PSYC2500 Carleton Early Childhood Exposure to Media Violence Article Essay One-Page Article Summary May NOT exceed ONE page. Submit on Mon Sept 30th, at 8

PSYC2500 Carleton Early Childhood Exposure to Media Violence Article Essay One-Page Article Summary May NOT exceed ONE page. Submit on Mon Sept 30th, at 8:35am for Bonus marks. NO extensions Complete reference in APA format: Purpose or Objective of the paperHypothesisMethods/Basis for ArgumentSummary of major research findingsConclusionsLimitations of the studyImplications of the studyFuture Direction for research Fitzpatrick, C., Oghia, M., Melki, J., and Pagani, L. (2016). Early childhood exposure to media violence: What parents and policymakers ought to know. South African Journal of Childhood Education, 6(1), a431. doi: 10.4102/sajce.v6i1.431 South African Journal of Childhood Education
ISSN: (Online) 2223-7682, (Print) 2223-7674
Page 1 of 6
Original Research
Early childhood exposure to media violence: What
parents and policymakers ought to know
Caroline Fitzpatrick1,2,3
Michael J. Oghia4
Jad Melki5
Linda S. Pagani6
Department of Social
Sciences, Université
Sainte-Anne, Canada
Centre for Education Practice
Research (CEPR), University
of Johannesburg,
South Africa
We review the state of evidence supporting a link between violent media exposure in preschoolaged children and subsequent well-being outcomes. We searched through four decades
(1971–2011) of literature for enlightening details on the relationship between early exposure to
media violence and health outcomes in later childhood and adolescence. Evidence suggests
that preschool exposure may be linked to increased aggression and self-regulation problems.
Results are discussed in the context of displacement, social cognitive and overstimulation
theories. We recommend increasing efforts towards developing guidelines for families and
professionals concerned with the well-being of children.
Perform Centre, Concordia
University, Canada
Department of Sociology,
Anthropology, and Media
Studies, American University
of Beirut, Lebanon
Department of
Communication Arts,
Lebanese American
University, Lebanon
School of Psychoeducation,
Université de Montréal,
Corresponding author:
Caroline Fitzpatrick,
Received: 08 Apr. 2016
Accepted: 05 July 2016
Published: 23 Nov. 2016
How to cite this article:
Fitzpatrick, C., Oghia, M.J.,
Melki, J. & Pagani, L.S., 2016,
‘Early childhood exposure to
media violence: What
parents and policymakers
ought to know’, South African
Journal of Childhood
Education 6(1), a431. http://
Read online:
Scan this QR
code with your
smart phone or
mobile device
to read online.
Over the past several decades, child development specialists have expressed concern over
whether television violence, or media that depicts harmful intent expressed towards another
person, poses a serious threat to the healthy development of children. Exposure to violent media
by preschool-aged children especially has received little attention, although viewing habits in this
age group have increased dramatically over the past decade, raising concerns for parents,
paediatricians and researchers (Common Sense Media & Rideout 2011; Sigman 2012). Some
research suggests that the effects of media violence on child well-being are negligible. For example,
a meta-analytic review of 25 published studies found the effects of violent media on aggressive
behaviour to be modest at best (Ferguson & Kilburn 2009). However, this meta-analysis included
studies on adults and children from several age groups. Some recent studies provide strong
evidence that preschool-aged children who view violent television are more likely to behave
aggressively (Christakis et al. 2013; Robertson, McAnally & Hancox 2013; Verlinden et al. 2012).
The aim of the present critical review was to examine the state of the evidence supporting a link
between early childhood (2- to 6-year-olds) exposure to violent media and subsequent health and
well-being outcomes.
We searched through several decades (1971–2013) of educational, psychological, sociological,
psychiatric, paediatric and communication literatures. Only peer-reviewed studies that employed
either randomised control group designs or strong correlational designs which control for
important confounders, such as baseline aggression and family context, were retained.
Preschool-aged children and television violence
Prior research on the effect of viewing media violence has primarily examined aggressive
outcomes in school-aged children and adolescents. Studies and meta-analyses have found that
exposure to media violence can induce increases in aggressive and violent behaviour in these
populations (for a meta-analysis, see Anderson & Bushman 2001; for reviews, see Bushman &
Huesmann 2006; Paik & Comstock 1994; Villani 2001). Furthermore, research suggests that
adolescents who view more violent content are also at risk of increased fearfulness, anxiety and
symptoms of emotional distress (Villani 2001).
The consequences of exposure to violent media are likely to vary according to a child’s age and
developmental stage. There is consensus amongst the scientific community that early experiences
often matter more than those that occur later in life (Heckman 2006; Shonkoff & Phillips 2000). In
particular, child development specialists recognise that preschool years mark a sensitive period for
social, cognitive and behavioural development. The science of brain development has shown that
children display heightened sensitivity to environments and experiences during these formative
years. In favourable conditions, when children benefit from high-quality education and caregiving
experience, development is optimised. However, this period of environmental sensitivity can also
lead to increased vulnerability to stressful experiences and environments. Consequently, an
examination of the effects of viewing media violence in early childhood is warranted.
Copyright: © 2016. The Authors. Licensee: AOSIS. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License.
Open Access
Page 2 of 6
According to a study by the Kaiser Foundation, over 60% of
American families have three or more television sets
in their households (2007). Over 80% of families also
subscribed to cable, which further increases viewing
options for children. Furthermore, it is estimated that 83%
of children aged 6 and younger are exposed to television on
a typical day and two-thirds of children are exposed to
television every day. In addition, for half the surveyed
households, parents reported that a television was present
in their child’s bedroom. Finally, a study conducted by
UNESCO (1999), which surveyed the viewing habits of
children in 23 countries, also found that 93% of school-aged
children spent more than half of their leisure time watching
