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Mass Media and Violent Behavior among Adolescents Essay

Violent scenes have become extremely commonplace among different forms of mass media that is available to the public. However, the rise of many heinous crimes committed by individuals who have been reported to patronize different mass media which contain excessive violence have made many behavioral psychologists and other researchers to see if there is a direct relationship between the extensive exposure of violence in different types of mass media and the development of violent behavior among adolescents.

This paper aims to provide relevant information that while there is a direct relationship between the exposure of violent scenes in mass media and the development of violent behavior among adolescents, there are a number of other factors which need to be present in order for exposure to violent scenes in mass media to cause an adolescent to exemplify violent behavioral patterns. The paper would present a brief overview of the growth of popularity of violent scenes in different types of mass media.

It would then provide factual incidences which have caused behavioral psychologists and other researchers to search for the relationship of increased exposure to violence in mass media and the development of violent behavior among adolescents as well as the different factors that an adolescent must already possess in order for such a direct relationship to occur. Violence as Entertainment Since the ancient times, violence has proven to be a popular form of entertainment in almost every culture in the world.

These violent forms of entertainment range from viewing animals engaging in combat with each other, to various forms of entertainment where two individuals would need to physically compete and defeat the other in order to be claimed as the winner. Over the centuries, violence has remained a popular form of entertainment to the masses. It is presently used in computer video games, movies and television (Felson 1996). Crimes Linked to Violent Forms of Mass Media

Recently, there has been a rise of a number of various heinous crimes committed by various individuals who have been noted to have become frequently exposed to various kinds of mass media which have been known to contain excessively graphic violent scenes. In 1993, two 11-year old boys where charged for the murder of a two-year old toddler named James Bulger by beating the young toddler to death along a railway track.

This resulted to a number of various journalists to speculate that the violent nature of the crime and the violent behavior inert of these young boys were a result of them watching Child’s Play III, a horror film which was released during this time (Holland 2001). Perhaps the most popular case where behavioral psychologists and other researchers have theorized that violent scenes from different types of mass media leads to violent behavior, especially among adolescents, was on April 20, 1999.

On this day, two teenagers who have been known to be fans of various violent video games and films which have been eventually discovered in the rooms of the two teenagers who had committed the crime before killing themselves with self-inflicted gunshots (Roy 2002). This was led to a number of research studies to be conducted in relation to the influence of violent scenes found in different forms of mass media and the development of violent behavior, particularly among the youth.

The results of these research studies were then published in numerous peer-viewed journals and newspapers in order to make the public aware of the direct relationship between heavy exposures to violent scenes found in different forms of media have caused many adolescent to exemplify and exhibit violent forms of behavior towards each other (Gauntlett 2001). Contention to the Study Over the past few years, many research studies have been published which actually contend the belief that extreme exposure of violent scenes in different forms of mass media to have a direct influence to the development of violent behavior among adolescents.

While these research studies do not disregard exposure to violent scenes in mass media can induce the development of violent behavior among adolescents, research studies have stipulated that there are other factors that contribute to this. One is the exposure of the adolescents to other acts of violence that have not been viewed through mass media. An adolescent, according to these research studies, can also develop violent acts of behavior by being exposed to various acts of violence that occur within the community the adolescent belongs.

Among these are exposure to domestic violence and gang violence, which commonly occur within communities which have a low income socio-economic status (Jipguep & Sanders-Phillips 2003). Another is the presence of psychological distress. Adolescents who have been diagnosed or exhibit symptoms of anxiety and depression brought about by acts of alienation and other forms of victimization brought about by their peers and other individuals would also induce violent behavior to be exhibited by these adolescents.

This was the case of the two Columbine High School shooters who have been subjected to alienation and acts of bullying from their fellow classmates (Jipguep & Sanders-Phillips 2003; Roy 2002). Conclusion Aggression and other forms of violent behavior may be triggered by violent scenes found in different types of mass media adolescents are able to access today. However, it has been determined that an adolescent must possess other characteristics and traits for violent scenes from mass-media to trigger violence among adolescents.

Some of these include and adolescent’s exposure to acts of violence at home or within his or her community as well as oppressive acts towards these adolescents by their peers. It is for this reason that researchers and medical professionals are now able to explain why exposure to violent scenes in mass media does not affect all adolescents in terms of triggering violence.

References Felson, R. B. (1996). Mass media effects on violent behavior. Annual review of sociology, 22, 103-28. Gauntlett, D. (2001). The worrying influence of ‘media effects’ studies. In M. Barker (Ed. ),

Ill effects: the media/violence debate (pp. 47-62). New York: Routledge. Holland, P. (2001). Living for libido; or ‘child’s play IV’: the imagery of childhood and the call for censorship. In M. Barker (Ed. ), Ill effects: the media/violence debate (pp. 78- 86). New York: Routledge. Jipguep, M. C. & Sanders-Phillips, K. (2003). The context of violence for children of color: violence in the community and in the media. The journal of Negro education, 72(4), 379-95. Roy, J. M. (2002). Love to hate: America’s obsession with hatred and violence. New York: Columbia University Press.


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