CJS446 Discussion

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DQ #2 – Culture of Violence

There has been much debate about the relationship of media violence and aggressive behavior in children and young adults. According to Emanuel Tanay, a retired Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, “violence in the media has been increasing and reaching proportions that are dangerous.” The average American watches nearly 5 hours of video each day, 98% of which is watched on a traditional television set, according to Nielsen Company. Nearly two-thirds of TV programs contain some physical violence. Most self-involving video games contain some violent content, even those for children. Early research on the effects of viewing violence on television — especially among children — found a desensitizing effect and the potential for aggression.

Research by psychologists L. Rowell Huesmann, Leonard Eron and others starting in the 1980s found that children who watched many hours of violence on television when they were in elementary school tended to show higher levels of aggressive behavior when they became teenagers. By observing these participants into adulthood, Huesmann and Eron found that the ones who’d watched a lot of TV violence when they were 8 years old were more likely to be arrested and prosecuted for criminal acts as adults.

Q: The culture of violence theory looks at the broad acceptance of violence in our society and concludes that its acceptance is the foundation for violence within our families. What’s your opinion on the relationship between media violence and aggressive behavior in children? Do you agree or disagree? Why? Should the media and entertainment industry have increased regulation and scrutiny by the federal government? Why/why not? Are letter grades (M,T,E) on video games enough to restrict violent video games from young children? How would you strengthen the current restrictions on media violence on children?

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