More recent research suggests that children today are exposed
to more screens than ever before, which can multiply viewing
opportunities. For example, British children today will grow
up with access to an average of five different types of screens,
including smartphones, tablets and computers (Jago et al.
2011). Furthermore, in the United States, close to one-third of
children aged 3 or younger have a television in their room
(Common Sense Media & Rideout 2011). Indeed, it is
estimated that the typical child in an industrialised nation
will spend an average of 3 years in front of screens before
their seventh birthday (Sigman 2012).
In addition to spending much of their free time watching
television, much of the content children view is likely to be
violent. For example, the US National Television Violence
Study (Federman 1995) surveyed general programming to
assess the extent of violence on television. According to
this study, 61% of programmes contained some form of
violence. However, only a small number of programmes
depicted long-term consequences for victims and
perpetrators. Furthermore, in 71% of violent scenes, there
was no expression of remorse on behalf of the perpetrator.
Violence was associated with humour in 41% of cases.
Lethal violence was common and frequently perpetrated
by attractive characters. Other research has shown that in
programmes specifically targeted at young viewers, as
many as 25 violent acts can be observed per hour. Perhaps
more concerning are recently noted increases in violent
content in general programming, cartoons and blockbuster
action films (Bushman et al. 2013; Yokota & Thompson
2000). In this study, the researchers found that gun
violence, in particular, has been increasing sharply over
the past 50 years (Bushman et al. 2013). Taken together,
these studies indicate that violent content is common even
in mainstream programming to which young children are
frequently exposed.
Violent television and aggression
Experimental studies with school-aged children provide
compelling evidence of a causal relationship between
Original Research
violent media exposure and increased short-term risk of
engaging in aggressive behaviour. In general, children
randomly assigned to view violent content are more likely
to use aggressive behaviour immediately afterwards when
provided the opportunity. This is not the case for children
randomly assigned to view non-violent programmes
(Paik & Comstock 1994). In a classic study, 396 eight- to tenyear-old American boys were randomly assigned to view
either violent or non-violent content before playing a game
of hockey (Josephson 1987). Observers who were unaware
which child had watched violent or non-violent content
were asked to record aggressive behaviours (hitting,
elbowing or shoving another player to the ground) during
the game. Boys who viewed the violent programme engaged
in more acts of physical aggression during the game. To
remind the boys of the violent film they had viewed
previously, during some of the games, the referee carried a
walkie-talkie, as had one of the characters in the film. This
was intended to prime aggressive behaviour. Interestingly,
boys who had been rated by their teachers as initially high
in aggression, who were then cued by the walkie-talkie,
committed the highest number of aggressive acts in this
Experimental research involving younger preschool children
has been less conclusive in demonstrating an increased shortterm risk of engaging in aggressive behaviour following
exposure to violent media. For example, in a systematic
review of the literature, Thakkar, Garrison and Christakis
(2006) found that only one out of six studies provided
evidence for the effect of violent television exposure on
short–term aggression. Furthermore, in this study, the effects
of violent televiewing on short-term aggression were
observed only for children who were initially more aggressive
(Steuer, Applefield & Smith 1971).
Longitudinal studies have provided more compelling evidence
of an association between naturally occurring differences
in exposure to television violence and the development
of aggression. In one prospective study, Christakis and
Zimmerman (2007) examined children exposed to violent
media between the ages of 2 and 5 years. They found that
exposed children were four times more likely to score in
the top 15th percentile on an assessment of antisocial behaviour
at age 8. These results remained significant after controlling
for the potentially confounding effect of pre-existing child
aggression, parental socio-demographic characteristics and
overall screen time. Similarly, another longitudinal study
conducted with French Canadian children from the province
of Quebec found associations between exposure to violent
television programmes and movies at the age of 4 and later
teacher-rated antisocial behaviours at age 8 (Fitzpatrick,
Barnett & Pagani 2012). These analyses also controlled for
baseline child aggression, overall screen time and socioeconomic factors.
Huesmann et al. (2003) assessed exposure to television
violence at age 6. Children were followed up 15 years later.
Open Access
Page 3 of 6
Remarkably, significant long-term associations were found
between childhood exposure and later aggressive behaviour
for both the men and women in this sample. That is, men
and women who had been exposed to higher amounts of
violent content during early childhood were more likely to
have engaged in serious forms of aggression by adulthood.
Furthermore, even though certain gender differences were
observed in the pattern of results, high levels of exposure
were associated with a higher than expected frequency
of engaging in criminal behaviour, spousal abuse and
dangerous driving for both men and women (Huesmann
et al. 2003).
Finally, more recently, a longitudinal study of children in
New Zealand found that children who watched more
television between the ages of 5 and 15 were more likely to
show antisocial behaviour, as measured by multiple indicators
(Robertson et al. 2013). For example, although violent
television was not assessed specifically, more exposure to
television during childhood predicted criminal convictions,
being diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder and
having an aggressive personality. Results were similar across
genders, and were not explained by children’s pre-existing
levels of aggression, socio-economic status, intelligence
quotient or parenting characteristics.
Some studies suggest that watching fast-paced programmes
that contain high levels of violence can have negative
consequences on child self-regulation (Friedrich & Huston–
Stein 1973). For example, in one study, children were
randomly assigned to view 1 h of either the Mighty Morphin
Power Rangers or Mister Rogers. Children who viewed the
Power Rangers, but not the control children, were more likely
to show lower levels of concentration and sustained attention
whilst completing a task immediately following the viewing
(Geist & Gibson 2000).
In another study, the researchers examined child exposure
to violent content in a sample of 1800 Canadian children at
age 4. Children were followed up at the age of 8. After taking
into account family background characteristics (e.g. income,
presence of violence in the home and parental aggression)
and child baseline aggression and behaviour problems, it
was found that children who watched more violent content
exhibited more aggressive behaviour and attention problems
(Fitzpatrick et al. 2012).
Experimental evidence also suggests that violent media may
be causally linked to poor attention. In one experiment,
children were randomly assigned to watch either a fast-paced
cartoon that contained lots of action and violence or an
educational cartoon. Following a brief exposure of 9 min,
children exposed to the fast-paced cartoon performed worse
on a task measuring executive functions, which are skills that
allow children to exercise control over thinking and attention
(Lillard & Peterson 2011).
Original Research
Theoretical explanations
Social learning
According to social cognitive theories, observing acts of
violence can influence the development of mental models,
or scripts, regarding how to behave and what to expect from
one’s social context (Kirsh 2011; Krahé et al. 2011). The
perpetration of violent crimes and the use of aggression
as a strategy to solve problems are the central focus in
many television programmes. As a result, exposure to
violent television may lead children to develop perceptions
of their world as overly unsafe and dangerous. If perceptions
of the ‘world as hostile’ persist, children risk developing
a ‘mean world syndrome’, which can then predispose
them to reacting aggressively towards ambiguous situations
(Carnagey, Anderson & Bushman 2007; Huesmann 2007;
Media Education Foundation 2010).
The process of observational learning, which occurs during
exposure to violent media, is also likely to be amplified by
two factors. Firstly, attractive or heroic protagonists generally
commit acts of violence in the media. Secondly, high levels of
physiological arousal and stress occur during exposure,
which can amplify children’s risk of paying attention to,
encoding and eventually imitating behaviours modelled in
the media (Bandura 1986; Christakis 2009).
Finally, children exposed to violent media may also become
desensitised to its arousing effect. Over the long term, this
can lead to decreased sensitivity for victims of aggression
(Huesmann & Taylor 2006). As a result, overexposed children
may be better able to plan and perform proactive acts of
aggression whilst experiencing minimal levels of negative
Developmental perspectives are useful for explaining some
of the discrepancies between experimental and longitudinal
studies. More immediate increases in aggressive behaviour
following the observation of media violence depend primarily
on the priming of previously learned behavioural scripts
(Anderson & Carnagey 2014). Nevertheless, the development
of scripts and schemas requires repeated exposure over time.
As such, children may not show immediate priming effects
to violence until later childhood or adolescence by which
point they are likely to have developed cognitions that
support aggressive behaviour. A meta-analysis of children
and adolescents supports the hypothesis that short-term
effects of media violence on behaviour are more likely to
be observed in older children and adults than in very
young children (Bushman & Huesmann 2006). Interestingly,
very young children who show greater predispositions to
aggressive behaviour do show a short-term increase in
aggressive behaviour following exposure to violent television
content. Much like children who view lots of media violence
over childhood, highly aggressive preschoolers may have
come to develop scripts and cognitions that are more
favourable to reacting aggressively during interpersonal
interactions. These children may, in turn, be more prone to
priming effects during exposure to violent media.
Open Access
Page 4 of 6
Overstimulation or overtaxing of
cognitive resources
The characteristics of violent television shows and movies
include adrenaline-inducing action sequences, quick
scene changes and captivating special effects (Christakis
Christakis (2009) has also found longitudinally that
excessive exposure to fast-paced programming may lead
children to eventually view real life as boring by
comparison. In particular, this disposition may manifest
itself in the classroom where children are often asked to
persist on challenging tasks in the face of boredom or
mental fatigue.
Exposure to scenes of violence which are overwhelming
for young brains may also exercise their influence through
an effect on executive functions. Executive functions are
important not only for attention control but also for
behavioural and emotional regulation and social reasoning.
For example, children with poor executive function often
have more difficulty inhibiting an impulsive aggressive
reaction long enough to select a more reasonable nonaggressive course of action.
Several limitations of this review merit discussion. Firstly,
the observed effects seem inconsistent across genders. For
this reason, further research should address which factors
(i.e. biological, developmental or cultural) play a role in
explaining gender differences in response to violent television
exposure. Secondly, in this review, we only systematically
reviewed key studies published over recent decades. As
such, our conclusions are not based on an exhaustive metaanalysis of all available research. Finally, it was not possible
to assess from the reviewed studies whether early childhood
exposure to violent media may influence additional child
health outcomes.
As pointed out by prior critiques (Ferguson & Kilburn
2009), the magnitude of the effects linking violent
television to aggression is typically small. Regardless,
there is a consensus that even small effects represent a
concern from a public health perspective (Browne &
Hamilton-Giachritsis 2005). Small effect sizes are
multiplied when exposure is widespread across the
population. For example, the strength of the relationship
between violent media exposure and risk of engaging
in aggressive behaviour is in the same range as the strength
of the association between condom use and risk of
contracting sexually transmitted infections or smoking
and risk of contracting lung cancer (Paik & Comstock
1994). Therefore, because they occasion immeasurable
human costs, identifying preventable predictors of
violence and aggression, regardless o…
Purchase answer to see full

