An article entitled “Early Exposure to TV Violence Predicts Aggression in Adulthood” talks about a longitudinal study that was conducted on 329 participants to determine if viewing violent television at a young age increases the chances that they will become aggressive adults. The children in the study came from various backgrounds. Factors such as socioeconomic status, gender, parenting techniques and intelligence were considered. Other researches, conducted previous to this, have shown short-term effects of violence on boys only. In Contrast, this study shows the long-term negative effects for both boys and girls, and they conducted a follow up on the children when they reached the ages of 20-25. The findings suggest that early exposure to violence, for both males and females, increases their chances of adopting violent behavior as adults. The one difference they found was, while boys are likely to engage in physical aggression, women are more likely to be indirectly aggressive. However, while they exhibit aggression differently, both genders are negatively impacted by early exposure to violence on television.
This article is enlightening to the damaging effects of violence on television. Children learn by watching others and it makes sense that they would adopt aggressive behavior if they are exposed to it often enough. I think that the strength this article has is how it uses a longitudinal study, consisting of a follow up to determine if violence made a lasting impact into adulthood. It is also interesting to note how various factors were considered—gender, socioeconomic status and education—giving the study and this article credibility. I think that this article helps explain why some children and teenagers are susceptible to becoming aggressive, and how we can better guard children from violence below a certain age.
Some of the theories from our textbook support the findings of this article. One of the theories is the Social Learning Theory, which suggests that behavior is learned. Albert Bandura’s concept about Modeling, from chapter 2 of our textbook, explains how children learn and model behavior that they see—including violence. Children will behave like the adults they are around, as well as characters they see on television. This article shows that Bandura’s theory is correct, as the gender and lifestyle’s of the children made less of a difference on how violent they were as adults than did their exposure to violence on television. Children model what they see.
Another theory from chapter 2, that is similar to the Social Learning Theory, as it supports how violence is learned not inherent, is the differential association theory. This theory developed by Sutherland and Cressey explains how individuals learn behavior by those they observe and interact with. Therefore, if children are exposed to violence early, they will begin to relate better to a violent of deviant group and immerse themselves in that culture. The article supports this theory, as it shows how children are more susceptible to following violent or deviant behavior if they learn it early. Before children have learned what is moral or immoral behavior, they will not see the violence as “deviant,” but as a way of life.