Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

New Gentile study on media violence and kids could have applications on school bullying

July 13, 2012

AMES, Iowa -- The April suicide of 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn Jr. -- a South O'Brien High School (Paulina, Iowa) student who was reportedly teased and bullied by classmates -- had Iowa lawmakers questioning the effectiveness of the state's five-year-old anti-bullying law. School officials can't always identify the bullies until it's too late.

But a new study led by Douglas Gentile, an Iowa State University associate professor of psychology, may provide schools with a new tool to help them profile students who are more likely to commit aggressive acts against other students. Published in the July issue of the Psychology of Popular Media Culture -- a journal by the American Psychological Association -- the study identifies media violence exposure as one of six risk factors for predicting later aggression in 430 children (ages 7-11, grades 3-5) from five Minnesota schools. In addition to media violence exposure, the remaining risk factors are bias toward hostility, low parental involvement, gender, physical victimization and prior physical fights.

Knowing students' risks for aggression can help school officials to determine which students might be more likely to get in fights -- or possibly bully other students -- later in the school year.

"As you gain risk factors, the risk of aggression goes up disproportionally," said Gentile, who runs the Media Research Lab at Iowa State. "Having one or two risk factors is no big deal. Kids are resilient -- they can handle it. You get to three and there's a big jump. When you get out past four risk factors, risk is increasing at a much higher rate than you would expect.

"If we are concerned about bullying in schools, then this approach has real world implications for helping to target the kids who are at higher risk for bullying behavior so we could use our limited resources more effectively to reduce bullying in schools," he continued. "We could profile kids by measuring their risk factors. In fact, I can get over 80 percent accuracy knowing only three things -- are they a boy, have they gotten in a fight within the past year, and do they consume a lot of media violence? When you get out to having six risk factors, then we can predict with 94 percent accuracy which kids will get into fights in the coming year. We just can't predict which day."
Effects of media violence may be previously underestimated

Gentile and co-author Brad Bushman, a former Iowa State psychology professor who now is on The Ohio State University faculty, conclude that when considered with other risk factors, the effects of media violence exposure may actually be underestimated by previous scientific measures. They contend the study is one of the first to put several of the pieces together to show how the risk factors work together to predict future aggression.

"This new statistical approach [relative weight analysis] actually allows us to get probably the most accurate assessment of how much each variable [risk factor] contributes to likely aggression, in combination with the others," Gentile said. "It becomes clear that media violence is very similar to other known risk factors."

For the study, children and their teachers were surveyed twice in a school year -- most being six months apart. Physical aggression was measured using self-reports, peer-nominations and teacher reports of actual violence.

In the self-reports, participants listed their three favorite TV shows, video games and movies. For each, participants rated how frequently they watched or played it, and how violent it was. An overall violence exposure score was computed for each participant by multiplying the violence rating by the frequency of viewing/playing, and then averaging across the nine responses. That approach has been used successfully in other studies that study children and media violence.
Media violence consumption easiest for parents to control

Gentile emphasizes that high exposure to media violence is just one risk factor for increased aggression, neither deserving special concern nor dismissal among other risk factors. What makes it different from the others is that it's the one that is most easy for parents to control.

"Most of the risk factors for aggression are really hard to change. You can't easily change whether your child has previously been in a fight or bullied," Gentile said. "That's what makes this [media violence] different is that it's actually fairly easy to control compared to most of the other risk factors. But how it acts as a risk factor is exactly the same as all others. It's not the biggest, it's not the smallest, it's actually right there in the middle of the pack."

While the researchers found that the effect of media violence exposure on a child's later aggression may be underestimated, Gentile points out that it's the combination of risk factors that ultimately proves to be the most dangerous when predicting future aggression in kids.

Iowa State University


Related Media Violence Current Events and Media Violence News Articles


No link found between movie, video game violence and societal violence
Since the 1920s, scholars and politicians have blamed violence in movies and other media as a contributing factor to rising violence in society.

No silver bullet: ISU study identifies risk factors of youth charged with murder
News of a school shooting or a homicide involving a teenage suspect always leads to the question of why?

'Broad Consensus' that Violent Media Increase Child Aggression
Majorities of media researchers, parents and pediatricians agree that exposure to violent media can increase aggression in children, according to a new national study.