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
PSYC2500 Carleton Early Childhood Exposure to Media Violence Article Essay One-Page Article Summary May NOT exceed ONE page. Submit on Mon Sept 30th, at 8
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay
Homework On Time
Calculate the Price of your PAPER Now
Pages (550 words)
Approximate price: -

Why Choose Us

Top quality papers

We always make sure that writers follow all your instructions precisely. You can choose your academic level: high school, college/university or professional, and we will assign a writer who has a respective degree.

Professional academic writers

We have hired a team of professional writers experienced in academic and business writing. Most of them are native speakers and PhD holders able to take care of any assignment you need help with.

Free revisions

If you feel that we missed something, send the order for a free revision. You will have 10 days to send the order for revision after you receive the final paper. You can either do it on your own after signing in to your personal account or by contacting our support.

On-time delivery

All papers are always delivered on time. In case we need more time to master your paper, we may contact you regarding the deadline extension. In case you cannot provide us with more time, a 100% refund is guaranteed.

Original & confidential

We use several checkers to make sure that all papers you receive are plagiarism-free. Our editors carefully go through all in-text citations. We also promise full confidentiality in all our services.

24/7 Customer Support

Our support agents are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and committed to providing you with the best customer experience. Get in touch whenever you need any assistance.

Try it now!

Calculate the price of your order

Total price:

How it works?

Follow these simple steps to get your paper done

Place your order

Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.

Proceed with the payment

Choose the payment system that suits you most.

Receive the final file

Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.

Our Services

No need to work on your paper at night. Sleep tight, we will cover your back. We offer all kinds of writing services.


Essay Writing Service

You are welcome to choose your academic level and the type of your paper. Our academic experts will gladly help you with essays, case studies, research papers and other assignments.


Admission help & business writing

You can be positive that we will be here 24/7 to help you get accepted to the Master’s program at the TOP-universities or help you get a well-paid position.


Editing your paper

Our academic writers and editors will help you submit a well-structured and organized paper just on time. We will ensure that your final paper is of the highest quality and absolutely free of mistakes.


Revising your paper

Our academic writers and editors will help you with unlimited number of revisions in case you need any customization of your academic papers