Media, Violence and Children

In today’s society it is becoming more common for younger children to view and have access to violent media whether it be computer games, TV programmed or on the computer.  However this was not the case many years ago.  In the 1950 only 10% of american homes had a Television.  In modern society 99% of homes have a television.  This shows a significant increase into the the population that are exposed to more things through the media.  Children in particular are exposed to more and more expeiriences that back in the 1950’s society would not have let children experience.

With the increase of television in the home aswell as an increase in children having televisions in their bedroom where the content of what is viewed cannot be monitored this increases the opportunities that the child has to be subjected to violence.

But does any of this really effect the child behavior and development or is this something that can be left and not dealt with having no ripple effects on society.  Research suggest that children who are exposed to high levels of violence do have changes in their behavior.  Research has been going on for a number of years into this area of study and it shows that in many cases children are spending around 28 hours a week on video games or television a week  (that’s more than they would go to school) A child at the age of 4 years old does not have the ability to destinguish between fact and fantasy.  Which can result in a child seeing violence and acting this out, they would not know it was wrong.  If this type of behavior was to continue without anyone correcting them they would go on in society thinking this violent behavior was acceptable and that they could carry on with it.  Children who go through life with seeing violence and not being corected on the acceptable behaviour start to become desensitized to the violnece that they see and then thay start to no be able to empathise with the the situations that they may find themselves in.

All of these factors lead us to a society today that is becoming something very different from 30 odd years ago and the increase in violence is becoming apart that it is coming from a society of violent media and computer games. Games need not be violent to be able to sell more or to be able to enjoy them. Children are so easily influenced they need to be having games that teach them positive attitudes in life and more research is being carried out on how to achieve this in modern day society.



Anon (2010) American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry.Retrieved from (March 2012)

Anon (2006) American medical association. Retrieved from (March 2012)


3 thoughts on “Media, Violence and Children

  1. bngpsych says:

    Media is associated with learned aggression in children (Huesmann, 1994). Joy et al., in 1973, carried out a longitudinal study through the use of a natural experiment, to ensure that it was ecologically valid. In 1973, 120 school children in British Columbia, Canada, were introduced to television (Joy, 1978). Their aggressive, physical and verbal behaviour was monitored and observed by investigators and teachers for two years. In 1975, two years after the introduction to television to the area, the 120 children’s aggressive behaviour increased. This result lead the investigators to assume that the increase in familiarity with the television would likely lead to heightened aggressive behaviour in children, due to the acceptable image that media has displayed of aggressive behaviour (Joy, 1978). Hence, the aggressive behaviour is likely to be maintained due to the media making it acceptable. However, these studies have shown that children who are more aggressive prefer to watch more aggressive television shows (Huesmann, 1994).

    Some psychologists have used the developmental theory to understand the relation between media violence and the increase in aggressive behaviour (Huesmann, 1986). It is assumed that there is a learning process during childhood which heightens the likelihood of media violence influencing a child’s aggressive behaviour (Huesmann, 1986). Also, that aggressive behaviour is stimulated through media.

    A number of studies have been carried out to investigate the effects of media violence on children’s aggressive behaviour. Bandura et al., 1963 investigated the effects role models have on a child’s imitative behaviour. His results concluded that a child will imitate role models aggressive behaviour, however, his study is criticised by being carried out in a laboratory. Nonetheless, his experimental study highlights the effects that media may have upon a child’s behaviour (Bandura, Ross & Ross, 1963).

    Today, media is very influential. While there are some conflicting investigations on the effects media has on aggressive behaviour, research by Bandura, 1963, and Joy, 1973, suggests that aggressive behaviour is learned through media violence. Thus, arguing that violent media should be sensitised to the younger audience to limit the psychological long-term effects it may have on behaviour.


    Bandura, A., Ross, D., & Ross, S. A. (1963). Imitation of film-mediated aggressive models. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 66(1).

    Huesmann, L. R. (1986). Psychological processes promoting the relation between exposure to media violence and aggressive behaviour by the viewer. Journal of Social Issues, 42 (3), 125-139.

    Huesmann, L. R. ( 1994). Aggressive behaviour: Current perspectives. New York, USA. Plenum Publishing Corporation.

    Joy, A. L. (1978). Television exposure and children’s aggressive behaviour. Retrieved from,

  2. I personally believe that the media has a profound effect upon people, but with children being the most impressionable it is easy to see how it can have a bigger effect upon them. As you stated in your blog it is not as easy for young children to distinguish between reality and fantasy; therefore all the violence shown through the media may be seen as an acceptable thing to them. A prime example of this is the study conducted by Bandura (1963) in which it was seen just how easily children would imitate aggressive behaviour that adults had displayed just moments before. From this study the watershed was created in which certain programmes can only be shown after 9 o’clock but this is not stopping children from still being affected by aggression in the media. A recent example of the affect violence in the media has upon children is the 14 year old boy who stabbed his mother to death and then tried to cover it up by setting their house on fire. It was found that the boy had been allowed to watch over 18 horror movies from the age of only 6.


    Bandura,. Ross and Ross (1963) retrieved from:

  3. Transcending Bandura and modelling, video games and their influence to which all variations of people succumb may conversely be considered; perhaps counter-cultural, video games and their content may be of benefit to the learning, literacy and cognition of one’s child. Evidently, the variation and type of game (if it simply is mindless in it’s objectives and graphics, it is to be excluded – such is relative, yet with common sense applied… ) matter, however within games adhering to strategy or war, several aspects are advantageous: risk taking, contemplation of excuting and finalising tactics and strategies and collaboration – skills that children have been found to hone, and ultimately (contrary to belief) earn positions in lucrative jobs as a lawyer, engineer or perhaps a doctor (Gee, 2003). Such, as discussed in the entry, parents obtain a shred of control as to what is being purchased and subsequently played. With a relentless approach in directing both parents and children, the aforementioned desensitization may be alleviated or evaded entirely. Thank you for the stimulating endeavour of an entry.



    Gee JP (2003) What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy (Palgrave/St. Martin’s, New York

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