This essay will explore the different opinions and debates that various researchers have accounted on the effects of extensive violent media exposure and how it is changing the ways in which society functions today. It is crucial to consider that, “whether people’s actions appear rational or reasonable will depend very much upon how the world in which the actions are occurring is portrayed and understood.” Eldridge (1995: 295) This applies greatly to children and adolescents as the media content in which they are exposed to can influence their ideas on what behaviours are socially acceptable or unwelcome. By looking at work from the Glasgow Media Group, and other researchers that challenge their theories, this essay will set out to analyse the various opinions on violent media content and the social effects that they are believed to have.
The professional and academic team of researchers that form the Glasgow Media Group have accounted a variety of different effects that the media has on individuals through extensive methodologies such as case studies. Some focus around the news media genre and the influences that their reports have on audiences’ opinions regarding political issues, whilst others touch on the reasoning behind the decline of the British economy. However broad the issues, the main aim of the Glasgow Media Group is to understand how people perceive the world of the media and how they channel this into their perception of reality. Throughout their works, the group focus predominantly on two forms of research, textual analysis and audience analysis, allowing for a well-rounded unbiased account of information in order to prove credibility to their hypotheses. In this case, the main topic of interest is the increasing appeal that violent imagery has on the youth today.
The portrayal of violence in the media has caused great concerns over aggressive behaviours and copycat crimes that have been inspired by the increasing exposure of violent imagery through various media forms. Using a variety of different methods such as surveys and questionnaires, the Glasgow Media Group examined children’s behaviour changes through extensive media exposure and additionally, recorded the teachers’ and parents’ observations to the children’s behaviour patterns. The main aim of the article, ‘Children and Film/Video/TV Violence,’ is to research the links between media violence and the increasing appeal that it has on the youth today. In order to do so, the Glasgow Media Group considered the three key environments where young people develop and exchange ideas, these being, their home, school and social circles. By basing their research within these surroundings, the media group are more likely to receive honest responses’ as the children will feel comfortable within these familiar environments.
With the aid of organisations such as the Parenting Educational Support and the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT), the group were able to collect extensive research on children (with no particular violent background) that had been exposed to violent media content. Their behaviour patterns were observed by the teachers over extensive periods of time and recorded. The teachers accounted that children devote a considerable amount of time to television and video games containing violent imagery and when questioned, hundreds agreed that this posed harmful in the development of their vulnerable and easily influenceable minds. The outcome being, that young peoples responsiveness to violence is glorified if it is portrayed in a ‘cool’ way. Therefor, causing children to “recall the violent [imagery] with enthusiasm and enjoyment.”