''What Should Be Done About Media Representations of Violence?

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''Theories of Media Audiences and their Varied Interactions with Media Texts''

The Media has increasingly started to plague our viewing pleasure with violence and graphic images of sex and derogatory fields of violence!

With the advent of mass media, including television and more recently, video and computer games, children and teenagers are exposed to increasingly higher doses of aggressive images. In many countries, there is an average of five to ten aggressive acts per hour of television. Violence among youth is also on the rise, making it plausible to correlate the two, even though we believe that the primary causes for aggressive behaviour in children are to be found in their family environment, and the social and economic conditions in which they are raised.


Media heroes

Answers to a standardized set of 60 questions inquiring upon media behavior, habits, preferences and social environments showed a fascination with aggressive media heroes, especially among boys: Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'Terminator' is a global icon, known by 88% of the children surveyed, be they from India, Brazil or Japan.

Asked to name their favorite role models, boys most frequently named an action hero (30%), while girls opted for pop stars. There are regional differences: Asia showed the highest ranking for the former (34%), Africa the lowest (18%), with Europe and the Americas in between (25%). More interesting is how children in difficult situations identify with such heroes, whether as compensation or as an escape: 51% of the children from war or high-crime environments wish to be like him, as compared to 37% in the low-aggression neighborhoods.

Overlapping worlds

A remarkable number of children from both groups (44%) report a strong overlap in what they perceive as reality and what they see on the screen. Many children are surrounded by an environment...