Violence in the media made a presence since the broadcasting of television in the 1940s. For over 50 years research has been conducted in order to learn and prove that media violence has a negative effect on children. Many studies have proven this to be true. Self-regulation in parenting or children may prevent children and adolescents from becoming aggressive after watching violence on television. This paper will discuss media influence and how pro-social television can affect people in a positive way.
Violence in the Media
According to Murray (2008) media violence has a negative effect on children and has been researched for fifty years. Violence does not exist only on television anymore, today; violence is seen on the games that people play. Violence is also in print, on the radio and on the streets. If media violence has an effect on people, than it must stand true that positive media also has an effect on people.
Programs on television that benefit the development of children in a positive way are Sesame Street because children learn with the use of amusing characters. Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was also a great learning show for children and in fact so was the Electric Company which was also a child’s learning program. The past few years have brought us Little Einstein which comes on DVD which provides a multitude of lessons, including children how to say numbers and some words in different languages. Compare this with toddlers watching violence on television.
Some people argue that media violence does not have a negative effect on children, however; studies have shown the opposite. According to Murray (2008) children who watched Batman and Superman cartoons are more aggressive and that they are more active on the playground and in the classroom. Further, these children were rougher than others when playing with toys. This indicates that violence has a negative effect on children whereas Murray maintains that children who had watched Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, who come from low-income families had positive experiences as their the effect was an increase in their prosocial helping behavior.
According to Murray (2008) Bandura’s “social-cognitive” approach and Berkowitz’s outline of a “cognitive-association” analysis posit a role for emotional arousal as an affective tag that may facilitate lasting influences. Murray further maintains that “People are easily aroused by the emotional expressions of others. Vicarious arousal operates mainly through an intervening self-arousal process… That is, seeing others react emotionally to instigating conditions activates emotion-arousing thoughts.”
A Self-Regulating Program
Triple P is a self-regulating program designed to help parents raise their children in a family friendly environment. The program incorporates intervention on five levels and they are as follows: mass media, child care and school, health care services, political system; religious organizations and work sites. The program focuses on self-regulation, self-sufficiency, self-efficacy, personal agency, problem solving, The program is media based (Sanders, 2008). The program helps parent to gain the above parenting skills and helps change and maintain their children’s behaviors.
The possibility that actions and emotions on television programs do not affect people who watch is nonsensical. If pro-social programs and entertainment are positive for a child than media violence must be negative for a child? Media either affects people or it does not; it cannot contradict itself. Look at the signature and lifetime channels; grown women watch dramatic programs and weep. Media gives people entertainment, ideas, emotions and some are helpful and unfortunately, some are not.
For over 50 years research has been conducted in order to learn and prove that media violence has a negative effect on children. Media violence has a negative effect on children and programs such as Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood give children positive experiences and the effect was an increase in their pro-social helping behavior. Media gives people entertainment, ideas, emotions and some are helpful and unfortunately, some are not.
Murray, J. P. (2008). Media Violence: The Effects Are Both Real And Strong, American
Behavioural Scientist 2008 51: 1212 doi:10.1177/0002764207312018
Sanders, M. R. (2008). Triple P-Positive Parenting Program as a Public Health
Approach to Strengthening Parenting. Journal of Family Psychology 2008. Vol. 22,
No. 3, 506-517 doi:10.1037/0893-3188.8.131.526