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Violence on tv and films

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Violence on tv and films

TV and Film Violence

Does the violence in films and on TV contribute to violence in society?

This question has been debated for decades.  During that time some 2,500

books and articles have been written on the effects of TV and film violence

on human behavior. 

In this article we’re going to summarize some the latest thinking on this


The results of one of the most extensive studies ever done on the subject

of violence and TV were released in 2003.

Researchers followed 329 subjects over 15 years. TThey found that those who

as children were exposed to violent TV shows were much more likely to later

be convicted of crime. Researchers said that, „Media violence can affect

any child from any family,“ regardless of social class or parenting.

Girls who watched more than an average amount of violence tended to throw

things at their husbands. Boys who grew up watching violent TV shows were

more likely to be be violent with their wives.

Researchers concluded in Developmental Psychology that, „Every violent TV

show increases a llittle-bit the likelihood of a child growing up to behave

more aggressively.“

We’ll look at more of the research in a moment.

Canada was one of the first countries to extensively research this issue. 

The results of their studies prompted some of their engineers tto devise the

„V-Chip.“ As you may know, the V-Chip allows parents to lock out TV

programming they consider objectionable to their children.

Although the concern in Canada was primarily violence (hence the V-chip),

in the United States there is also great concern about sexual

content—probably more than in most other industrialized societies. Hence,

the V-chip can be programmed to screen out both violence and sex.

The issue of sex, which has resulted in quite different research findings,

is discussed here and here, so in this article we’ll focus on the issue of

film and TV violence. 

| |

|Because ours is a puritanically-based society|

|and we have problems with depictions of sex, |

|we tend to eroticize violence. |

|For many people this creates an unfortunate, |

|often even unconscious, link between sex and |

|violence. |

| from  „Sex Research, Censorship, and the |

|Law“ |

|  |

Cause-Effect Proof

Studies done in both the United States and Canada have shown a positive

relationship between early exposure to TV violence and physical

aggressiveness in later life. 

Even so, a clear cause-effect relationship is complicated by the fact that

children are typically exposed to many stimuli as they grow up, many of

which could play a role in later behavior. 

For example, during a child’s life we can’t discount the role of such

things as violent video games, the ssocial values of parents and peers, or

general living conditions.

If you eat something that you have not tried before and immediately get

sick, you will probably assume there’s a direct relationship between the

two events.

And if at some later date you forget about your first experience and eat

the same thing again, and immediately get sick again, you can be fairly

sure that whatever you ate makes you sick. 

No rocket science here, just clear cause and effect.  

Unfortunately, the cause and effect in many other areas of life are not as

readily apparent.

A few decades ago you would see doctors in TV commercials endorsing a

particular brand of cigarettes. And many medical doctors smoked. 

Not today. 

Today the evidence is clear: smoking is the number one cause of preventable

heath problems and premature death in the United States. Although for years

the cigarette manufacturers suppressed evidence that linked smoking to

health problems, eventually the cause-effect relationship became obvious to

anyone who wanted investigate the facts.

Unlike the cause and effect in the example of your eating something and

immediately getting sick, the effects of cigarette smoking aren’t

immediately apparent.  It’s only years later that many smokers develop lung

cancer, heart problems, emphysema, sexual problems, etc. 

In the same way—after looking at years of accumulated data—we’re now

recognizing a relationship between vviolence in the media and social

problems. A summary of much of the research and its consequences can be

found in the book Visual Intelligence—Perception, Image, and Manipulation

in Visual Communication by Ann Marie Seward Barry.

|The results of a study released in March, |

|2002 that tracked 700 male and female youths |

|over a seventeen-year period showed a |

|definite relationship between TV viewing |

|habits and acts of aggression and crime in |

|the later life. |

|All other possible contributing environmental|

|elements, such as poverty, living in a |

|violent neighborhood, and neglect, were |

|factored out of this study. |

|According to one of the authors of the study,|

|the findings help cement the link between TV |

|and violence. The study is detailed in the |

|Science journal. |


Violence and TV Ratings

It’s well known that TV violence holds an attraction for most viewers and

this attraction translates into ratings and profits.  Because of this most

media executives have been reluctant to admit that media violence is in any

way responsible for violence in our society.

If it weren’t for the ratings and profits involved, producers would

undoubtedly be much more willing ...

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