Does violence in movies, TV programs or video games contribute to violence in society?

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TV and Games reflect society as well. So which is the chicken and which is the egg?

There are clear indications that violence in media inspires behavior. But there is equally clear indication that violence is already self perpetuating in human society.

The real question that we need to be asking is not about what to do about media. It is what can we do to reduce violence in society? Violence as a result of poverty. Violence as a result of prejudice or hatred. Violence as a symptom of an increasingly dysfunctional society where human beings are not as valued as material goods or money.

Unless you address all of this, you can turn media into the most plain and sterile content possible and society will continue to be just as violent. Perhaps more because media will no longer distract many who it gives a violent outlet to today.

The issue simply is not that polar to answer yes or no to and get a reasonable or realistic solution.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Absolutely. Is the Sun hot? How can anybody deny violence on TV, etc gives nutcases the wrong ideas? Human centipede, Saw? WTF is wrong with people?

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

No evidence it does. Look at most violent parts of the world (Africa, Middle East) - very few movies or video games to be found there.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

How can anybody deny violence on TV, etc gives nutcases the wrong ideas?

Because again and again there has been little or no evidence that it does. Did Jack the Ripper play video games or watch violent movies? Hitler was a big fan of Call of Duty was he? Read what Wakarimasen said and think about it a little bit. What is to stop a 'nutcase' from killing his father after reading Hamlet if that is your logic?


7 ( +12 / -5 )

The question reads 'contribute to violence', not 'cause violence'. Nobody is arguing that violence in the small or big screen is the sole cause of violence, so all the talk of Jack the Ripper and the Middle East is misguided. Everybody accepts that there is violence which is unrelated to movies, TV programs, and video games.

The question is whether or not a person's tendancy towards violence occurs as a result, to any extent, of the violence they are exposed to on screen.

"There are some key impacts of violent media on children that are very well demonstrated in research," Dr Warburton said. Dr Warburton said tests showed children who played violent video games had a heightened likelihood of aggression for up to 15 minutes after switching off the console. "Over the long term it's just like eating fatty food - one hamburger won't kill you but there is a cumulative effect." "They include increases in the likelihood of aggressive behaviour, increases in desensitisation to violence and an increase in the overall view that the world is more scary and hostile than it really is."


3 ( +4 / -1 )

Although TV violence was not the only cause of aggressive behavior, its effect was relatively independent and explained a larger proportion of variance than any other single factor studied, e.g., IQ, social status, ethnicity, and parental disharmony.

Does television violence cause aggression? Eron, Leonard D.; Huesmann, L. Rowell; Lefkowitz, Monroe M.; Walder, Leopold O. American Psychologist, Vol 27(4), Apr 1972, 253-263.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The question is whether or not a person's tendancy towards violence occurs as a result, to any extent, of the violence they are exposed to on screen.

Yes. And equating it to eating hamburgers is nonsense. A violent person can respond to ANY trigger stimulus. Films, games, books and music are easy scapegoats. Has happened through every generation, not new. People 50 years ago believed Catcher in the Rye, Elvis wiggling his hips and 'jungle rhythms' were the cause of society's ills. Victorians thought bicycles were responsible for moral decline. No games or movies back then but guess what, people were violent then too, maybe even more so. As for Dr Warburton...watching kids for 15 minutes then making a load of assumptions about 'cumulative effects' and 'desensitisation'. It's speculation and grandstanding, nothing scientific about it at all.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Kids across the world have been watching 'violent' television for over 50 years. I'll wager a large number of JT readers grew up watching Stallone and slasher movies in the 80's. Wouldn't we have had some kind of mass epidemic by now already? It hasn't happened because violent acts come from people with a disposition for violence. A nice guy watching a horror movie or playing a game isn't going to flip, and a violent person playing those games is in all likelihood going to flip anyway next time someone accidentally steps on his foot or screws up his takeaway order.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Violence on TV does contribute to RL violence, but it does not cause RL violence. Only those who are inspired to do violent actions on TV/Video games and carry them out are at fault compared to those that see fictional violent actions and just interpret it as entertainment. Same old same old that those that cannot draw the line between reality and fiction need psychiatric help.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

To say "yes" means you think there was less violence before there were movies and TV. BZZZT! Wrong answer. Sorry, try again!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Violence has been with us a whole lot longer than video games and television shows.

