Center for Innovative Public Health Research is one of two national research organizations to be awarded funding from the Division of Violence Prevention, NCIPC, at the Centers for Disease Control to investigate the possible relationship between exposure to violent new medias, and aggressive and violent behavior among young people. The three-year study will focus on the possible effects of violent images accessed on the Internet.
There has been a longstanding concern about the consequences of youths’ exposure to violence in the media, with particular concern about the effects of such exposure on violent behavior. Recent studies have documented the profusion of different types of media in United States homes and the widespread presence of violence in these media outlets.
The emergence and proliferation of new media (e.g., video games, music videos, Internet sites, and DVD) have increased opportunities for children and youth to be exposed to violence. According to the US Surgeon General as well as research compiled over the last 45 years, exposure to TV violence is one of many factors contributing to violent behavior among young people. Recent research suggests links between violent video games and aggressive behavior. The extent to which this earlier research is relevant for understanding the potential harmful effects of newer, more realistic and graphic games is unclear.
Despite extensive research on this subject, at least three key gaps remain in our understanding of the relationship between youth exposure to media violence and violent behavior. First, more information is needed about the effects of different types of new media and their content on violent behavior. Second, while substantial research has described associations between exposure to violent media on attitudes and measures of aggression, less is known about the extent to which exposure to violent media is associated with risk for more serious forms of violence, including victimization and perpetration resulting in injury. Third, a relatively small subset of youth may be particularly susceptible to the effects of exposure to violent media. Thus, additional research, such as that proposed in the current protocol, is needed to understand the individual and contextual factors that influence the association between exposure to violent media and risk for violence.
As Dr. Michele Ybarra, President of Internet Solutions for Kids explains, “the risk for engaging in aggressive and violent acts increases with age throughout adolescence. This same trend is seen for violent video games with greater numbers of youth adopting these types of games with age. Given this confluence of factors, investigating the relationship between new forms of media and involvement in violence is an important issue for public health, for parents, and for violence prevention practitioners.” The results of this study could impact policies regarding the portrayal of violence in media, the ways in which parents monitor their child’s viewing habits, and the way parents and youth interpret what they are viewing.
Center for Innovative Public Health Research is a non-profit public health organization dedicated to promoting positive youth development and health through the creation and implementation of innovative and unique youth-oriented Internet research, education, and programs. This research project represents a collaborative effort between private research organizations, academic research institutions, and the federal government. The three-year, $900,000 study is solely funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.