/ December 3, 2007

Study – Violent Media Poses Risk to Public Health

According to a new study by L. Rowell Huesmann at the University of Michigan, violence in the media poses a risk to public health by encouraging aggression in young people, and is second only to smoking as a threat to society. After 50 years of research, Huesmann has confirmed that the exposure of children to violence in movies and on television both desensitizes them to brutality and poses cruel or violent behavior as a societal norm. Less research has focused on video games, but it seems that violent games may be an even greater hazard; many games, including war games like Call of Duty, or the infamous Grand Theft Auto, require children and teenagers to actually perform aggressive or sadistic acts, further contributing to a familiarity and sense of comfort with violence. Most importantly, Huessman’s study concludes that violence in the media has a causal relationship with violent tendencies in adolescence; conversely, children who exhibited aggressive behavior were no more likely to then watch violent media as they grew older.

For a description of how Huesmann and his colleagues conducted their study, click here. Also, Tipper Gore on explicit music and media.

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