmann, L. R. , Lagerspetz, K. , & Eron, L. D. (1984). Intervening variables in the TV violence-aggression relation: Evidence from two countries. Developmental psychology, 20(5), 746-777. EJ 308 850) Retrieved Friday November 18, 2011 from the ERIC database. Huston, A. C. , Donnerstein, E. , Fairchild, H. , Fashbach, N. D. , Katz, P. A. , Murray, J. P. , Rubenstein, E. A. , Wilcox, B. L. , Zuckerman, D (1992). Big world, small screen: the role of television in american society. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska. Linebarger, D. L. , & Wainwright, D. K. (2006). Television can teach: Elements of effective educational television. Philadelphia, PA: Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved Friday December 2, 2011 from Lifespan Development, Fourth Canadian Edition.

Lewis, B. J. & Shimanovsky, M. (2006, Oct). Influences exerted on the child viewer when exposed to violent imagery in television and print advertising. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 29(1-2)p41-52. Oldenburg, D. (1992, April 7). Primal screen-kids: TV violence and real-life behavior. The Washington Post, ppE5 Oldenburg, D (1992, April 7). Primal screen-kids: TV violence and real-life behavior. The Washington Post, ppE5. Singer, J. L. & Singer,D. G. (1986). Family experiences and television viewing as predictors of children’s imagination, restlessness, and aggression. Journal of Social Issues, 42(3), p107-124.

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