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How Television Media Violence Influences Deviant Behavior, Specifically Criminal Behavior Essay

People watch television as way of relaxing. While there are many educational and entertaining programs on television, there is a lot of negativity in the form of sex and violence. Television programs are not without some king of violence. Since most people spend the bulk of their inactive time relaxing in front of the television, the following hypothesis may be formulated. If people spend most of their time watching television, which is full of subtle and obvious violence, is it then not possible that the programming will influence deviant criminal behavior in them?

Accordingly, it is important to analyze the ways in which media violence may influence deviant criminal behavior. In this case, the two variables in this study are television media violence and deviant criminal behavior. Thus, deviant criminal behavior is the dependent (result) variable and television media violence as the independent (causal) variable. Deviant behavior According to Bryant, deviant behavior is easily explained in the context of an individual violating social norms (rules) just because they wish to fulfill/attain some personal goal.

Hence, deviant behavior may include violence, aggression and hostility. For instance, a child may eat the last piece of cake that was reserved for later because he wants to eat the cake. Therefore, a superseding self-gratifying consideration would seem to be implicated in deviant behavior (1989). However, as Bryant goes on to point out, deviancy is by no means a simple issue. This is because, most if not all people are at some point in life faced with the opportunity to perform acts of deviancy. The question then is why is that some people are lured to contravening social norms more than others (1989)?

Media violence. According to the Center for Media Literacy, there is no one clear and concise definition of media violence. This is because the individuals who are considered experts in the media violence realm measure television violence very differently (2007). Nevertheless, media violence may be defined as the various types of violence shown/displayed in such media as television. Accordingly, when individuals watch television they are exposed to the violence. Watching violence on television increases antisocial (deviant) behavior such as aggressiveness, hostility and even violence towards others.

Sometimes these behaviors take on a criminal nature. Various studies have been conducted. In one study, the researchers set up an investigation involving college student with different personality and behavior types. The students had to watch both non violent and what was termed as gratuitously violent programs/films over a period of four days. The aim of the researchers was to find out if regular, consistent exposure to violence would result in violence in the individuals. After the study, the students were placed in stressful situation where they responded in a hostile manner.

Continued exposure to the violence may lead the individuals to become more hostile and aggressive and even to engage in such criminal behaviors as robbery with violence, a criminal behavior with serious consequences. In the event of disagreements, they may also act aggressively towards others causing harm to them. Thus, the study helped to show that television media violence does indeed influence deviant behavior. Media violence especially when prolonged and consistent resulted in hostility and aggression in the students of both sexes even when there was no provocation.

It also led to involvement and participation in other behaviors that are also criminal (Harris, N. d. ). In the second study, using the same test subjects, researchers analyzed how media violence affected their reaction to things that did not concern them personally. Again, the students were exposed to program content with various degrees of violence over a period of four days. Afterwards, the students were presented with conflict scenarios and asked how they would respond. The conflicts ranged from children fighting to the more serious domestic violence.

Accordingly, the students who considered themselves as egotistic were found to accept violence as a way of solving conflicts (Harris, N. d. ). It would then be correct to state that these college students would grow up with the mentality that violence and aggressiveness is a normal part of life. As adults they may take it upon themselves to use violence to get their way. It would be not surprising if the same students were to then use violence to settle their domestic squabbles. They may engage domestic violence, a truly deviant and criminal behavior.

In another cross-sectional study, some 2300 high school students were asked to list their favorite television programs and also provide a checklist of activities that ranged from fighting to serious delinquent behaviors. The programs were then analyzed for their violent content. Researchers found that the students whose favorite programs were violent also tended to exhibit violence. Hence, their checklists also reported aggressive and delinquent behaviors. It would then be correct to state these children frequently the violent television programs.

Otherwise, how else the deviant behavior could be explained (TV Violence, 2003). It was then probable that these children would copy what they may have watched on television for some particular purposes. Maybe, use violence and aggressiveness to rob others and use the loot to buy drugs. In Summary The three studies above had one primal purpose. To determine how media violence affects deviant behavior. From the studies, it is clear that increased exposure to television media violence also leads to increased deviant behavior.

To most people, aggressiveness and hostility are examples of deviant behaviors. In the three studies after exposure to television media violence the subjects were either openly hostile or aggressive. This is would be correct to conclude that indeed television media violence does influence deviant behavior in that individuals after exposure to television media violence engage more in behaviors that could be considered as deviant behavior. References. Bryant, C. (1989). Deviant behavior: Readings in the sociology of norm violations.

London: Taylor & Francis. Defining media violence: It’s not so easy! (2007). Center for Media Literacy. Retrieved 17 April 2009 from http://www. medialit. org/reading_room/article23. html Harris, S. (N. d. ). Some violent movies can increase violent responses to provocation and acceptance of violence in real life. Retrieved 17 April 2009 from http://www. research. vt. edu/resmag/sc99/media_violence. html TV violence. (2003). Retrieved 17 April 2009 from http://www. kff. org/entmedia/upload/Key-Facts-TV-Violence. pdf

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