Peace Psychology

As much as America has developed over the past hundred years, violence has grown to be a very critical part of today’s society; domestic violence, workplace violence, school violence, gang violence and etc. The rate of violence is enormous and as sad as it is to say, it starts with the young children in our society. Children are growing to be a very significant part of the high violence rates today. People may wonder where children learn violence at such an early age, although many of it is learned in your own house, or at school, the biggest source of violent information is learned from the media.
Children’s television such as cartoons who portray violence to be a positive act of entertainment, or video games in which the main objective is to steal, kill and hurt others in order to advance through the game and even movies which pan out a long sequence of various acts of crime and violence. Violence is ultimately everywhere, and it is hard to avoid, especially as a child in today’s growing age, as hard as it is to avoid as a child, it is even harder to not imitate what is seen in the house, or on TV or in particular video games. Albert Bandura is famous psychologist who is most know for his social learning theory.
Bandura believed that all behavior was learned through imitation rather than genetic factors. He believed that social influence such as what is seen on TV, movies and videos games is primarily responsible for children’s growth and behavior. Albert Bandura’s (1961) famous Bobo Doll experiment is a prime example of how children will indeed imitate what they see done by an elder person such as a role model. Selected kids who were chosen as participants for this study sat behind a window and watched as their parents walked into a room and intentionally punched and kicked a bobo doll and harshly beat it.

Then as the kids proceeded into the room with the bobo doll, they imitated their parents every move by kicking, punching and beating the bobo doll just like their parents just did minutes prior. Although this experiment has been debated for various reasons in the past, it is still a very powerful and informative experiment that goes to show how vital it is for kids to be exposed to the proper material in order to keep them from disruptive behavior.
Frequent exposure to violent television shows and video games can really affect a child’s upbringing, it begins to desensitize children as well as affect their moral development as they begin to believe that violence and crime are part of the norm, and these immoral acts won’t deviate them from society. According to Funk, Buchman, Jenks and Bechtoldt (2003), “The possibility that exposure to violent video games will result in desensitization and subsequent impairment of the processes involved in the moral evaluation of aggression and violence has not yet been studied.
However, violent video games condone, promote, and justify the use of violence while concealing realistic consequences. When playing a violent video game, the player first observes repeated demonstrations of violent actions. To succeed, the player must then identify and select the violent strategies built in by the game designers. Choosing not to apply the authorized violent tactics results in defeat or obliteration. Players who prudently choose violent strategies experience cycles of practice coupled with positive reinforcement for their astute decisions.
In violent video games, violence is acceptable because it is not real; therefore, ‘‘victims’’ do not really suffer “(2003, P. 416). Although their hasn’t been sufficient studies done on the direct desensitization of video games and TV on children, it still has a profound impact on children as they are positively reinforced consistently for the violent acts in video games and as an affect of doing so, it begins to take a toll on their moral development seeing in which they are being rewarded for their immoral acts. Desensitization to violence involves changes in both emotional and cognitive responsivity. Changes in emotional responsivity are seen in the blunting or absence of emotional reactions to violent events, which would commonly elicit a strong response. Cognitive changes are demonstrated when the customary view that violence is uncommon and unlikely is transformed to the belief that violence is mundane and inevitable.
Empathy and attitudes towards violence are components of the process of moral evaluation that may reflect both emotional and cognitive desensitization, with empathy decreasing and proviolence attitudes being strengthened” (Funk, Buchman, Jenks and Bechtoldt, 2003, P. 416-417). As kids become desensitized to violence, their emotional and cognitive responses become altered. In a violent situation where a child would normally be threatened by what’s going on, when a child’s emotional esponsivity is altered, they will react differently to a violent situation and won’t be as threatened or feared by what’s going on. When an innocent bystander has a gun pulled on them, it will elicit a strong response of fear and terror, a child who has become desensitized to violence and has been emotionally altered, they won’t be as prone to eliciting that same response but would rather be much more calm and collective in the same situation. A child who has become cognitively altered will expect violence and when it occurs, won’t be as threatened by it.
In the same situation when a innocent bystander has a gun pulled on them, they will be shocked and terrified because they would have never expected for such a act of violence and crime to occur, but in the same situation with a cognitively altered child who has become cognitively desensitized, they won’t be as shocked by it because they expected it and believed it would happen and that it is common. Becoming desensitized at an early age can have a very negative effect on children as they begin to age, they will see crime and violence as an acceptable cause rather than an immoral act of indecency.
