Violent Video Media Have Negative Effects on Children
Violent video media such as television, cartoons, and video games have a direct influence on children’s behavior. They overwhelm children’s life and do not allow them to develop properly. The media with aggressive scenes have enough power to change people’s values and the style of conduct. Although, most researchers agree on the fact that violent video media affect a child’s psychological, biological, and social states, there are specialists who contradict this idea.
The aggressive media have a negative impact on a child’s psychological heath condition. If a person spends too much time watching invasive scenes, he or she is very likely to express anger in their daily life as well. In addition, mental and cognitive abilities of a child also suffer from unfavorable changes. In order to prove the impact of violent media on child’s aggressive behavior, Gentile conducted a research in which three children were playing violent video games for twenty minutes (2009). After that, they were asked to choose puzzles classified by three different levels, namely, easy, medium, and difficult correspondingly. As a result, those who played violent video games picked up the easy puzzles and the difficult ones were left to other children. Moreover, those kids behaved more aggressively in their everyday life, which Gentile support by the claim that when the young participants were leaving the experimental setting, they were seriously arguing. Thus, it is clear that the psychological condition of a person after watching violent scenes changes towards worse.
Media violence also causes detrimental changes in a child’s physical health. First of all, it is possible to mention that watching TV or playing computer games makes a person passive and reduces their activeness. According to the research by Carnagey, Anderson, and Bushman, when a person watches violent scenes, their cardiac contraction and diastolic blood pressure increases (2007). Also, a human’s body produces a high level of adrenaline in blood. Obviously, such unhealthy changes correspondingly cause bad physiological reactions in future if stimulated regularly.
Aggressive video media is known to hinder children from building the social relations with peers properly. Instead of approaching psychological aid, children normally use media in order to lock themselves away from their everyday concerns, such school conflicts or with their family. It also discourages individuals from building strong friendly relationships with peers. It is scientifically proved that a person experiences difficulties in communication with friends and relatives if he or she spends too much time watching or playing violent video media (McLean & Griffiths, 2013). In addition, a person becomes less sensitive to violence in the real world. According to Bushman and Anderson, such type of behavior is called decentralization (2009). He or she perceives violence as something usual and starts to apply it for resolving real-life conflicts. Thus, violence in media has negative influences on person’s ability to assess objective reality adequately and build a normal social life.
Despite the numerous studies that provide evidence to prove the harmful effect of violent video media on children, there are scientists who reject the idea of harm posed by such content. Gentile believes that media with aggressive scenes do not affect all the youngsters in a similar way (2014). Some kids tend to change their behavior slightly after watching the violent movie or playing the video game and if they see that it does not meet much criticism or counteraction from peers, parents, or other teachers, they persist in it. Psychologically stronger children are not affected in the same way as those individuals with weak mental health. He also states that there are four different effects of violent media. The first of these is an aggressor effect which manifests in the direct application of violent behavior after watching the violent content. The second one is a victim effect assuming that young individuals view the world as a manacing place. speaking of the third one, it is called a bystander effect, which presupposes habituating towards violence. The fourth type is known as an appetite effect and presumes that children who spend much time watching violent media begin considering it as an entertainment. Therefore, it is possible to consider that violent video media do not necessary influence all the individuals in the same way.
To conclude, violence in media is a serious issue nowadays, and parents and educators need to be aware of its negative consequences. If a child spends too much time on the computer watching aggressive videos or playing such games, there is a high potential he or she might experience some changes in their psychological, biological, and social conditions. Due to their vulnerability and the lack of critical assessment skills, children should not be exposed to violent media because there is no evidence that it will have any positive effect but the negative on for sure.
Bushman, B. J., & Anderson, C. A. (2009). Comfortably numb: Decentralizing effects of violent media on helping others. Association for Psychological Science, 20(3), 273-277. Retrieved from http://public.psych.iastate.edu/caa/abstracts/2005-2009/09BA.pdf
Gentile, D. A. (2014). Media violence and children: A complete guide for parents and professionals. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC CLIO, LLC.
Carnagey, N. L., Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2007). The effect of video game violence on physiological desensitization to real-life violence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43, 489–496.
McLean, L., & Griffiths, M. (2013). The psychological effects of videogames on young people. Aloma, 31(1), 119-133.