Can mass media provoke aggression in the society? Why?
By theme: «Can mass media provoke aggression in the society? Why?»
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CAN MASS MEDIA PROVOKE AGGRESSION IN THE SOCIETY? WHY?»
Introduction. The current increase in violent crime, especially among children and adolescents, raises questions about the social conditions that lead to it.
Is it possible that the increase in violence contributes to the strengthening of individualism and materialism in society? Or is it due to the widening gap between the power of wealth and the powerlessness of poverty? Or maybe the annoying savouring of violence scenes in the "handicrafts" of mass culture leads to this result? This last assumption arises because the spike in physical violence over time coincided with the increase in the appearance of bloody scenes in the media, especially on television. Is the observed connection just a random coincidence of circumstances? What are the results of a naturalistic image of violence in cinema and on television?
Main idea. Numerous studies of aggressive behavior, its acquisition and modification were conducted by Canadian psychologist Albert Bandura within the framework of socio-cognitive theories. This approach suggests that modeling affects "learning" mainly through its informative function. In other words, by observing a pattern, trainees acquire symbolic images of the modeled activity, which is the prototype for appropriate or inappropriate behaviour.
If the children have not shown an adult pattern of aggressive behaviour before, they rarely show aggression and, despite the frustration, play quietly. The same of them, who watched an aggressive adult, very often took the hammer and began to take out on Bobo his discontent. That is, watching an aggressive adult behavior weakened their braking process. Moreover, children often reproduced exactly the actions and words of the experimenter. Thus, the aggressive behavior seen by them not only reduced the inhibition, but also taught them a certain way of aggression.
In the pioneering experiments of Albert Bandura and Richard Walters, children's observation of how adults beat up an inflatable doll was sometimes replaced by watching the same adult actions filmed on film. In many ways, it had the same effect.
Now television has firmly entered the life of our contemporaries. In an average family, it works up to seven hours a day. What types of social behavior are modeled during these hours?
The American psychologist George Gerbner, from the University of Pennsylvania, has been studying the US television broadcasting grid since 1967. What was discovered? Two of each of the three programs contained subjects of violence ("acts of physical coercion accompanied by threats of beating or killing, or beating or killing itself"). Thus, by the time a child completes high school, about 8,000 scenes of murder and 100,000 other violent acts are broadcast on television.
Do viewers mimic screen behavior? In a survey of U.S. prison inmates, every nine out of ten admitted that television programs about crime could teach new criminal tricks, and every four out of ten admitted trying to commit crimes they once saw on television.
Conclusion. Research in the U.S. in 1988 showed that an average 10-year-old child spends more time in front of a TV set than in class, a situation that has not changed for over 20 years. In fact, the average American child watches TV programs about 30 hours a week. What social behavior is modeled as a result of this absorption of television programs? A report from the National Institute of Mental Health (1982) shows that by the age of sixteen, the average viewer probably already saw about 13,000 homicides and many other acts of violence. Thus, according to D. J. Gerbner, who since 1967 has evaluated the entertainment programmes for children that are shown at the most convenient time, on average they show five acts of violence per hour, and on Saturday morning programmes for children - about twenty per hour. Based on these statistics, it can be concluded that watching violence on television contributes to aggression, at least indirectly, and directly leads to interpersonal problems. In addition, statistical and experimental studies allow to conclude that watching violence on TV reduces the viewer's sensitivity to aggression, weakens the restraining internal forces and changes the perception of reality.
Why now is it necessary to pay serious attention to the issue of demonstration of violence in the mass media of our country? In our view, it now seems expedient to carry out new research on the impact of violent scenes on the human psyche, especially children and adolescents, given the emergence of such factors as computer games. The results of these studies should be made available to the general public in order to protect the younger generation from excessive and unjustified manifestations of violence. In this regard, a very relevant question posed to fellow citizens of Plato back in the IV century BC: "How can we so easily allow children to listen to and perceive with their souls what myths have been invented by anyone, and mostly contrary to the truths that we think they should have when they grow up?