|Violence and the media the lack of cause and effect?|
What is the real picture? A quote from the Department of Justice "Since 1994 declines in violent crime rates have continued. Between 1994 and 1995 and between 1995 and 1996, a 10% reduction in the violent crime rate occurred, followed by 7% decreases between 1996 and 1997 and between 1997 and 1998. The 10% declines in the violent crime rate occurring in 1994-95, 1995-96,and 1998-99 are tied as the largest single-year percent decreases in NCVS history."(7). Juvenile violent crime began to climb in the late 1980's after a decade of relative stability. This trend continued until 1994 when it peaked and began to fall( 8). Another report showed a continue decrease in violent crime and property crime (9 ).
A study that claimed to take other factors like as academic skills, community violence or emotional problems into account found "childhood and adolescent violent media preferences contributed significantly to the prediction of violence and general aggression." (10 ). The study used questionnaires given to teenagers, their parents and teachers. The teens came from a high school and juvenile detention centers (11 ).
We have to remember "correlation does not mean causation", just because things happen at the same time, both may not be related (12 ).
Something to consider, there have been discrepancies of reports a child's anti social behavior and attitudes when made by the child, and adults in the child's life. Could an adolescence who is seen as a "good kid" by adults be unwillingness to provide information to adults (parents, adults, even researchers) to shake this image. However a youth who is seen as notoriously bad would be more willing to share information on anti social behavior and attitudes (13 ).
A review of research claimed to show that greater use of television, music, movies and other media cause an array of health problems. Like childhood obesity, tobacco use, early sexual behavior, drug use, alcohol use and low academic achievement. You have to wonder what they mean by greater use of the media. Was it out of the norm of regular use? was in an obsession? An obsession could mean deeper psychological problems not cause by media use. Its also interesting to note as cited in another section of these pages the media is being blamed for kids starving themselves, they also claim its responsible for obesity? (14 ). This review of research was sponsored by "Common Sense Media" San Francisco-based nonprofit. That warns parents about their perceived impact media has on children (15 ).