Violence in Media and Its Effect on Behavior

One of the noteworthy changes in our social environment in the 20th and 21st centuries has been the infiltration of our culture and daily lives by the mass media. In general, researchers define violence in media as visual portrayals of physical aggression by one human or human-like character against another.

Violence is unfortunately one of the most popular forms of entertainment; over 60% of our prime time television shows contain some form of violence in a way or more. Most studies show that the relation between media violence and ‘real’ violence is interactive: media can contribute to an aggressive culture; people who are already aggressive use the media as further confirmation of their beliefs and attitudes, which, in turn, are reinforced through media content.

“The effects of media are cumulative and subtle and insidious and occur over a long period of time,” said Dr. Victor C Strasbourg, an expert on children and media at University of New Mexico School of Medicine. He believes media, which “have become kind of electronic parents,” are “one of the most powerful influences on children and teens that we know of and unfortunately unappreciated” by most everyone.

Exposure to media violence can cause short-term and long-term effects on our children and adults. The primed concepts make behaviors which are linked to them, more likely, when media primes aggressive concept the aggression is more likely. Media violence can arouse aggressive behavior in the short run more likely for two possible reasons which are excitation transfer and general arousal. In recent year it has been observed that humans and primate young ones have the tendency to imitate whatever they observe. Similarly when children observe violent behavior, they are more prone to mimic it. On the other hand, the long-term content effects are due to the observational learning of cognition and behaviors and the activation and desensitization of emotional processes.

It seems more likely to me that more time spent watching TV means less time for social activities and it is this which causes aggression. Aggression causes violence proportionally which create anti-social individuals alienating themselves from the society. These type of people then get involved in other psychological and harmful activities. Parents need to monitor the activities of their children and the change in their behaviors while mimicking the aggression they are exposed to watching television. Media carries the duty on its shoulders of informing the masses and making them aware of their basic rights in a positive way.

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