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Media Consumption: Effect of Media Violence on Teens

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The term aggression refers to a range of behaviors that can result in physical and psychological harm to yourself, others, or objects in the existence of the eye. Society has evolved with the acts of aggression, verbal and physical aggression, reactive-inexpressive and expressive aggression. High level of exposure is known to have a negative impact on attitudes and behaviors with the role of the violent media. Does the violent media cause aggression in teens? Researchers have documented and identified a number of risk factors for aggressive acts such as attention problems and impulsiveness. Many believe the violent media plays as a feature rather than a direct influence. Along with underlying factors that contribute to teens behaving in such a way, the individual as a whole and the role of the violent media are closely associated with one another.

Although the issue is often contentious in the media, exposure to violent media does make teens more aggressive. Statistically, teens spend an average of six hours and thirty-two minutes using various forms of media. (Jason et al. 2005). Recent research propose that these effects can become problematic when guns are involved. This topic was investigated in many studies using experimental, longitudinal and even cross-sectional designs. The purpose of this literature review is to minimize aspects of ideas revolving around the proposition that the violent media causes aggression in teens. This research includes substantive findings, as well as theoretical and methodological contributions to the topic.

The most studied aspect of the effect of media is that of media violence on teens. Violence on television is a pervasive and negative influence especially on those with impressionable mindsets, and with those with a lack of critical ability, being easily influenced most likely leads to behavioral issues, aggression and even criminal activity in the long run. Ferguson et al. (2008) have presented a model for comprehending multivariate influences on aggressive behavior. The cross-sectional design demonstrates the catalyst model of violent crime & the development of an aggressive-prone personality. It suggest that an individual who develops a violent personality are at a high risk for engaging in violent behavior. Individuals with high aggressive proneness are probable to require less environmental stress to take part in violent acts. In this case, this study addresses multiple factors that can correlate to the relations between the media and aggressive behavior. Media violence, according to the catalyst model is not the only cause of violent behavior but plays a role as a stylistic choice. For example, if a teen with proneness to aggressiveness decides to acts violent, he or she may then perform an act seen in the media. Not with the intentions to perfectly execute a violent act as seen on tv but with the intentions to portray a similar model, and this is where influence takes part. Violent behavior is influenced by social learning. Ferguson et al. (2008).

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Debate remains concerning the variables for aggression and media violence, but is there a reason as to why the media solely depicts our attitudes and how act? There is evidence that violent television exposure is associated with attention problems. Theoretically, reasonings that have been provided to justify aggressive behavior have speculated a position of attention problems. It is said that long and short term stimulating effects of media violence might be brought about their effects on impulsivity. (Swing & Anderson, 2014). The methodology for this particular experiment included four hundred twenty-two undergraduate students, (61% females). Participants completed a brief media habits questionnaire, a series of questions that assessed average media use. Participants indicated how many hours they watched television on a weekday, given different time periods (six AM to noon, noon to six, six PM to midnight, and midnight to six AM). The study tested several hypothesis by evaluating attention problems, impulsiveness, media violence, and aggression. The most important feature of this study was its attitudes towards violence. Using a RATVS ( Revised Attitudes Toward Violence Scale) new important findings were revealed. Firstly, as hypothesized attention problems are relatively unique variables for aggression. Attention problems were associated with overall media consumption which explains its third finding that attention problems relate to media violence and aggression.

According to recent research studies, children learn through imitation, as well as young adults, who with observations can perceive behaviors their own, which in fact is influenced by the media (Jason et al. 2005). Media violence increases aggression especially with video games that allow the player to be the aggressor. The game’s intent is to give awards for completing violent acts against others. In comparison to the previous study discussed, the amount of internet, media consumption can depict implications for behaviors indulged in. The difference between television and playing video games is that television gives off a more passive experience whereas video games are interactive, yet the two coexist with one another resulting in similar actions. Media violence has an adequate effect on forms of violent behavior and an even bigger influence on aggression. Negative effects seen in childhood exposure to media violence is shown to expand later on into adulthood. (Anderson et al. 2003). As age progresses, findings support the hypothesis that the causal effects of media violence exposure found in experimental settings can be generalized to real life from childhood to adulthood. A study uses the cultivation theory to examine the ability of the violent media to mold perspectives and attitudes (Dowler, K. 2002.) The cultivation theory tests whether viewers may believe that guns are useful alternatives as seen on television. The example that is portrayed is both villains and heroes employ guns to succeed their desired intentions. It is now to test if this representation results in viewers, adults in this case to believe that guns are a necessity in protecting oneself. This examination determines whether heavy television observers are influenced by media consumption. Consistent with the cultivation theory, violent media shows influence attitudes towards guns to a certain extent. Findings shown that observers are likely to disagree with the use of gun control in movies and games but agree with the terms that being armed for protection is the best defense. Yet again, there are underlying factors that contribute to behaving aggressively. The individual as a whole and the role of the violent media are closely associated with one another depending on perceptions about gun control in this sense. The relationship between gun attitudes and media consumption consisting of many different and connected parts. Those who are pro-gun are attracted to crime and drama shows which strengthens behaviors towards aggressiveness. The studies of violence in mass media evaluates the correlation between themes of violence in media, real-world aggression and violence over time. Many psychologists support the correlation.

Although some questions remain to be resolved about the extent of observed violence on aggressive and violent behavior, high level of exposure is known to have a negative impact on attitudes and behaviors with the role of the violent media. Does the violent media cause aggression in teens and yet later on affect the future? The studies provided compelling evidence that persistent exposure of teens to violence in the media, do have remaining effects on their tendency to behave aggressively and violently. Future research should probably be directed much more at elaborating how media influences our interpretation of information, our development, and our differences.

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Media Consumption: Effect of Media Violence on Teens. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from
“Media Consumption: Effect of Media Violence on Teens.” Edubirdie, 18 Mar. 2022,
Media Consumption: Effect of Media Violence on Teens. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 4 Feb. 2023].
Media Consumption: Effect of Media Violence on Teens [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 18 [cited 2023 Feb 4]. Available from:
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