Video games have become a very powerful representation of crime and violence to young children all over the world. The acceptance of these immoral acts in these video games have altered the representations of these acts in many children’s minds, before where they may have been seen as negative, may now be seen as positive. According to Funk, Buchman, Jenks and Bechtoldt (2003), “Exposure to violence in video games may influence the development of proviolence attitudes because, in such games, violence is not only justified and rewarded, it is presented as fun.
In contemporary violent video games violence is at the same time both realistic and unreal, negating the suffering of victims. Playing violent video games encourages fantasizing about aggression and cognitive rehearsal of aggressive acts; this may not only strengthen proviolence attitudes but also, through cognitive priming, increase the accessibility of aggressive behaviors in real life (Eron, 2001)” (2003, P. 418).
If children begin to believe that violence and criminal activities are fun and exciting and worthwhile, they will me much more prone to doing these acts and feeling more comfortable while performing and or being around these immoral acts. Many people don’t understand how powerful the media just is, parents put their children in front of the TV screen and believe that as long as they are preoccupied they will be ok, but they regret to realize how much of an impact television and especially the media can have on children, ‘‘Media is the most ubiquitous source of violence encountered by the majority of children’’ (Groves 1997, p. 72). Media violence is everywhere for children to view, in books, video games, magazines, newspapers, school, television, from friends and even from family, violence is ultimately everywhere, and children are exposed to it today then they have ever been before. According to Erwin and Morton, “Young children and their families don’t have to leave their homes to witness violence; it is brought directly into their homes on a daily basis.
Before young children even enter kindergarten they are exposed to over 4,000 h of television viewing (American Psychological Association 2005) and by the time they leave elementary school children will have witnessed 8,000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence on just television alone (Levin 1998). Nearly 1,000 children’s television programs were analyzed in Britain and results revealed that 39% contained violence including 4,000 violent acts involving shootings and other forms of physical assault (Gunter and Harrison 1997).
In a study examining violence in over 2,700 television programs across 23 channels of broadcast networks, public broadcasting, and cable, Wilson et al. (2002) found that nearly 7 out of 10 children’s shows contain some type of physical aggression and that, within a typical 1 h children’s program, a child is likely to witness one violent act every 4 min. In comparisons between children’s and other types of television programming, the study authors concluded that ‘‘violence is more prevalent and concentrated in programs specifically targeted to viewers under age 13’’ (p. 7). The amount of violence in shows specifically aimed at young children is inexcusable. Incredibly, the average American child spends approximately 1,023 h per year watching television which is greater than the 900 h children spend in school each year (National Center for Children Exposed to Violence 2003)” (2008, P. 105). These numbers are enormous considering the time children spend watching TV is greater than the amount of time children spend in the classroom.
Although the classroom is meant for learning, the media has become a very powerful source of information itself and has become a strong means of learning for many children today. According to reports by the Surgeon General’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behavior, which was created in 1969, as well as the National Institute of Mental Health, the three primary effects of media violence on children are (a) reduced sensitivity to the pain and anguish of others, (b) increased fearfulness, and (c) greater aggressive or violent behavior toward others (American Psychological Association 2005).
In addition, The American Psychological Association (2005) maintained that existing research suggests that exposure to violence in the media leads to increased acceptance of aggressive attitudes and behavior in children” (Erwin and Morton, 2008, P. 107). The three primary effects by the media are all critical components in violent criminals that exist today, reduced sensitivity to the pain and anguish of others helps criminals do immoral acts without feeling any sympathy for the people they are doing it to.
Increased fearfulness makes them more aggressive people who feel confident corrupting the lives of others, and finally greater aggressive or violent behavior which is the vital component of being a violent criminal. “Research suggested that television violence does increase children’s real-life aggressive behavior, beliefs, and attitudes (Boyatzis and Matillo 1995; Gentile et al. 2003; Paik and Comstock 1994; Wood et al. 1991). In a 15-year longitudinal study, Huesmann et al. (2003) found that exposure to media violence in childhood is not only associated with aggressive behavior, but is also a predictor of violent behavior.
There is also a greater tolerance for aggression in others when children are exposed to television violence (Molitor and Hirsch 1994). In addition to researchers, early childhood advocates argue that witnessing media violence can have a negative impact on children’s perceptions of reality. Children under the age of eight are not prepared for or developmentally capable of discriminating reality from fantasy or understanding the subtleties in communication, action or motivation (NAEYC 1994).
