For teens growing up in aggressive families, playing violent games and watching violent TV increases their aggressive behavior. A new CcaM study shows that the impact of media violence on aggression is partly a consequence of teens’ direct environment.
This study showed that media violence can have different effects in different families. In high conflict families, teens react more strongly to violent games and TV programs than in families with little or no conflict.
It is known that media violence can lead to aggressive behavior. This study is the first to show that this effect can be enhanced by the environment in which a teen is growing up. Scientists have argued before that there should be more attention for differences between media users. The expectation is that not all kids react in the same way, but that certain groups of children are more vulnerable to media violence.
This study shows that this is indeed the case, at least for children in high conflict families. The effects of media violence are not independent from what teens see in their direct environment, but can even be enhanced by that environment.
Parents who are concerned about their teens’ behavior could discuss what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior – in both the media and real life.
For this study, 499 Dutch teens filled in a questionnaire at two points in time, about four months apart. The teens (aged 10 to 14) indicated how often they played violent games and watched violent TV shows. They also answered questions about how often they are aggressive towards peers, and how often arguments or fights happen in their family.
The study was conducted by a team of CcaM researchers: Karin Fikkers, Jessica Piotrowski, Wouter Weeda, Helen Vossen and Patti Valkenburg.
Click here to read the article “Double Dose: High Family Conflict Enhances the Effect of Media Violence Exposure on Adolescents’ Aggression” published in the special issue “Understanding Media Violence Effects” of Societies.
Dit artikel is hier ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar.