Q. What effects does electronic and other media violence have on aggressive behavior?
Electronic and other media violence has been pointed as a causative of desensitization. This ranges from increases in the probability of aggression behavior to the parties involved. They lead also to an upsurge in aggressive ideas and lessen assisting behavior (psychological sympathy) to real violence victims. Lack of psychological sympathy can be reflected in ways such as watching without helping as an individual is assaulted by perpetrators.
Young people who are exposed to media violence are rendered more aggressive instantaneously after they have watched the material and later in their adulthood become more aggressive (Ferguson, 2007). People who watch electronic and media violence have their physiological reaction reduced when they encounter actual violence compared to those who haven’t be subjected to such materials and have emotional reactions to violence are reduced.
People who watch violent media such as video games become familiarized to the violence and when it comes to actual violence, they become insensitive to it psychologically. To cite an example of violent video game players, the persons may be more likely get affiliated with violent due to their emotional connections to violent video characters while they are playing. The persons may also be supporters and/or sympathizers of violent actions and there is a high probability for them to be exposed to violent circumstances. Thus, electronic and media violence leads to likeliness of an individual indulging in risky behaviors.
Desensitized onlookers of individuals involved in an accident might have a perception that the injured don’t have serious injuries and thus deem an accident as not serious while actually it is an emergency. Electronic and media violence may make the players or watchers thin that violence is normal (Norman & Kaye, 2010). The people who watch or play violent video may make them have a soft stance towards violence thus decreasing their negative perceptions of violence: an act that lessens their attitude of individual accountability.
Children who have been exposed to violent electronic or media materials are more likely to quickly get involved or interfere in a fight, if it arose, than their counterparts who were not exposed to such material. People who are involved in such violent materials have little prosocial habits because of being exposed to such aggressive video games.
People who spend a significant portion of their time tend to be easily provoked. The violence in the electronic and the media is promoted as a pleasurable and effectual method of doing what one wants. Thus, the violence exhibited on such materials may be a medium through which people, particularly more sensitive people such as children, can imitate.
When children emulate such acts, considering they may be advised by their parents its not right but conversely given the green right to defend using small tactics such as hitting, biting and kicking when involved in fights; it may create a contradiction where the growing children wont recognize what is right or wrong. Thus, they may have innocence soft stance towards violence and/or aggressiveness. Considering that it is not always that the revered characters in such materials face justice, individual, and more so the sensitive children may emulate such characters to an extent of making them their role models (Carnagey, Anderson & Bushman, 2007). It may have life long effects on the children simply because hey cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality.
Ferguson, C.J. (2007). The Good, The Bad and the Ugly: A Meta-analytic Review of Positive and Negative Effects of Violent Video Games. Psychiatric Quarterly, 78. Retrieved on 10th October 10, 2011 from http://www.springerlink.com/content/66217176984×7477/
Carnagey, N. L., Anderson, C.A., & Bushman, B. J. (2007). The effect of video game violence on physiological desensitization to real-life violence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43, 489-496. Retrieved on 10th October 10, 2011 from
Norman, M and Kaye B.K (2010). Electronic Media: Then, Now, and Later. Burlington: Focal Press.