Because children are still developing emotionally and cognitively they are likely to imitate what they see on television without distinguishing reality from fantasy thus becoming more indifferent and less empathetic about aggression in the real world (Groves 1997; Kirsh 2005). Re-enacting in play what is seen in the real world is how children begin to make sense of the world around them. Imaginative play, which is a necessary and vital part of early childhood learning, is negatively impacted as the result of frequent exposure to violence in the media (NAEYC 1994). Media violence also demonstrates to young children that aggression is an cceptable and viable option for solving problems, abuses of power are necessary in interpersonal relationships, and a distorted appeal of war (Carlsson-Paige and Levin 1988)” (Erwin and Morton, 2008, P. 107). This current research goes to prove how critical and important it is for parents to realize the impact the media can have on their children. The more children are exposed to the crime and violence that occurs in the media, the more aggressive and violent they become, it has a significant effect on their moral development as well as their tolerance for violence crime.
It also explains how children imitate what they see on TV and as they begin to believe that violence and crime are socially accepted by the media, they will me more prone to committing acts of violence and or crime. Ultimately the media has a very influential impact on young children, and if parents do not become more aware of this, our youth will continue to grow into to a violent and criminally fulfilled society. References American Psychology Association. (2005). Violence in the media:Psychologists help protect children from harmful effects. Retrieved April 4, 2005, from APA Online: ttp://ww. psychologymatters. org/mediaviolence. html. Bandura, A. , Ross, D. , & Ross, S. A. (1961). Transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63, 575-582. Boyatzis, C. J. , & Matillo, G. M. (1995). Effects of ‘the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ on children’s aggression with peers. Child Study Journal, 25(1), 45–57. Carlsson-Paige, N. , & Levin, D. (1988). Young children and war play. Educational Leadership, 45(4), 80–84. Eron, L. D. (2001). Seeing is believing: How viewing violence alters attitudes and aggressive behavior.
In A. C. Bohart, & D. J. Stipek (Eds. ), Constructive and destructive behavior: Implications for family, school and society ( pp. 49–60). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Erwin, E. J. , &Morton, N. (2008). Exposure to media violence and young children with and without disabilities: Powerful opportunities for family-professional partnerships. Early Childhood Education Journal, 36, 105-112. Funk, J. B. , Buchman, D. D. , Jenks, J. , Bechtoldt, H. (2003). Playing violent video games, desensitization, and moral evaluation in children. Applied Developmental Psychology, 24, 13-436. Gentile, D. A, Linder, J. R. , & Walsh, D. A. (2003, April). Looking through time: A longitudinal study of children’s media violence consumption at home and aggressive behaviors at school. Paper presented at the Biennial Conference of the Society for Research in Child Development, Tampa, FL. Groves, B. (1997). Growing up in a violent world: The impact of family and community violence on young children and their families. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 17(1), 74–102. Retrieved February 8, 2005 from the Academic Search Premier. Gunter, B. , & Harrison, J. (1997).
Violence in children’s programmes on British television. Child Society, 11, 143–156. doi:10. 1111/j. 1099-0860. 1997. tb00022. x. Huesmann, L. R. , Moise-Titus, J. , Podolski, C. , & Eron, L. D. (2003). Longitudinal relations between children’s exposure to TV violence and their aggressive and violent behavior in young adulthood: 1977–1992. Developmental Psychology, 39(2), 201–221. Kirsh, S. J. (2005). Cartoon violence and aggression in youth. Aggressive and Violent Behavior, 11(6), 547–557. doi:10. 1016/ j. avb. 2005. 10. 002. Levin, D. (1998). Remote control childhood: Combating the hazards of media culture.
Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. Molitor, F. , & Hirsch, K. W. (1994). Children’s toleration of real-life aggression after exposure to media violence: A replication of the Drabman and Thomas studies. Child Study Journal, 24(3), 191–208. National Association for the Education of Young Children. (1994). NAEYC position statement on media violence in children’s lives. Washington, DC: Author. National Center for Children Exposed to Violence. (2003). Statistics: Violence in the media. Retrieved May 7, 2004, from: http://ww. nccev. org/violence/statistics-media. html. Paik, H. & Comstock, G. A. (1994). The effects of television violence on antisocial behavior: A meta-analysis. Communication Research, 21, 516–546. doi:10. 1177/009365094021004004. Wilson, B. J. , Smith, S. L. , Potter, W. J. , Kunkel, D. , Linz, D. , Colvin, C. M. , et al. (2002). Violence in children’s programming: Assessing the risks. The Journal of Communication, 52(1), 5–35. doi:10. 1111/j. 1460-2466. 2002. tb02531. x. Wood, W. , Wong, F. Y. , & Chachere, G. (1991). Effects of media violence on viewers’ aggression in unconstrained social interaction. Psychological Bulletin, 109, 371–383. doi:10. 1037/0033-2909. 109. 3. 371.

Order your essay today and save 20% with the discount code: RESEARCH