The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Do you know the impacts of TV, video games, and movies?

Photo credit: Kristine Delicana

Violence in the media is one of the most popular topics that has been carefully researched in many longitudinal studies. In my opinion, it is a powerful learning tool and influences us, knowingly and unknowingly and for some, it might be more influential than others.

This is especially true for young children who are not old enough to know the difference between fiction and reality. Children lack maturity, such as being able to think logically and abstractly as well as the ability to understand media, according to an article on the Wall Street Journal called—The Power of Logical Thinking by Shirley S. Wang, that children typically can’t differentiate fiction vs. non-fiction until around the ages of seven and above.

Does this all really affect us? After all, we do learn from what we watch.

A statement shared on the website of Family Education Network says, “Approximately 20 to 30 percent of the school-aged population remembers what is heard; 40 percent recalls well visually the things that are seen or read; many must write or use their fingers in some manipulative way to help them remember basic facts; other people cannot internalize information or skills unless they use them in real-life activities such as actually writing a letter to learn the correct format.”

Are we born violent or does media make us violent?

Some violent media: TV shows, movies, video games, have an influence on the outcome of how we view things and choose to act. We must also remember— there has always been violence, even before we were consumed by media in our everyday lives.

According to Media Violence and the American Public: Scientific Fact vs. Media Misinformation, violence in dramas have been around since the time of “Macbeth.”

A parent must monitor what their child is watching or playing as much as possible, to assure their minors are watching age appropriate media. This type of parent guidance teaches them to see the difference between fiction and reality—and to avoid validating bad behavior.

The three potentially harmful effects, according to the Psychologists Study TV and Video Game Violence for Potential Harmful Effect, “Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others. Children may be more fearful of the world around them. Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others.”

People are also more likely to develop the idea of the mean world syndrome. According to George Gerbner, mean world syndrome is the caused by the consumption of violent media—and causes you to live in fear of all dangers.

Media violence is generally most influential for people in their adolescent years. Many parents do not monitor what their children watch and play, especially video games. A parent should know what types of video games their children are playing.

For a male’s perspective, I asked my boyfriend about playing video games as a young boy, and if he believes that it made him more violent. He would often choose to be a female in fighting games or a male fighting against another male. However, he never focused on the idea of hitting women because he said females were just simply viewed as another character.

I believe that people become aggressive based on the family and environment they live in—more than the media. I say this because if children do watch violent media and model inappropriate behaviors it should be a caretakers responsibility to redirect their focus and teach them against inappropriate behaviors. If these behaviors are handled early on I believe that children would grow up to be less aggressive.

Media does have an influence on people’s lives, but it is easier to have a more negative impact if a child is lacking proper guidance from their parents.

The media focuses on the idea of violent men and minorities—with an emphasis on cholos, gangsters, soldiers, super hero’s and the glorified bad boy.

I believe it is easy to mirror negative ideas that are projected through the media when people lack positive role models in their lives.

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