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J Adolesc Health. 2000 Aug;27(2 Suppl):30-4.

Media violence.

Author information

1
Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA. jcantor@facstaf.wisc.edu

Abstract

Research on the effects of media violence is not well understood by the general public. Despite this fact, there is an overwhelming consensus in the scientific literature about the unhealthy effects of media violence. Meta-analyses show that media-violence viewing consistently is associated with higher levels of antisocial behavior, ranging from the trivial (imitative violence directed against toys) to the serious (criminal violence), with many consequential outcomes in between (acceptance of violence as a solution to problems, increased feelings of hostility, and the apparent delivery of painful stimulation to another person). Desensitization is another well-documented effect of viewing violence, which is observable in reduced arousal and emotional disturbance while witnessing violence, the reduced tendency to intervene in a fight, and less sympathy for the victims of violence. Although there is evidence that youth who are already violent are more likely to seek out violent entertainment, there is strong evidence that the relationship between violence viewing and antisocial behavior is bidirectional. There is growing evidence that media violence also engenders intense fear in children which often lasts days, months, and even years. The media's potential role in solutions to these problems is only beginning to be explored, in investigations examining the uses and effects of movie ratings, television ratings, and the V-chip, and the effects of media literacy programs and public education efforts. Future research should explore important individual differences in responses to media violence and effective ways to intervene in the negative effects.

PMID:
10904203
DOI:
10.1016/s1054-139x(00)00129-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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