Estermann: ENG 105
March 12, 2012
A Better Argument
The concern for violence in our youth has become increasingly apparent in these recent years. In an effort to find a cause for or an entity to blame, media appears to have become the appropriate villain. The widespread of crimes with youth involvement around the nation have disturbed many, and have contributed to the belief that violence in our media could be a major factor in how children perceive violence and aggression. Worrying that it has the potential to instill in our children that such behavior is acceptable and without consequence, many argue that it must be controlled in an effort to reduce the hostile behavior. But these arguments are not left without opposition. Many find that there is no problem in the current circumstances, arguing that there is not enough evidence to prove that the media is responsible for more than “normal” violent behavior. Both sides of the argument need analysis before we can draw any conclusions. Only after carefully analyzing both positions can we determine which, if any, side makes a stronger argument.
Most studies of the effects of media violence have examined passive visual media, which is media that viewers observe only: like dramatic television and movies, television news, and music videos. Recently, attention has turned toward the violence in video games. It seems logical to many people that if casually watching violence in movies and on television causes aggression, than vigorous participation in violent video games should have an even larger effect. The scope of influence by media violence, they claim, is as large as or greater than that of many elements ordinarily accepted by the general public as convincing triggers to violent behavior. They maintain their argument by stating that spending hours shooting graphic pictures of different creatures and of people and watching them “blow up, break apart, scream in pain, spew blood all over, and so on” (Freedman, 350) undoubtedly must in-turn teach them that violence is acceptable, that it is a method to handle troubles, maybe make them desensitized toward real violence, and therefor cause them to be more aggressive and more violent themselves.
In “The Influence of Media Violence on Youth,” Craig A. Anderson and others explain their argument against media violence through extensive experiments and analysis. In this mate-analysis, they state that the effects of contact with violent video games has not been studied as considerably as those of exposure to TV or movie violence; however, overall, the results taken for video games are very similar to those obtained in the studies of TV and movie violence (Anderson & Bushman et al.; cited in Anderson 90). Those in their favor might attest that there is undeniable evidence that violence in the media increases the probability of aggressive and violent behavior in both immediate and gradual long-term situations. Recent surveys reveal a large presence of violence in modern media, with studies that show more and more children allotting most of their free time to consuming this media. Cross-sectional surveys over the past 40 years have consistently offered proof that “the current physical aggression, verbal aggression, and aggressive thoughts of young people are correlated with the amount of television and film violence they regularly watch” (Chaffee et al.; cited in Anderson 86).
The experimental studies demonstrate that in the short term, violent video games cause increases in aggressive thoughts, emotions, and behavior; increases in physiological arousal; and decreases in helpful behavior. Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, in addition, also suggest long-term effects by linking repeated exposure to violent video games with aggressive and violent behavior in the real world. Many that support this argument find that media violence creates longstanding influences through the means of various types of learning