The relationship between children and adolescents watching shows or engaging in interactive games that stress violence, and actual acts of violence, is of great personal and professional interest to me. As a parent, educator and member of a society in which youth violence is on the rise, the effect of media violence on children is worthy of study. For this reason, I chose the topic of media violence for my earlier research topic. Whether or not exposure to media violence causes many children to behave in an aggressive or violent manner, or just aggravates their tendency toward aggressive behavior, the point is that exposure to media violence has an impact on their behavior. It would be too simplistic to state, however, that exposure to media violence is the only factor involved in child aggression and violence. Other factors include the stability of the family unit, and personally witnessing acts of aggression by family member, or even by strangers in a parking lot.
Although watching repeated acts of violence portrayed in the media does not affect all the children the same, according to Eron (1992):
heavy exposure to televised violence is one of the causes of aggressive behavior, crime, and violence in society. . . .Television violence affects youngsters of all ages, of both gender, at all socio-economic levels and all levels of intelligence. The effect is not limited to children who are already disposed to being aggressive (p. 1).
An opposite point of view claims that watching media violence has a salutary effect as it allows children to express their aggression vicariously.
Although the question of whether or not violent images cause antisocial and/or criminal behavior in children cannot be answered conclusively, I tend to lean toward the negative impact of media violence. It is, in fact, a subject I feel very passionately about because I care very deeply about the well being of all children.