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The media is a tool of passing information. Forms of media such as TV and films are used for many hours a day by everyone in the society. Concerns have risen about the effects of the exposure to television and films on people, particularly the children. There have been many debates with people blaming the media influences of TV and movies for instigating antisocial behavior, particularly violence into the society. There have been many types of research done to investigate the effects of television and films on the subjects, which has proven that they do, in fact, increase the tendency of aggression in people.

Watching violent TV programs and films reduces the level of empathy in people. Empathy is where one understands what one is going through. Empathy reduces one’s likelihood of engaging in violent acts since one considers the emotions and suffering of the other individual. The frequent exposure to violent TV programs and films reduces the level of empathy in these people. The programs desensitize the people to violence. They consider it to be a common thing and do not elicit the response expected when a person is exposed to violence. People are naturally averse to violence, and the exposure to TV and films ends up desensitizing the public, making individuals more likely to engage in violence.

Research by two psychologists, Rowell Huesman and Leonard Eron in the 1980s on the effects of violent TV programs on children showed that the children who frequently watched these shows when in elementary school had increased aggression in their teenage life. This indicates that the children are negatively influenced by these violent media (Huesman, Rowell, and Eron, Leonard). The children learn by observation from the environment. They pick up behavior and values from their environment as they develop their personality and values. The frequent exposure to violence will make the children adopt it as one of their qualities. They are therefore more likely to engage in violent acts in future.

A report done by the National Institute of Mental Health did a study on the effects of violent media on children and identified three major effects on children; lower sensitivity to the pain and suffering of others, children being fearful of the world around them and increased aggressive and harmful behavior (National Institute of Mental Health, 1982). This shows that the media has adverse effects on children. The kids emulate everything they see on the television, making them more aggressive to others. These media forms tend to promote violence as a way of dispensing justice and getting what you want. The children may believe this and end up using violence more often when faced with problems. The children also do not associate with the characters and do not consider the pain and emotions of the victims. They may end up not feeling much empathy for others which will make them use violence against their peers more readily.

The exposure to these forms of media also leads to priming of the human brain to violence. Priming is the activation of cognition, emotion or behavior due to the exposure of an individual event or experience. The frequent exposure to violent media may make one develop many thoughts of violence. It makes them more sensitive to the use of violence in everyday life. This will end up increasing the probability of one engaging in violence since they already think about it a lot (Huesmann, Rowell.). This shows that the violent TV and films have the probability of increasing the aggression of the individual.

Other scholars have stated that the violent TV and films do not influence the increased rate of aggression in people. They say that the studies that have been conducted so far have not taken into account other factors such as the environment of the individual. A child who has been exposed to aggressive behavior in their neighborhood or home may be more likely to be aggressive than one who has watched this behavior on television. The environment has a more lasting impact because the child is actively involved in the behavior. They believe that these studies do not have the proper scientific backing and exaggerate the effects of violent TV and films.

In conclusion, violent TV and films have a potent effect on the rate of aggression of the people. With the proper control of the rate of exposure of this media on the children, the effects on children can be eliminated, ensuring the avoidance of any long term or short term impacts of violent media on the children.


Work Cited

Huesman, Rowell, and Eron, Leonard. Television and the aggressive child: A cross-national comparison. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. (1986).

Huesmann, Rowell. “The Impact of Electronic Media Violence: Scientific Theory and Research.” The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine 41.6 Suppl 1 (2007): S6–13. PMC. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.

National Institute of Mental Health. Television and Behavior: Ten Years of Scientific Progress and Implications for the Eighties, Vol. 1. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (1982).

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