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The Effect Of The Media On Aggression In Children

1117 words - 5 pages

The Effect of the Media on Aggression in Children.

Media is of importance to many people for many reasons, including entertainment and escapism. The mass production of televisions in the 1950’s has led to a phenomenon previously unheard of, with statistics showing that as of 2013, 79% of the world has at least one television set per household (TVTechnology, 2013). It therefore stands to reason that children may have easy access to media that may not be age appropriate. Is it accurate to assume, however, that media can cause aggression in children? The Oxford dictionary defines aggression as: “feelings of anger or antipathy resulting in hostile or violent behaviour”. This definition ...view middle of the document...

Evidence showing that the handling of a gun can increase the hormone testosterone, substantiates this view (Klinesmith et al, 2006), with an excess in the hormone often linked with aggressive behaviour.[ Therefore if Nature is correct, men would be seen as more prone to violence and most anecdotal evidence agrees with this sentiment]. The most valid Biological explanation of aggression is the concept of physiological arousal, part of the human stress response via the adrenal system. When you become frightened or excited the heart beats faster, and this subsequently returns to “normal”. If this happens on multiple occasions, desensitisation can occur and a higher amount of adrenaline is required in order to achieve the same “high” as previously. Therefore aggression is [either resultant of adrenaline seeking or] due to the lack of regular exposure to adrenaline. A famous study involving children was conducted in order to assess this hypothesis using the game “Quake 2” (Unsworth et al, 2007) in which appropriate students were selected to play the game and measure aggression before, during and afterwards. Firstly they completed a questionnaire in order to assess base levels of specific personality traits and to address ethical issues, such as the protection of participants and their confidentiality. Participants were then instructed to play the game and freely commentate on their experience. Afterwards they would be re-evaluated using the same tests as beforehand in order to ensure consistency. The results showed that 71.4% of the participant’s aggression did not change. This could be indicative of demand characteristics, as participants were aware of observation and therefore may have based their actions upon what they perceived was expected of them i.e. lack of aggression. These findings would substantiate the Nature hypothesis, as all players had prior experience in gaming, and therefore could have a potentially higher adrenaline tolerance and thus such a small exposure to the game would incite a lower chance of developing aggressive behaviours.

The Nurture aspect of the debate corresponds best to Social Learning Theory, wherein all behavioural tendencies are learned through the environment, often through imitation of a model’s behaviour. In this instance children would choose a role model (for example a celebrity in media), who they admire and wish to emulate. The child must meet four requirements in order to be successful: Attention – they must observe the behaviour of the model (for example a celebrity via media); Retention – they must remember the specifics; Motor Reproduction – they have to be able to...

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