Hey everyone, so this month I’ve been studying a module on audience and reception. What really stood out to me, are the effects of media violence on children and the way in which violence on television impact children’s behaviour. The topic made me think about violence in cartoons, television shows, music, video games, movies and even the news, whether real or fictional, and how exactly these media impact the behaviours of children. Do they encourage violent acts? Do they cause a gradual change in attitude and personalities? Or, do they not do anything at all? Is there really a correlation between media violence and violent acts of a child? Or is it merely as a result of the environment in which they have grown up?
In Trinidad and Tobago there appears to be a spike in violence in schools; from children with weapons, to physical fights and to even bullying. It is of course common practice, as in many countries, to suspect the violent television shows or movies they watch, or the violent video games they play to be the culprit for their violent acts. However, can media content really be blamed for the actions of children? There are a variety of environmental factors that contribute to children’s behaviour. The repeated exposure to real life gangs and gang violence in their neighbourhoods, the violent interaction of their parents, and even peer pressure from other children, who have been exposed to violence in their daily lives, can all be significant factors in children developing violent behaviour. While a child may not have been directly exposed to violent activity, their friends who have been exposed to violence can have a substantial effect on the choices they make and encourage them to develop violent behaviour.
Thus, it is equally important to look at a variety of factors surrounding the cause of violence in children. It is equally possible that children may even be drawn to different types of violent media because they have grown accustomed to violence around them and they feel able to relate to the violent content.
It seems unclear as to why the media should take the brunt of the blame for violence in children when there are so many other factors involved in any given situation. What’s your opinion?