Exposure To Violence Makes Kids More Aggressive
Two world-wide studies published within a year of each other have looked at the increase of violence among children. They came, not surprisingly, to the same conclusion, one which seems like common sense to many of us, but which has been challenged time and time again by propagandists for TV and video game manufacturers. The conclusion? Violence begets violence, no matter where it comes from.
One study, published in the March 2010 issue of the Psychological Bulletin of the American Psychological Association, was confined to effects of violent video games on aggression in children. That study reported increased likelihood of aggressive behavior in both short-term and long-term contexts, as well as decreased empathy. This research, conducted on 130,000 subjects worldwide, indicated that "violent video games make more aggressive, less caring kids – regardless of their age, sex or culture."
In Monkey See, Monkey Do, Monkey Hurt: Longitundinal Effects of Exposure to Violence on Children's Agressive Behavior, published in the March 2011 issue of Social Psychological & Personality Science. a study led by Izaskun Orue at the University of Deusto, Spain, included researchers from the U.S, the Netherlands, and Germany.
A group of 777 chidren were asked a series of questions about their exposure to violence at home, in their neighborhoods, at school, and on TV.
Additionally, they asked the children whether they had been a victim of violence, with such questions as "How often has somebody hit you at home?" As well, they sought answers to whether the children themselves were aggressive toward others, by registering agreement or disagreement with statements like: "Sometimes you have to hit others because they deserve it."
In six months, the children were administered the same survey to see if those who had been victims or aggressors of violence in the past would be more aggressive 6 months later.
Researchers found that not only were the original victims and aggressors more aggressive 6 months later, but that there was a delayed effect compounding their aggression in the second half of the year.
"Exposure to violence can increase aggression regardless of whether at home, at school, in or in the virtual world of TV, regardless of whether the person is a witness or a victim," the authors wrote. "People exposed to a heavy diet of violence come to believe that aggression is a normal way to solve conflict and get what you want in life. These beliefs lower their inhibitions against aggression against others."