Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Effects of Mass Media Violence

With technological advancement, the ages of mass media audiences are getting smaller and smaller.  Young children are now widely exposed to mass media through the forms of not only television shows, but also video games, iPad, and maybe even cell phones.  While I was taking Media Studies 10, I read a few articles regarding how violence in media, and especially in video games have severe effects on children. Some effects include desensitization and habituation, and the mean world syndrome.

Desensitization and Habituation
People become less affected with violence after repeated exposure to displays of violence.  Generally, heavy viewers of television and violent video game players respond with less emotion to violence than do light viewers and players. According to research results, video games can alter physiological responses typically aroused by real violence, and that people becomes indifferent to it.  It is only reasonable to conclude that among the games purchased and played by children, a majority contains violence.  After repeated exposure, and performing violence actions, kids become desensitized to violence, and are more habitually aggressive. Unlike television viewers, video players are more actively involved with the process. Also, television viewers are not directly rewarded for aggressive behaviors observed in violent TV, however video game players are.  They are immediately rewarded, and are repeatedly asked to perform the action.

Mean World syndrome
This happens when heavy exposure to violence alters how people view the world – they become less trustful of the real society.  Most people, through the course of their lives, have direct contact with only a small section of the world. They are only exposed to the physical and social environment that is involved with their daily routines.  As a result, people can only form impression about the part of society that they have no contact with through external sources.  Most of that impression is formed through mass media, from the news stories that we have read, or the television shows that we watch. When what is presented about the world is full of violence and malicious people trying to hurt you, it can distort knowledge about the real world.  People who indulge themselves with violent video games perceive the world as dangerous and are less trustful of others. 

Violent games becomes popular.

The external world's effect on children.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for bringing in video games, Lucy. We'll actually talk a bit about a more recent example on Tuesday as well as research that complicates any sort of easy cause-effect claims about violence in games. It would also be worth talking about why children are such a favored group both in terms of research and rhetoric. Is it accurate or fair to characterize children as merely imitative beings?