Humans don't need either to be violent, we are naturally violent, only way to partially end violence is by education.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

No. And anyone who thinks they do, is fooling themselves.

They only contribute if some crazy person gets some weird idea from them. Which they can get from anywhere, the Bible, for example.

2 ( +4 / -2 )


-3 ( +3 / -6 )

People in the UK used to find public executions extremely entertaining. Then again, perhaps we'll all be better off when people are tired of watching car chases, shootouts, dismembered zombies etc. Getting a bit boring.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In short the impact of violence on children is affirmative. They may grow up to become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others, Some may be more fearful of the world around them and may be more likely behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others. It can probably also make them immune to brutality and violence because children will imitate what they see. In fact many probably become fearful of living in such a dangerous society. Sadly it can send the wrong message that emotions do not matter in a human being. Hence content does matter quite a bit and media violence can strongly influence and affect aggressive type of behavior.

1 ( +2 / -1 )


They only contribute if some crazy person gets some weird idea from them. Which they can get from anywhere, the Bible, for example.

Anywhere? That kind of sounds like a possible contribution from movies / tv / games!

Anyway, I think they DO contribute, but they certainly aren't the only or maybe not even the MAIN cause. I think our wonderful societies do that for us! Sadly.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why does the question always get asked this way round? Why is it "Does violence on TV and in computer games lead to an increase in violence in society?" It should be "Does violence in society lead to an increase in violence on TV and in computer games?" If you think about with an ounce of logic the more accurate sentence would be the latter. Which came first, thousands of years of horrific bloody violence in human society, or Doom and Saw?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@oikawa Very sensible answer. The world has been killing and maiming from the begging of time. Video games, television and movies came much later. Our ways of torture and brutality were far more imaginative a long time ago.

You didn't deserve that negative. Your answer is very factual and logical.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Since the beginning of time, man has been warring with one another, and continues to do so. Let's face it, we are savages still trying to figure out how to coexist. To suddenly suggest that video games and tv are contributing to our violent ways is ridiculous.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Considering violent crime is down in just about every western nation I'd have to say no. Real world violence has declined significantly in the past few decades and continues to do so. The only reason we think things are more dangerous or that people are more violent is a result of 24/7/365 media outlets shoving every grotesque picture they can find into our faces and telling us how easily we could be next.

For those that think that such images are heavily desensitizing people I'd have to say that the difference between looking at violence on a screen and seeing it right in front of you is as different as night and day. I can watch the goriest, most graphic movies that you can find on netflix and it would never effect me as much as seeing a friend bleeding or being afraid that I may have hit another guy a little to hard outside of a bar. In the movies a crack over the head means you get knocked out, in real life it could mean brain trauma or death, main characters reply with snarky comments after having ribs broken, and people shrug off injuries in minutes. Even my kid nephew and niece know the difference between real and fake, if you can't tell the difference than violence in media is probably the least of your concerns.

It's very rare that I ever see a portrayal of violence that even comes close to the real thing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Just substitute "violence" with "sexism" and see what you get.........................

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's all to do with where a person is at mentally. And if we are talking about mentality who knows what could tick off a psychopath. It could be a violent game, or it could be the sound of the kettle. That there is the real issue. Which is also why younger people (children) react more severely to violence in games. They are not mentally prepared to deal with the violence on screen. Which is why game ratings exist.

Most violence I see in society can be put down to a few factors. Alcohol, ethnicity, opposite sex, road rage.

Video games is the last of societies worries.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If sexism in media doesn't contribute to society, then why would violence in media?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When you're dealing with billions of people. The simple answer is yes, violence from movies and video games will spur some people in the wrong direction. Very very few people but definitely it does have some impact. A blanket statement of no is foolish with or without any scientific evidence.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The fact that this is even a poll is worrying. Violence was more prevalent in before video-games existed. If anything, they provide an escape from real life violence. Old people use them as escape goats in a world they messed up, just like old people did with rock&roll 50 years ago. This poll won't happen 20 years from now.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The problem is that today, teenagers have violence in all kinds of forms served to them on a silver plate. It's glorified in computer games giving the impression to "kill with style" and use at least three f-bombs in every sentence. Way to go for the next generation of low life.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Of course, since it's sort of media that influences people.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Violence is 'hard wired' into human DNA...what ever 'spark's' it is part of the problem...TV,video games,movies,music etc...the list goes on.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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