Does Media Violence Promote Violent Behavior?



edia violence promoting violent behavior has been a concern to sociologists and psychologists for quite some time. Is media violence creating more violence for our youth, or is it something that is just merely artistic expression and a way to reduce powerlessness within their minds? Debate has emerged from all angles regarding media violence, if it either creates more violence or has no substantial bearing on violence at all.

     The research will show both sides of views on behalf of media violence. Some believe that violent media is promoting violent behavior; though, others believe that violence from people – children – does not come from anything symbolic, but most likely from social problems endured through life and hardships. The research will prove that some people believe media violence promotes violent behavior, while others believe that it is a form of expression and art.


     Violent media is a concern for many parents of younger children and has been for many years. Violent video games, violent movies and so forth are becoming quite symbolic and what are seemingly appealing to younger generations as a way to establish power and or authority. Despite of the growing notion that media violence is promoting violent behavior, there is not any conclusive evidence that shows a relationship binding violent young adults and media violence. Some believe that media violence is technological frustration. Many believe the amount of media violence young children watch or consume to be hazardous; however, others believe that media violence is mere art and a way for young children to be unsheltered, and or knowledgeable about the world they are living in today.

Literature Review

Arguments for Media Violence

     Media violence has been a way to express what technological changes are taking place in our day and age. We are seeing into the minds of people who are perhaps technologically frustrated when viewing violence displayed by media. By showing the capabilities of cutting edge new technologies, we are expressing art and promoting technology and what it can do. Conclusive evidence has yet to be revealed that media violence threatens young children by inducing violent behavior. Many people will argue that media violence is an expression of art, a way to illustrate technological advancement, and perhaps a way to divert our children safely away from living too sheltered of a life.

     Media violence is an expression of art, many people will argue. The people who make media violence may in fact represent its worth as entertainment with an edge, that which will arouse reflexivity. That is, movies which do not have much of a story line but have bodies blowing to smithereens, splashing blood all over the movie theatres, may compensate for the lack of meaning within them. Getting a natural reflex for a response from these films is how screen writers of violence seek to amalgamate its viewers. A horror film screen writer, Tarantino, say’s, “[…] He doesn’t take violence ‘very seriously’ and describes it as ‘funny’ and ‘outrageous’” (as cited in Maasik, 2009). Many will argue that violence is funny and it is artistic expression.

     Technology advances faster than many of us can keep up with. Media violence is another way that men keep up with technology; though express its change by using the latest in gunfire to shred human flesh. Arguers for violent media might say, “[…] The carelessness and devaluation of […] human flesh is both a recognition of the high-tech, powerful and uncontrollable subjects we (men, mostly) have become through technology […]” (Maasik, 2009). This is not to say men are promoting violence in people, or children of real life circumstance, but merely to show that men are becoming powerful in their ability to display technology advancements through media violence. Arguers of media violence might in fact say it’s a surefire way to get a rise out of people in a movie theatre, but certainly doesn’t promote violent behavior in children or adults.

     Media violence is a way to provide children a shelter less life. More often, children are not able to see what takes place in the world which they live in; thus, they will grow up incapable of enduring real life circumstance. For example, a child might be raised sheltered from seeing blood guts and gore, though go through medical college to become a doctor, but not be able to stomach working with blood, or bodies of disfigurement. A quoted example from Melanie Moore, a Psychologist, at the website “Media Violence Network” is as follows:

Fear, greed, power-hunger, rage: these are aspects of ourselves that we try not to experience in our lives but often want, even need, to experience vicariously through stories of others. Children need violent entertainment in order to explore the inescapable feelings that they’ve been taught to deny, and to reintegrate those feelings into a more whole, more complex, more resilient selfhood (Moore, 2010).

This information Malanie Moore conveys is allowing us to understand and see that children need not to be sheltered. We need to allow our children to toughen up in various ways, but also by enduring media violence.

     Many arguers of media violence are convinced that it is not promoting violence in children. Media violence is expression of art and a way to show cutting edge technology work at its finest. Also, media violence may in fact help children to feel more confident and less sheltered. Media violence is not promoting violent behavior; it’s just a way to bring reflexivity out of adults and children.

Arguments against media violence

     Media violence has been seemingly threatening to younger children. As the popularity of media violence rises, so does violent acts among younger generations. Although there is no conclusive evidence that supports the theory of violent activity increase due to media violence increase, there is still a certainty that violence is easier to access than it was in earlier years. Therefore, some may argue that children are getting ideas of solving their problems by acts of severe violence. Many argue against media violence that it only promotes violent behavior in children; that it is to blame for more of the severe school shootings that have taken place here in the American states, and there are ways we can teach to prevent violence as a conflict resolution.

