The topic of our recent psychology discussion, Can the media influence children in negative ways? The answer to this can vary from study to study. In class, we viewed a video of children shown two different movies. In the first movie, they were shown Barney. The children in this movie were shown singing happily about sharing and having respect for one another. The children watching this seemed to imitate them by playing nicely and quietly. In the other movie, Power Rangers, the "good guys" were shown fighting, punching, and defeating the "bad guys" and it was shown to the children as positive actions. This caused the children to slowly begin to pretend they were the Power Rangers, kicking and hitting one another.
Although this "violence" appeared to be mainly pretend and recreational, does it still have an effect on how the children would approach certain situations? There are two sides to this.
Some researchers take the side that media does have an influence. Art Mackman wrote an article siding with this perspective. He describes a study that showed increased arousal and energy in the brain when one plays a violent video game. However, challenging this, does this activity have a direct link to aggression? When we simply play a game of basketball we have increased arousal and energy. So would this mean that the sport is making us more aggressive? I don't believe this. However, I do not fully side with the idea that media has absolutely no influence on behaviors. In another article, by CJ Ferguson, he explains a study that he did which measured the amount of violent crimes that young people, ages 10 to 14, committed after a month of playing violent video games. I wouldn't conclude that from one month long study, you could determine if video games had any effect on someone. Furthermore, since the study was on young people and not "children", they are more capable of knowing what already isn't socially acceptable when it comes to violence. I feel that it is too late of an age to manipulate their behaviors.
I tend to fall in between the two sides to this debate. I believe that if children grow up around violent video games and shows, they will be more capable of reacting to situations violently than a child who hasn't had much experience with this type of media.