Exposure to TV violence related to irregular attention and brain structure
Young adult men who watched more violence on television showed indications of less mature brain development and poorer executive functioning, according to the results of an Indiana University School of Medicine study published online in the journal Brain and Cognition.

The damaging effect of media violence on young children
Research has demonstrated a link between screen violence and real-world aggression, both in traditional media like violent movies and in newer media including first-person shooter games.

Genetics linked to children viewing high amounts of violent media
The lifelong debate of nature versus nurture continues-this time in what your children watch. A recent paper published in the Journal of Communication found that a specific variation of the serotonin-transporter gene was linked to children who engaged in increased viewing of violent TV and playing of violent video games.

Violent video games alter brain function in young men
Sustained changes in the region of the brain associated with cognitive function and emotional control were found in young adult men after one week of playing violent video games, according to study results presented by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

Violent Video Games Reduce Brain Response to Violence and Increase Aggressive Behavior, University of Missouri Study Finds
Scientists have known for years that playing violent video games causes players to become more aggressive.

New study finds that violence doesn't add to children's enjoyment of TV shows, movies
Despite growing concern about the effects of media violence on children, violent television shows and movies continue to be produced and marketed to them. An Indiana University research study concludes that violence doesn't add anything to their enjoyment of such programs and their characters.

Does video game violence harm teens? New study weighs the evidence
How much scientific evidence is there for and against the assertion that exposure to video game violence can harm teens?
More Media Violence Current Events and Media Violence News Articles

Media Violence and Children: A Complete Guide for Parents and Professionals, 2nd Edition (Advances in Applied Developmental Psychology)

Media Violence and Children: A Complete Guide for Parents and Professionals, 2nd Edition (Advances in Applied Developmental Psychology)
by Douglas A. Gentile (Author)


Stripping away the hype, this book describes how, when, and why media violence can influence children of different ages, giving parents and teachers the power to maximize the media's benefits and minimize its harm.
• Includes the newest research on topics of particular concern today, including cyber-bullying, video games, song lyrics, and brain development• Covers all major media, including television, movies, music, video games, and the Internet• Describes the psychological processes through which media violence influences attitudes, emotions, and behaviors• Provides the context necessary to understand why media violence does not affect everyone the same way• Discusses how media violence intersects with public policy, identifies the problems with the existing rating...

Violence as Entertainment: Why Aggression Sells (Exploring Media Literacy)

Violence as Entertainment: Why Aggression Sells (Exploring Media Literacy)
by Erika Wittekind (Author)


Watch out! Does violence in the media make consumers aggressive? You know violence is part of many TV shows, movies, comics, video games, and even advertising. But does violent media influence you? Learn how violence is used in the media and how it affects people. And that means you!

Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of Spectacle (City Lights Open Media)

Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of Spectacle (City Lights Open Media)
by Brad Evans (Author), Henry A. Giroux (Author)


Disposable Futures makes the case that we have not just become desensitized to violence, but rather, that we are being taught to desire it.From movies and other commercial entertainment to "extreme" weather and acts of terror, authors Brad Evans and Henry Giroux examine how a contemporary politics of spectacle--and disposability--curates what is seen and what is not, what is represented and what is ignored, and ultimately, whose lives matter and whose do not.Disposable Futures explores the connections between a range of contemporary phenomena: mass surveillance, the militarization of police, the impact of violence in film and video games, increasing disparities in wealth, and representations of ISIS and the ongoing terror wars. Throughout, Evans and Giroux champion the significance of...

Is Media Violence a Problem? (At Issue)

Is Media Violence a Problem? (At Issue)
by Stefan Kiesbye (Author)


The At Issue series includes a wide range of opinion on a single controversial subject. Each volume includes primary and secondary sources from a variety of perspectives -- eyewitnesses, scientific journals, government officials and many others. Extensive bibliographies and annotated lists of relevant organizations to contact offer a gateway to future research.

