Violence in the media

Essay by rudog February 2005

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In today's modern world violence is a huge part of TV, media, news, and in general a big part of American pop culture. Television has become the place where any child can see violence at the flick of a channel. The question that has framed the controversy over the effects of media violence is how exposure to violent media images affects the tendency for viewers to behave aggressively. This paper will also look at violence in terms of media and priming within the context of television.

At the start 1950's the US government began to express concern about the effects of televised violence. During this time period a major line of investigation was launched to evaluate media violence to those in the scholarly community by George Gerbner and his associates. Gerbner defined violence as

"The overt expression of physical force against others or self, or the compelling of action against one's will on pain of being hurt or killed"

With this definition in mind he came to the conclusion that prime-time TV contained about eight instances of violence per hour.

Know that the prevalence of violent content had been firmly established in a quantitative way, the stage was set for researchers to delve into the question of the impact on that content.(Zillmann, pg 271-272) Numerous reviews by researchers, professional associations, and organizations all agree that exposure to media violence is causally related to aggressive behavior. Results from several studies reveals a dominant and consistent pattern in favor of the notion that exposure to violent media images will increase the risk of aggressive behavior. In 1971 a study was conducted by Liebert and Baron using children from 5 to 9 years old. Half the children watched a violent program and the others a non violent sports program. They were then...