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Youth Violence And The Mass Media

Powerful Essays
Introduction
The problem I am researching is the desensitizing of America’s youth through violence in the mass media, specifically television and video games. I am interested in studying it because as violence on television and the violent content contained in video games has increased, so has youth violence. I want to find if the increasing violence shown on television and video games has a desensitizing effect on America’s youth, thus, increasing the probability that they will commit an act of violence. I believe that this research is important because I think violence on television and video games is a form of classical conditioning. In the movie, “A Clockwork Orange,” the character was given negative reinforcement whenever he sees acts of violence shown to him on television. Eventually, he becomes repulsed by it and feels ill every time he sees or thinks of committing an act of violence. I think television and violent games are having a reverse effect on America’s youth. Violence is glorified in the mass media, thus youth become to associate killing with entertainment, they see violence as the “manly” thing to do, and they see how violence on television often goes unpunished. I feel this is a cause of youth violence because of the desensitizing nature of violence on television. One study showed that network programming averages 36.6 violent acts per hour. Is there any question that this would have a desensitizing effect on America’s youth over time?
Literature Review
I looked at five other studies that were related to my research. The first was from an article from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology entitled “Video Games and Aggressive Thoughts, Feelings, and Behavior in the Laboratory and in Life” by Craig Anderson and Karen Dill. In the article, the effects of violent video games on youths were studied. What was found was that real-life violent video game play was positively related to increased aggressive behavior and delinquency. Also, academic achievement was negatively related to the overall amount of time spent playing games. This study involved two different forms of observation. The short-term effects (laboratory aggression) of the video games was studied using laboratory observation, while the long-term effects ...

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...dy might be in question. It would be very difficult to blame an increase in aggression levels fully on the mass media. For instance, the youth’s role models, peers, and daily routine could all play a role in the youth’s behaviors and attitudes. These factors would be extremely difficult to regulate. However, this problem exists along both groups and hopefully cancel each other out. I would like to conduct the same experiment again after awhile using different groups to test the reliability. Until then, it would be impossible to predict it’s reliability.
I don’t feel that these dilemmas will pose too large a problem. The goal of my study is simple. America is a culture that glorifies violence, neglects our social problems, and puts vengeful, ruthless characters on a pedestal. Violence runs rampant in the media and video games contain ungodly amounts of realistic, animated gore. I feel America’s youth is systematically becoming desensitized to violence for these reasons, thus the levels of youth violence in America are rapidly increasing. Through my research, I want to prove my hypothesis and show that violence in the mass media must be reduced.
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