'White Girl Bleed A Lot': The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It

'White Girl Bleed A Lot': The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It
by Colin Flaherty (Author)


Ferguson might be the worst, but it is not the first.  Ferguson is just the latest of hundreds of examples of black mob violence around the country.
White Girl Bleed a Lot: The return of racial violence and how the media ignore it  was written for the deniers: Reporters and public officials and others who deny black mob violence has reached epidemic levels.
That is why so many readers get another copy: They send it to someone who needs to read it.
Denial is not an option any more. Many of these cases are now on YouTube. 
And for the first time, readers will be able to scan QR codes to follow the black mob violence on video as they read about it in the book.

For the first time, readers will be able to see the huge difference between what big city newspapers say is...

Media, Culture and Human Violence: From Savage Lovers to Violent Complexity

Media, Culture and Human Violence: From Savage Lovers to Violent Complexity
by Jeff Lewis Professor of Media and Communication at RMIT University Australia (Author)


Humans of the advanced world are the most violent beings of all times. This violence is evident in the conditions of perpetual warfare and the accumulation of the most powerful and destructive arsenal ever known to humankind. It is also evident in the devastating impact of advanced world economy and cultural practices which have led to ecological devastation and the current era of mass species extinction. —one of only six mass extinction events in planetary history and the only one caused by the actions of a single species, humans. This violence is manifest in our interpersonal relationships, and the ways in which we organize ourselves through hierarchical systems that ensure the wealth and privilege of some, against the penury and misery of others.

In this new and highly...

Media Violence (Opposing Viewpoints)

Media Violence (Opposing Viewpoints)
by Noah Berlatsky (Author)


Each title in the highly acclaimed Opposing Viewpoints series explores a specific issue by placing expert opinions in a unique pro/con format; the viewpoints are selected from a wide range of highly respected and often hard-to-find publications.; This title explores many aspects of media violence, including the seriousness of the media violence problem, the regulation of media violence, the effect of violence in the news, and the relationship between sex and violence in the media.; "Each volume in the Opposing Viewpoints Series could serve as a model…not only providing access to a wide diversity of opinions, but also stimulating readers to do further research for group discussion and individual interest. Both shrill and moderate, th

Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence: A Critical Look at the Research

Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence: A Critical Look at the Research
by Steven J. Kirsh (Author)


This revised text provides updates that reflect new findings in the field of media violence research during childhood and adolescence. Throughout the book, special attention is paid to evaluating the role of developmental processes and to stressing the importance of methodology in understanding media violence research. Findings have been divided into two main areas: aggressive behavior and aggression-related constructs (e.g., emotions, cognitions, arousal) to help clarify media violence-related effects on youth.

Women, Violence, and the Media: Readings in Feminist Criminology (Northeastern Series on Gender, Crime, and Law)

Women, Violence, and the Media: Readings in Feminist Criminology (Northeastern Series on Gender, Crime, and Law)
by Drew Humphries (Editor)


Through the lens of feminist criminology, this volume examines the complex interrelationship of women, violence, and media presentations. The book is divided into three sections. The first, “Gendering Constructions,” lays the groundwork for the volume by examining the print media’s presentation of gendered violence, female killers on Law and Order, African American women in Hollywood films, and women in media, crime, and violence textbooks. The second section, “Debating the Issues,” explores aspects of femicide, including mass murder incidents, domestic violence in Bangladesh, and wartime sexual violence in reality and on television. The final section “Changing the Image,” focuses on efforts to replace masculine assumptions with constructive approaches to imagining women....

Mass Shootings: Media, Myths, and Realities (Crime, Media, and Popular Culture)

Mass Shootings: Media, Myths, and Realities (Crime, Media, and Popular Culture)
by Jaclyn Schildkraut Ph.D. (Author), H. Jaymi Elsass (Author)


This book provides readers and researchers with a critical examination of mass shootings as told by the media, offering research-based, factual answers to oft-asked questions and investigating common myths about these tragic events.
• Tackles common misconceptions about mass shootings perpetrated by and through the media and provides information that grounds the realities of such events in empirical evidence• Explores the history of mass shootings, both before and after the infamous 1999 Columbine High School event and shootings that occurred in and out of schools• Addresses common myths associated with mass shooting events by the media, such as how often and where they occur and the absence of any warning signs• Helps readers understand the realities of these events,...

© 2016 BrightSurf.com