Academic journal article Studia Psychologica

Testing the Moderating Role of Social Context on Media Violence Effect in the Case of Peer Aggression among Adolescents

Academic journal article Studia Psychologica

Testing the Moderating Role of Social Context on Media Violence Effect in the Case of Peer Aggression among Adolescents

Article excerpt

Introduction

Many of the research studies conducted during the last fifty years suggest that exposure to media can both positively and negatively influence child and adolescent development, particularly the social and emotional aspects (e.g., Wilson, 2008). However, the unfavorable effects of media have raised more public concerns, particularly in recent times, when increased affordability and availability of fixed and mobile media platforms have resulted in the possibility of media exposure 24 hours a day. Violence is the most researched negative media content. Analyses of TV programs reveal that by 18 years of age an average American young person will have viewed 200 000 acts of violence on television (Huston et al., 1992) and most of them in children's TV programs (Wilson et al., 2002). The content analysis of Croatian public and commercial television stations indicated that Croatian children are also exposed to significant amount of TV violence (Wertag, Sakic, Boban, & Bakic-Tomic, 2006). In addition to TV programs children and youth are also exposed to potentially unsafe contents, particularly violence, through the Internet and through video games (Woodward & Gridina, 2000). An American survey of over 1500 10- to 15-year-olds found that 38% of adolescents had been exposed to violence on the Internet (Ybarra et al., 2008). The analysis ofvideo games conducted by the USA Entertainment Software Rating Board research revealed that 90% of all games rated for children 10 years or older contain violence (Gentile, 2008).

The amount of exposure to media presents an important risk factor for children's behavior since the effects of media are subtle and cumulative over time (Prot & Gentile, 2014). Most of the studies revealed that children on average watch TV around three hours per day (AEM/ UNICEF, 2014; Bilic, 2010; Brug et al., 2012), and some even show that children spent more time watching television than being in school (Marini, Dane, & Bosacki, 2006). Time spent in playing video games adds to children and youth daily screen time since almost half of youth play it every day around 1 to 3 hours (Bilic, 2010; Lenhart et al., 2008; Verloigne et al., 2015). In addition, almost all adolescents (97%), and somewhat fewer children, use the Internet (UCLA Internet Report, 2003). Half of children and adolescents who use the Internet use it every day both in USA (Lenhart, Madden, & Hitlin, 2005), and in Croatia (Hrabri telefon i Poliklinika za zastitu djece grada Zagreba, 2008). To sum it all up, the average American child, between the age of 8 and 18 years, spends 6 hours and 21 minutes every day using some kind of entertainment media (Roberts, Foehr, & Rideut, 2005), and that is the longest time period that a child spends in any activity, except sleeping (Roberts, 2000). Similar duration of TV and video games use was found among the youth in European countries as well (Verloigne et al., 2015).

Many studies have shown that exposure to media violence is a significant risk factor for aggressive thoughts, emotions, attitudes and behavior in youth viewers and users (Potter & Riddle, 2007). It was found that exposure to violent content on television, video games and the Internet increases the likelihood of aggressive and violent behavior among children and adolescents (Anderson et al., 2004; Bushman & Huesmann, 2006). Although experimental studies have found causal relationship between violence in media and aggressive behavior, the exposure to media is neither a necessary nor sufficient cause of youth's aggression (Bushman & Anderson, 2015). The media effects that have been found are larger for milder forms of aggression (d = 0.39) than for criminal behavior (d = 0.20) (Bushman et al., 2016). Concerning duration of effects, both immediate and long lasting effects of media violence have been found. As for immediate and short term effects, media violence have been found to produce physiological arousal, priming of aggressive cognitions and scripts and triggering of an automatic imitation of aggressive behaviors (Berkowitz, 1993; Bjorkquist, 1985; Bushman & Huesmann, 2001; Green, 1975). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.