Media violence and school shootings

Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Article After each school and mass shooting, the debate turns to gun control, security and mental health. Research is offered from additional sources as to armed officers in schools and gun purchases.

Media violence and school shootings

Tweet When two young gunmen, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, killed 13 students and a teacher, and injured 21 before killing themselves inan ongoing, fiery debate about the media's influence was once again ignited. The Columbine High School massacre and extensive coverage of the event by news programs, documentaries, books and blogs appeared to side with those who believe that violence depicted graphically in movies and video games causes, contributes to, and influences violent behavior and even murder.

Both Harris and Klebold played violent "murder-simulation" video games, and were fans of the controversial movie "Natural Born Killers" about a husband and wife pair of mass murderers who received intense media coverage. News reports said that the boys watched this movie many times and knew the dialogue verbatim.

Making the Connection from Media to Real Life Proving, however, that a causative link exists between media violence and murder is problematic if not impossible, according to Stuart Fischoff, emeritus professor of media psychology at California State University in Los Angeles, and senior editor of the Journal of Media Psychology.

Research in this area is often flawed, Fischoff said. Many researchers start a study with a particular opinion or point of view, and then ignore data that contradicts that point of view. He said another problem is generalizing what researchers observe in laboratories to real-world behavior.

Research has shown that violent images create an "arousal effect" where some people are more prone to aggressive acts after viewing something violent, but they're also likely to eat, walk and talk faster, Fischoff said.

To say that the movie or game or program caused a murder, however, is a stretch. But that doesn't mean that the mass media are completely innocuous. Once you have a school massacre, it's likely to become a stimulus for other high school massacres, or so-called "copy cat" crimes.

Media violence and school shootings

So it's imperative that the media know how to inform the public without exacerbating or teaching other kids how to go out and copy this type of tragedy, Fischoff said.

Fischoff added that the media have a responsibility to present crimes within a statistical context. For example, Fischoff was asked by a California news organization to provide psychological commentary about robberies occurring at ATMs. However, the news stories about the robberies were scaring people and keeping them from using the cash machines.

So Fischoff told the news organization that he would comment on the burglaries only if the news story included statistics that compared the number of ATM transactions per day across the city to the number of robberies that were occurring.

As he expected, the number of transactions was extremely large compared to the relatively small number of robberies. By reporting information that was within a statistical context, the news story he participated in helped dispel hysteria rather than spread it, he said.

Bushman and Craig A. Anderson of Iowa State University are two researchers who have stated that exposure to media violence causes behavioral violence. In a article that appeared in the American Psychologist, Bushman and Anderson said that research shows that only a correlation needs to be shown to demonstrate the negative effects of media, not a causative link.

The article, Media violence and the American public: Scientific fact versus media misinformation, has been cited over times and used as reference material in testimony before the U.

Block, a psychiatrist in private practice and also a researcher interested in technology's effects on individuals, questioned this assertion.

Public Opinion on School Shootings and Violence - Crime in

In an online interview appearing on Destructoid. He was shocked by what he found. These are the types of controversial studies that assert a link between media and behavior that researchers such as Fischoff and Block dispute.

Yet despite questionable statistical calculations and research conclusions, Block believes that technology does affect individuals, and often negatively. In a article on the Columbine shootings for the American Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, Block wrote that content of video games isn't the issue, it's the fact that Harris and Klebold were so heavily immersed in a virtual world.The link between media violence and mass shootings is yet more tenuous.

Making the Connection from Media to Real Life

Compared with acts of aggression and violence, mass shootings are relatively rare events, which makes conducting conclusive.

The Media Is an Accomplice in School Shootings A call for a “Stephen King” law. Posted Apr 09, For school shootings and violence, by 56 to 41 percent, Americans think we should change laws related to “school security and mental health system” rather than the “laws on the sales of guns and ammunition.” Media on deadline.

This study finds that school shootings increase enrollment at private high schools, particularly in suburban and rural areas. The researchers looked at enrollment at public and private high schools nationwide between and and matched that data with school shooting reports.

Some people say that school shootings are due to the excess marketing of violence in movies, television, video games, and music. "'There is a difference between what one has the right to do and what is socially responsible', he says.

No single risk factor is the cause of mass shootings or school shootings. Third, no single risk factor is necessary for violence. For example, not all mass shooters grew up in a violent family.

The Effects of Violence in Media