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


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?

Rutgers Researcher's Study Cites Media Violence as 'Critical Risk Factor' for Aggression
ou are what you watch, when it comes to violence in the media and its influence on violent behavior in young people, and a new paper, lead-authored by Rutgers University, Newark, researcher Paul Boxer, provides new evidence that violent media does indeed impact adolescent behavior.

Television Viewing and Aggression: Some Alternative Perspectives
The effect of media violence on behavior is not only an interesting psychological question but is also a relevant public policy and public health issue.

ISU psychologists explore public policy and effects of media violence on children
Although hundreds of studies link media violence to aggression in children and adolescents, most public policy attempts to reduce children's media violence exposure in the U.S. have failed. Efforts to restrict children's access to violent video games have been struck down by the courts as infringing on children's First Amendment rights.

Violent TV, games pack a powerful public health threat
Watching media violence significantly increases the risk that a viewer or video game player will behave aggressively in both the short and long term, according to a University of Michigan study published today in a special issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

ISU psychologists publish three new studies on violent video game effects on youths
New research by Iowa State University psychologists provides more concrete evidence of the adverse effects of violent video game exposure on the behavior of children and adolescents.
More Media Violence Current Events and Media Violence News Articles

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.

The Myth of Media Violence: A Critical Introduction

The Myth of Media Violence: A Critical Introduction
by David Trend (Author)


The Myth of Media Violence: A Critical Introduction assesses the current and historical debates over violence in film, television, and video games; extends the conversation beyond simple condemnation or support; and addresses a diverse range of issues and influences.

Looks at the chronology of contemporary media violence, and explores reservations over communications medias throughout history.
Examines the forces behind the encouraged anxieties about media violence.
Uses examples drawn from a range of media, including disaster and horror movies, science fiction, film tie-in toys, crime shows, MTV, news, sports, and children’s television programming, books and video games.
Includes a closing chapter about why media violence exists as it does in our culture, and what...

Media Violence (Opposing Viewpoints)

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


Those who do not know their opponent's arguments do not completely understand their own. This book is one volume of the highly acclaimed Opposing Viewpoints Series developed by Greenhaven Press. "Each volume in the Opposing Viewpoints Series could serve as a model...not only providing access to a wide diversity of opinions, but also simulating readers to do further research for group discussion and individual interest. Both shrill and moderate, the selections-by experts, policy makers, and concerned citizens-include complete articles and speeches, long book excerpts, and occasional cartoons and boxed quotations...all up to date and fully documented. The editing is intelligent and unobtrusive, organizing the material around substantive issues within the general debate. Brief...

Media Violence (Opposing Viewpoints)

Media Violence (Opposing Viewpoints)
by David M. Haugen (Editor), Susan Musser (Editor)




On Media Violence

On Media Violence
by W. James Potter (Author)


This definitive examination of a contemporary social issue asks questions such as: How much media violence is there? What are the meanings conveyed in the way violence is portrayed? What effect does it have on viewers? Divided into four parts, the book reviews research on media violence; re-examines existing theories of media violence; considers methodological tools used to assess media, and introduces the concept of Lineation Theory, a perspective and new theoretical approach explaining media violence.

Violence and the Media

Violence and the Media
by Cynthia Carter (Author)


Why is there so much violence portrayed in the media? What meanings are attached to representations of violence in the media? Can media violence encourage violent behavior and desensitize audiences to real violence? Does the 'everydayness' of media violence lead to the 'normalization' of violence in society? "Violence and the Media" is a lively and indispensable introduction to current thinking about media violence and its potential influence on audiences. Adopting a fresh perspective on the 'media effects' debate, Carter and Weaver engage with a host of pressing issues around violence in different media contexts - including news, film, television, pornography, advertising and cyberspace.The book offers a compelling argument that the daily repetition of media violence helps to normalize...

Violence in the Media (Current Controversies)

Violence in the Media (Current Controversies)
by Dedria Bryfonski (Editor)


Each anthology is composed of a wide spectrum of primary sources written by many of the foremost authorities in their respective fields. This unique approach provides students with a concise view of divergent opinions on each topic. Extensive book and periodical bibliographies and a list of organizations to contact are also included.

The Media of Conflict: War Reporting and Representations of Ethnic Violence

The Media of Conflict: War Reporting and Representations of Ethnic Violence
by Tim Allen (Editor), Jean Seaton (Editor)


This book demonstrates how international media coverage of contemporary wars often encourages serious misunderstandings of complex situations. The shortage of information and the reporting only of those events easily understood by western audiences compounds misconceptions. The contributors are concerned with getting behind ethnic categorizations and examining how they have been constructed from the perspective that ethnicity is essentially a negotiated and relational phenomenon, not something static, primordial or "natural."


'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)


Racial violence is back. So are the people who ignore it, condone it and even deny it.
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.

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 happening. And what the videos show is really happening.

The new edition of White Girl Bleed a Lot documents more than 500 cases of black mob...

Media Literacy

Media Literacy
by W. James Potter (Author)


In this media-saturated world, we must learn how to navigate through the overwhelming flood of information so that we can avoid the risks and maximize its potential to help us. Media Literacy, Seventh Edition shows you how. Drawing from thousands of media literature studies, author W. James Potter explores the key components to understanding the fascinating world of mass media. In this thoroughly updated and revised edition, Potter presents numerous examples and facts to help you understand how the media operate, how they attract your attention, and how they influence you. Each chapter concludes with a set of exercises to help you apply the chapter material to everyday life and engage in a step-by-step process to increase your level of media literacy.

© 2014 BrightSurf.com