Monkey see, monkey do?

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In his critique of the effects model, David Gauntlett stated that “the connections between people’s consumption of the mass media and their subsequent behaviour have remained persistently elusive,” however, there is no evidence to support the ongoing claims the media cops for being the sole cause of how its consumers behave.

Alfred Bandura, an American psychologist who advocated the ‘social learning theory,’ conducted a series of hostile laboratory experiments to demonstrate the social learning of aggression. He showed a group of children videos of adults viscously attacking a bo-bo doll, after watching, the children were placed in a room with a bo-bo doll and a separate collection of tranquil toys. The children of course, imitated the adults before them, and violently abused the bo-bo dolls taking no notice of the other toys in the room. Many took this as ‘proof’ that watching violence promotes violence, however, this is a vividly dystopian view of children, treating them as though they are completely innocent or as if they are feral creatures requiring training. While children are impressionable, this is not just by the media; there are obviously other social factors liable for the way they present themselves in everyday life. However, the media effects model tackles these problems somewhat backwards, its accusations stem from “the media, and then trying to lasso connections from there on to social beings, rather than the other way around.”

While there is no real evidence to sustain the alleged declarations of the mass media manipulating societies minds in assisting criminal offences like the effects model aims to depict, there is however, evidence to support that youth who are now in prison for violence or any other form of criminality had hardly any, if zero interaction with violent video games whilst growing up. Games such as ‘Grand Theft Auto’ or ‘Call Of Duty’ are commonly blamed for influencing incriminating acts a means of understanding the ‘mens rea’ behind youth offenders and even regular offenders.

I feel that although there is a causal relationship between the media and the way in which we dictate ourselves in everyday life, it cannot solely be to blame for influencing our every move nor should it be used as a defence for the wrongdoings our society partakes in.


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