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Research & Statistics

Specific Research Studies

American Public Opinion on Media Violence

Statistics and Excerpts from Selected Research:

Television Viewing and Aggressive Behavior During Adolescence and Adulthood, a study published in Science magazine March 29, 2002 found that:

"[There is] a significant association between the amount of time spent watching television during adolescence and early adulthood and the likelihood of subsequent aggressive acts against others.

"The association remained significant after previous aggressive behavior, childhood neglect, family income, neighborhood violence, parental education, and psychiatric disorders were controlled statistically."

The American Academy of Pediatrics Media Violence Policy Statement, 2001 states:

"The strength of the correlation between media violence and aggressive behavior is greater than the correlation between calcium intake and bone mass, or the correlation between lead ingestion and lower IQ."

On July 26, 2000, the American Health Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry signed a Joint Statement on The Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children stating that:

"Viewing entertainment violence can lead to increase in aggressive attitudes, values and behavior, particularly in children. It's effects are measurable and long lasting. Moreover, prolonged viewing of media violence can lead to emotional desensitization toward violence in real life."

"Children who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts. Children exposed to violence are more likely to assume that acts of violence are acceptable behavior."

"Although less research has been done on the impact of violent interactive entertainment (such as video games) on young people, preliminary studies indicate that the negative impact may be significantly more severe than that wrought by television, movies or music."

The National Television Violence Study (1994-1995) found that:

  • The negative consequences of violence are rarely protrayed, espeically in children's programs.

  • Violence goes unpunished in almost three out of four scenes.

  • Humor occurs in 39 percent of the violent scenes on television. "Humor tends to trivialize or undermine the seriousness with which violence is regarded, so its prevalence poses cause for concern," the researchers note.

Three major national studies over a period of 23 years reviewed hundreds of studies to arrive at the irrefutable conclusion that viewing violence increases violence:

  • Surgeon General's Commission Report, 1972

  • National Institute of Mental Health, 1982

  • American Psychological Association (APA), 1992.

Some quotes from the report of the APA Commission on Violence and Youth:

"Aggression is a learned behavior. It can be unlearned."

"Children's exposure to violence in the mass media, particularly at young ages, can have harmful lifelong consequences. Aggressive habits learned early in life are the foundation for later behavior. Aggressive children who have trouble in school and in relating to peers tend to watch more television; the violence they see there, in turn, reinforces their tendency toward aggression, compounding their academic and social failure. These effects are both short-term and long-lasting: A longitudinal study of boys found a significant relation between exposure to television violence at 8 years of age and antisocial acts -- including serious, violent criminal offenses and spouse abuse -- 22 years later."

"There is absolutely no doubt that higher levels of viewing violence on television are correlated with increased acceptance of aggressive attitudes and increased aggressive behavior."

Dr. Leonard Eron, chair of the APA Commission mentioned above, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs in 1992. His testimony read, in part:

"There can no longer be any doubt that heavy exposure to televised violence is one of the causes of aggressive behavior, crime and violence in society. The evidence comes from both the laboratory and real-life studies." He went on to say that the effect of televised violence can be seen in children of all ages, in girls as well as boys, and in children of all levels of intelligence and socioeconomic status.

From Lt. Col. Dave Grossman's book, On Killing:

"Violent movies are targeted at the young, both men and women, the same audience the military has determined to be most susceptible for its killing purposes. Violent video games hardwire young people for shooting at humans. The entertainment industry conditions the young in exactly the same way the military does. Civilian society apes the training and conditioning techniques of the military at its peril."



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