Television Violence and Its Effects on Children This literature review is based on the effects of television violence on children. More specifically, it deals with the relationship found between television violence and aggression found in young children. I chose this topic because I found it interesting to learn that studies have indeed found a connection between television viewing and the behavior of people, especially children. The first study reviewed is entitled “Television Violence and Children’s Aggression: Testing the Priming. Social script, and Disinhibition Predictions,” by Wendy Josephson. Josephson begins her study by commenting on other studies which pertain to the idea of television violence leading to aggressiveness in children’s behavior.
She acknowledges that, in fact, there are still differing views over whether or not behavior is affected by the violence. However, Josephson tends to rely more on the idea that it is affected and feels that more research should be directed to this area. Mostly, attention is focused on factors such as the disinhibition effect and cue-triggered aggression. Josephson aims to differentiate these two areas and how they are affected by television violence. The overall purpose of her study is to research the effect this violence has on boys’ aggression.
Special emphasis is placed on factors such as teacher-rated characteristic aggressiveness in the boys, timing of frustration (before or after watching the televised violence, and violence related cues. Josephson’s study is detailed and technical. However, sometimes it gets very difficult to understand the study due to the many advanced, technical terms used. The purpose of the study is somewhat easy to determine, and the three hypotheses on which she bases her research on are outlined clearly in the end of the review. It is understandable, from the review, how she came to her hypotheses.
The second study reviewed is by Leonard D. Eron. Titled “Interventions to Mitigate the Psychological Effects of Media Violence on Aggressive Behavior,” it begins with Eron’s realization that although many studies were conducted which support the link between violence on television and aggressive behavior, very few studies have been conducted which attempt to intervene between the two. Interventions between television violence and aggression could be useful because, then studies could be conducted on reducing the effects of violence on the viewer. Also, the results of such a study could be helpful in researching the cause and effect relationship which may exist between the two. However, this would require that the interventions pertain exclusively to television viewing and that any other areas of intervention are controlled.
If the aggressive behavior is reduced, it could support the theory of a causal effect as convincingly as a study performed in a carefully controlled laboratory experiment. The literature review is clear and easy to understand. Eron states at the beginning what his study is about. However, it is not clear in the review, at first, that his study deals with young children. This should have been more apparent since different results are expected depending on who the study involves.
It is apparent, however, that his intentions are to study the results which would come from a study involving intervening variables between television violence and aggressive behavior. “Effects of Realistic TV Violence vs. Fictional Violence on Aggression” by Charles Atkin is the third study to be reviewed. Atkin’s study starts off by stating that much evidence supports the theory that televised violence contributes to rising amounts of aggression found among young people. He focuses his literature review on the aspect of reality vs. fantasy in violence.
More realistic forms of violence are said to lead to greater aggression. His study deals with the comparison of aggressive responses in pre-adolescents to real news violence and fictional entertainment violence. Reality, in the case of these studies, is perceived by the viewer. The viewer determines whether or not the violence appears real by the extent to which the events really did or could exist in the real world or through similarities which the event holds with the viewers social or physical environment. If a violent situation appears real, the viewer is more likely to identify with it. Therefore, it is said to lead to more aggression than violence in unrealistic situations.
Atkins seeks, in his study, causal evidence of impact which takes into account reality violence, fantasy violence, and no violence treatments. Atkin gives a clear, understandable idea of what his study is about. This lit review was very well done. His purpose was clear and his hypotheses were well explained at the end of the review. By explaining the information lacking in previous studies, it was easy to see how he came to these hypotheses and what he intends to accomplish. The fourth and final study to be reviewed is titled “Intervening Variables in the TV Violence-Aggression Relation: Evidence from Two Countries” by L.R.
Huesmann, K. Lagerspertz, and L. Eron. These researchers attempt to determine the boundary conditions under which the theory of television violence leading to aggression pertains. They also set out to study the impact intervening variables, such as age, culture, and sex, have on the tv violence-aggression relation. Finally, they attempt to further examine how the viewing of television violence relates to aggression.
Most of their study focuses on children imitating what they observe. However, they acknowledge the fact that these observations may be altered due to the society in which they live, their age, or their sex. Therefore, Huesmann, Lagerspertz, and Eron stress the necessity of conducting similar methods of study in various kinds of cultures to gain the necessary information for obtaining a general view of the effects of television violence on children. Their hypotheses, which pertain to the question of why television affects males more than females, are clearly stated. In fact, the whole literature review is pretty clear and straightforward. The purpose, however, of the study is not really clear until close to the end.
It is difficult to figure out where the actual study begins and where the review ends. Most of the other reviews clearly mark where the methodology starts. In conclusion, the studies all basically aim to learn more about the connection between television violence and aggression among young children. However, the majority of the studies deal primarily with the effect of the violence on males. Therefore, females seem to be hardly ever thought of as a different category in this area.
Only one of the studies even mentioned the use of females to achieve different results. Most of the studies were easy to comprehend, and the researchers were fairly straightforward in what they expected to accomplish with their studies.