UA COMM 309 - Violent Content: Definitions, Content, Issues

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Comm 309- Week 3 Notes (Lecture 5)Violent Content: Definitions, Content, Issues Questions we will ask about media violence- Is there violence in the media?- What does the research say?- What theories account for effects?- Video game violence- Why are the effects denied?- What are the myths about the effects?Parental Concerns - Percent of parents who favor new regulations to limit the amount of sex and violence in TV shows during the early evening hours:o A lot: 43%o Somewhat: 33%o Only a little: 14%o Not at all: 4%Pediatrics - *graph on d2l *- About 65% of pediatricians believe that violent video games increase aggression in children Your thoughts on media violence: examples- Psycho: Alfred Hitchcock- Saving Private Ryan: Steven Spielberg- Spartacus- Blood and Sand: Cable Premium - Casino: Martin Scorsese- Home Alone 2: Holiday favorite (ABC)o Out of all of these examples, Home Alone seems to have the most effects because of theaudience that is watching, no consequences due to the violence, humor involved Is there violence in the media?- Initial research was done by George Gerbner - 16 analysis starting in 1972- Includes violence that it realistic, serious, fantasy, or humorous - “accidental” violence and “acts of nature” are recorded as violence - Would measure a week’s programming (problem with this-you could have a bad week of TV programming)Key Features of the Definition of Violence - Intention to harm- Physical harm - Animate beings as perpetrators and targets - Features of the sample:o Composite week each year-computer generatedo Used 23 channelso 6am-11pmo 3185 programs year 1o 3235 programs year 2o 3212 programs year 3- Results:o Across the 3 years of the study, a steady 60% of programs contain violence o Much of TV violence is still glamorized (graph on d2l)o Violence continues to pervade American TVo Most violence on TV continues to be sanitized (victims show no pain or the pain is unrealistic) graph on d2lo Very few programs emphasize an anti-violence theme (graph on d2l) less than 2-4%o Guns are often used in violent interactions (around 25% of the time a hand gun in being used in violent shows) graph on d2l  The average rate of scenes of gun violence per hour for the highest grossing films since 1985: graph on d2l TV for Children: High Risk Portrayals- The following plot elements which are all featured in the same scene:o Attractive perpetratoro Violence that is justifiedo Violence that goes unpunishedo Violence that shows no pain or harmo Violence that seems realistic to the viewer - Shows that have these risks:o Music videos: 4%o Reality: 1%o Drama: 11%o Comedy: 1%o Movies: 33%o Children’s shows (cartoons): 50%- Children’s shows and violence:o Programs with violence: 60%o Acts per hour: 14.1o Scenes per hour: 6.5o Unreal harm: 66%- Non-children’s shows and violence:o Programs with violence: 57%o Act per hour: 5.6o Scenes per hour: 2.7o Unreal harm: 26%Conclusions- Children are exposed to substantial violence in the media - The context of the violence directed at children poses risks - Consequences within these violent portrayals are important - An average American child will see 200,000 violent acts and 16,000 murders on TV by age 18 - Two-thirds of all programming contains violence- Programs designed for children more often contain violence than adult TV- Most violent acts go unpunished on TV- The consequences of violence are rarely depicted - Many shows glamorize violence- In children’s G-rated programs violence is common - “good guys” beating up “bad guys” gives a message that violence is normal and okay (Lecture 6)Media Violence Effects Major Reports in the US on TV and film violence- 1972 Surgeon General’s Report- 1982 NIMH Report- 1992 CDC Report on Violence- 1993 APA Commission on Youth and Violence - 1993 NRC Report on Violence- 1996 AMA Report- 2002 Surgeon General Report on Violence- 2002-2011 AAP, APA Policy Statements - American Medical Association (AMA): “Children’s exposure to violence in the mass media, particularly at young ages, can have lifelong consequences” - American Psychological Association (APA): “There is absolutely no doubt that higher levels of viewing violence in the mass media are correlated with increased acceptance of aggressive attitudes and increased aggressive behavior” Violent Behavior - Conclusions we feel comfortable about:o Individual difference in the propensity to be violent appear very early in life o The more aggressive child tends to grow up to be the MORE VIOLENT adult o Violent behavior is ALWAYS the product of MUTLIPLE interacting factors - Factors which increase risk of violent behavior (according to the American Academy of Child andAdolescent Psychiatry):o Previous aggressive or violent behavior o Being the victim of physical abuse and sexual abuse o Exposure to violence in the home or community o Genetic (family heredity)o Exposure to violence in media o Use of drugs or alcohol o Presence of firearms in home o Combo of stressful family socioeconomic factorso Brain damage from head injury American Academy of Pediatrics: Policy Statements - Slides on d2l Report of the Media Violence Commission- What is clear is that exposure to media violence is one risk factor for increased aggression in both the short run and the long run - Media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, nightmares, and fear of being harmed What are the Effects?- Aggression o Exposure to violence media increases aggression o Experiments have shown effects immediately after exposure (electric shocks, noise blasts, physical attacks)o Field experiments show similar results o Graph on d2l o Longitudinal studies (Huesmann and Eron) 15 year-long study  More aggressive as adults independent of childhood aggression  Twice as likely to have assaulted spouse  18% more likely to have threatened or used a gun or knife on someone in last year  More likely to have been arrested for crime  22 years later from the original observation-criminal behavior predicted by TV exposure at age 8  Graph on d2l  The effect size is small for media violence; .3%  Media violence contributes about 10% to aggressive behavior  Conclusions on long-term studies: Exposure to violent media during childhood and adolescences is consistently related to serious violent and non-violent antisocial behavior in young adult offenders Childhood exposure to violent media

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