     Aggressive behavior may increase in small children who watch violent and aggressive natured video games and movies. Although violent behavior and violent actions by small children are said not to be caused by the consumption of violent media, there is research showing an aggressive display of behavior and attitude due to an increase in consuming violent entertainment. Here is a portion of a statement from The American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, “Children who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts. Children exposed to violence are more likely to assume that acts of violence are acceptable behavior” (Statement, 2000). As with anything, the more you involve yourself with acts of violence, either by watching violent entertainment, or by playing a violent video game , you are likely to learn these acts of violence as an optional means to resolve social conflict.

     School shootings that have taken place in some of our high schools and colleges could have been prevented by less entertainment violence. Entertainment violence teaches violence as a way to resolve social conflict. Some students in college and or high school are often provoked to feel rejected and or isolated. Feeling no other way to be accepted other than to act out in violence in order to gain respect, young adults are planning massacres. Without learning from entertainment violence, students who’ve carried out plans to shoot up schools such as the Columbine shooting in 1999 could have found another way to resolve their feelings of rejection.

     Jigsaw class rooms are a type of classroom setting where teachers will split up their students based on socially and racially diverse groups. This will allow students to teach each other, thus, they can gain respect and compassion for the differences among their groups (Smith, 2001). This type of instruction setting within schools will most certainly reduce the amount of rejection students may endure. From the website, American Psychology Association, “Without the taunting and social rejection that many school shooters have recounted–and with the compassionate environment that jigsaw classrooms build–tragedies like Columbine never would have happened, Aronson asserted, because the shooters never would have seen violence as the only way to gain respect” (Smith, 2001). As parents and teachers we all need to show different ways to teach our children, so that media violence may remain as an expression of art, but not the only way to resolve social differences.

     Entertainment violence is showing young adults and children a way to handle social conflict. The more children view media violence, the more likely they will use violence as an effective way to handle social conflict. If children do not learn additional ways to solve social conflict, they will grow to commit heinous crimes such as gunfire within schools and so forth. Bringing school shootings to a minimum and perhaps stopping them altogether can be accomplished by creating more diversity within schools, churches, etc. Keeping media violence as expression of art can be accomplished by parents teaching their children structure through happiness and joy.


     Violent entertainment is showing younger generations a way to handle social conflict. If by parents not providing structure within their home creates problems, those very problems will then be strewn much further then the home. Entertainment violence is an expression of art. Although a gruesome expression of art, it is an exciting art that folks in theatres can share spontaneous reflexivity and amalgamate as one. That is, being together in a movie theatre, witnessing a gruesome attack against the bodily flesh, we can all jump back in our seats with excitement and joy. Technology advancements are often displayed in gruesome art form. Media violence is an expression of art, but it can mislead children who may endure sociological distress and cause them to use what they see as a way to solve their sociological dilemmas.


     Parents should make certain they are raising their children with the right amount of structure and love. Not enough love and structure in homes may cause children to grow with sociological dysfunction. When sociological dysfunction sets in within an individual, and then that individual begins to view entertainment violence, that individual may learn conflict resolution in a violent form. Therefore, parents should give much love, guidance, and structure, to provide children true happiness and completeness. They can then learn from media violence and view it as expression of art and technological advancement, rather than see it as a form to resolve sociological dysfunction or social circumstances of conflict.


     Violent entertainment may be more threatening to an individual who already suffers with sociological dysfunction. Children who are established in a fun loving and happy home will be those of who may more often react to the violent entertainment as structural and not to solve social conflict. Viewing to much violent media can cause children to learn a reaction to social conflict that they otherwise may have never thought possible. That is, if we allow our children to more often access something that is not positive, the result can be negative. Therefore, parents should be mindful of the things they allow their children to consume. Furthermore, most of all, parents of younger generations need to have a healthy balance of everything they allow their children to consume. Enough stability and diversity present in any home will result in most children viewing violent entertainment in ways that will benefit them and help them establish a more self understanding. That is, media violence will remain artistic expression and technological advancement that opposes something to be viewed by children as to learn acts of violence.

Works Cited

Maasik, Sonia. Signs of Life in The USA. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009.
Moore, Melanie. Media Violence Debates. 11 11 2010. 13 11 2010. web. <>.
Smith, Deborah. Preventing another Columbine. December 2001. 14 11 2010. web. <>.
Statement, Joint. The Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children. 26 July 2000. 14 11 2010.web. <>.

Categories: Research & Opinion

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