The debate over whether media violence causes violent behavior has been ongoing for decades, and it is still an unresolved issue today. There are strong arguments on both sides of the argument, making it difficult to establish a definitive answer. On one side, some people point to research that suggests a link between media violence and aggressive behavior in children and adolescents. On the other hand, there are those who believe that attributing increased aggression solely to media violence is too simplistic and ignores other factors that may be at play (Ferguson & Kilburn, 2009). In this essay, I will examine both theories in order to assess the validity of each claim.
Proponents of the theory that media violence contributes to aggressive behavior cite many sources for their beliefs. One major source of evidence can be found in longitudinal studies which demonstrate a correlation between watching violent television programs or movies and an increase in physical aggression (Anderson et al., 2003). Additionally, several meta-analyses have shown similar results: children who watch more violent programs tend to act out more aggressively than those who do not (Bushman & Anderson 2001). Furthermore, experimental studies have indicated that exposure to violent entertainment can lead to short-term increases in aggression among viewers (Huesmann et al., 2003). It appears as though these findings are consistent across different samples; therefore they provide substantial support for the idea that media violence leads directly or indirectly to increased aggression among its viewers.
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