The Media Effects Model

When issues such as violence and antisocial behaviour arise in society such as the Port Arthur Massacre and the case of Jamie Bulger and his 10 year old murderers, is it appropriate the finger of blame is pointed at the media. The media effects model looks at the notion of causality (the chain of events), starting with the violent behaviour portrayed through media and influencing the negative behaviour in society.

violenceIt’s obvious to me that the media plays a huge role in the lives of everyone in society. But what is the extent of their influence? And is it fair to blame the media instead of the more logical reasoning behind these actions?

I certainly think it’s easier for society to blame the media, instead of evaluating the real effects, effects that perhaps may have slipped through the cracks of those societies, or which they ignored or failed to recognise. Prominent social issues, such as history surrounding the individual, issues of poverty, abuse and unemployment all need to be addressed.

The foundation to the model is based on studies which have been undertaken in fabricated circumstances, often taking place in laboratories and under un-natural conditions, or where the experiment is clear to the subjects what is asked of them. A key example of this is the ‘bobo doll’ experiment where children viewed a doll being hit and then were placed in a playroom with one. In this instance, the children would have realised what was being asked of them, therefore the study is not legitimate.

Futhermore, the effects model heavily limits its criticisms of violence to fictional mediums such as video games and movies. Real life news reports are not reported to be an issue. This raises a lot of questions, seeing as the violence broadcasted on the news depicts real life violence, and the violence represented in video games and movies is fictional. Why is it that this real life violence is acceptable and fictional violence is the cause?

With all this in mind, I would like to leave you with a few questions,

Would you be more inclined to copy a real-life situation of violence, or a cartoon depiction of violence?

And why doesn’t the violence in media affect everyone? How can it supposedly affect some people substantially and not others?

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2 thoughts on “The Media Effects Model

  1. Hey Sarah, good take on the effects of media model!
    Just thought i’d answer the questions you have up here.
    1. i would be more inclined to copy a cartoon depiction of violence then a real life situation as i feel it doesn’t harvest the same amount of anger and can be interpreted as more of a joke (as it as a cartoon) opposed to a real life event.
    2. I really like this question, i think it presents the key flaw in the media effects model. And all i have to answer to that is..EXACTLY! why doesn’t it influence everyone

  2. Pingback: Lesson learnt. | teganoffbeat

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