January 10th, 2018
Role of media in addressing media violence
A number of factors complicate the role of media in addressing the violence in their products. One of these is an argument that the association of media violence with actual life violence may be due to preference of watching violent programs by those who are already violent (Cantor 32). Field investigations have however postulated a bidirectional association between watching violent situations and the viewer’s aggression (Black and Bevan, as cited in Cantor 32). Such association implies that the media also have a role in minimizing the level of violent programs. Cantor (30) however argues that the undoing of preventative and other approaches aimed at reducing violence in the media is partially due to the unwillingness of such media to promote information that injures the economic benefit derived from these programs.
Approaches that would achieve a better efficiency against violence in media are varying in their strategy. One of these has been the an increasing interest in employing labels and ratings that pre-inform the parents on the content of the programs and films so as to enable them employ the requisite restriction on viewership (Cantor 32). Such includes age based ratings such as G, PG, R and NC-17 but such have been criticized for their lack of clarity and being uninformative (Cantor 32). In addition to their lack of adequate information such categorizations might actually lead to the desire by persons outside the restricted age to attend the program shows in media fares and other related forums. Subsequently parental guidelines have been developed for rating TV programs but also face similar criticism as the movie ratings (Cantor 33).
The popularity and ease in accessibility of media containing violent depictions makes restrictive policies achieve a minimal success. A better approach would be development of educative forums for parents, children and the youth (cantor 33).Such forums should contain simple instructions that promote an empathetic culture among the population. These programs have shown initial success (Cantor 33) and their popularity across the country would ensure media violence is eliminated in the near future.
Various factors are noted to affect external behavior of an individual. Among these factors is observational learning that is influenced by both biological and social factors that further affect behavioral and personality traits via conditioning. Such a process has been argued to occur when individuals are constantly exposed to media violence hence predicting occurrence of real-life violence in later life. Addressing the subject of media violence is however restricted by the definitions of what such constitute and the appropriate measures of aggression resulting from media violence. Sociological studies have however identified an association of media violence and real life aggression through a combination of: long term follow-up studies that assess media usage habit of children and their effects later in life, and short-term experiments that mainly assess attitudes following the viewing of films with aggressive depictions. The mechanisms by which such association is effected have been proposed to vary between long term effects and short term ones. The latter is mainly attributed to priming, arousal and subsequent mimicry of the actions observed. Long term effects on the other hand are attributed to prolonged observation learning that influences cognition and behavioral processes and activation and desensitization processes that numbs the appropriate responses to violence outcomes. Such discussions inform the role that the media and entire society should adopt in dealing with the problem – a prudent approach of which has been advanced as providing education forums to parents, children and youth that foster the development of empathetic culture.
Cantor, Joanne. “Media Violence.” [conference proceedings]. Journal of Adolescent Health 27s (2000): 30-34
Funk, Jeanne B., Heidi Bechtoldt Baldacci, Tracie Pasold, and Jennifer Baumgardner. “Violence Exposure in Real-Life, Video Games, Television, Movies, and the Internet: Is there Desensitization.” Journal of Adolescence 27 (2004): 23-39.
Huesmann, L. Rowell. “The Impact of Electronic Media Violence: Scientific Theory and Research.” Journal of Adolescent Health. 41 (2007): s6-s13.
Staats, Arthur W. “A Psychological Behaviorism Theory of Personality.” Handbook of psychology: Personality and Social Psychology. Eds. I. B. Weiner, T. Millon, and M. J. Lerner, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003.135-158
Zuckerman, Marvin. “Biological Bases of Personality.” Handbook of psychology: Personality and Social Psychology. Eds. I. B. Weiner, T. Millon, and M. J. Lerner, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003.85- 116