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Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence

Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence
A Critical Look at the Research

432 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
'Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence is a state of the art assessment of this complex issue. Providing both historical and theoretical context, Dr Kirsh expertly guides the reader through the maze of myth and scientific evidence on media violence effects on children and youth. Eminently readable, this book is an essential resource for anyone who wants to understand the scientific methodology, results, and policy implications of media violence research' - Jeanne B Funk, University of Toledo

Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence provides a comprehensive review and critique of the literature related to media violence in all its forms during childhood and adolescence. Special attention is paid to evaluating the role of the development processes in media violence research and to stressing the importance of methodology in understanding that research. The developmental analysis taken by the author allows for the identification of age-related `holes' in the literature and helps the reader to become a critical consumers of the research. The book also provides the most comprehensive overview available of the effects of media violence on children and adolescents.

Key features include:

- a developmental perspective, utilizing three themes throughout the text: critical assessment of research; the importance of development in evaluating research; and identifying the next step in the research process;

- multiple forms of media violence to broaden the scope of discussion;

- discusses and critiques the five major theories utilized to explain the impact of media violence on children and adolescents;

- chapter-opening introductions to draw in readers and to set the stage for the content to come;

- extended discussion beyond explicit media violence to address the potential benefits and harm associated with nonviolent media consumption.

Understanding Aggression
Chapter 1: There and Back Again: A Media Violence Tale
A Look Through the Violent Sands of Time

Evaluating the Evidence for Evil Influences

Aggressive Behavior and Aggression-Related Constructs

Answering Questions so New Questions Can be Raised

Preview of Coming Attractions


Chapter 2: Exposing The Beast Within: Aggressive Behavior Across Development
Normative Development and Individual Variation

The Developmental Pathway from Anger to Conflict to Aggression


Individual Variation in Aggressive Behavior

Sex Differences in Aggressive Behavior across Development

Aggressive Behavior in the Context of Development

Excessive Aggression in Youth


Chapter 3: Understanding The Beast Within: Theories Of Aggressive Behavior
Understanding Theories

Theories of Aggression

Theories of Aggression and Developmental Considerations


Chapter 4: Dining On Death And Destruction: The How Much And Why Of Violent Media Consumption
Media Violence Consumption across Development

Patterns of Violent Media Consumption

Reasons for Consuming Violent Entertainment

The Importance of Understanding Why Youth Consume Violent Media

Violent Media Consumption as a Function of Development


Effects of Specific Forms of Violent Media on Youth
Chapter 5: Violent Media And The Need To Be Strong And Powerful
Historical Proponents of Media Violence

The So-Called Modern Day Benefits of Media Violence

Anecdotal Evidence: Is it Scientific?

Evaluating the Empirical Evidence Presented by Jones

A Final Dagger into the Heart of Sexy Vampire Slayers


Chapter 6: Watching The Playful Beast: Sports Violence And Aggression
Aggression in Modern Sport

There was no “Second Spitter” Hidden in a Grassy Knoll for Roberto Alomar

Modeling Aggression and Its Consequences

Laying the Smack Down on Sports Entertainment

Factors that Influence Imitative Behavior in Youth

Effects of Watching Aggressive Behavior on Youth Aggression During Sport


Chapter 7: Violence-Laden Imagination: Comic Books, Fiction, And Toys
Comic Book Violence

Violence in Literature and Youthful Fear and Aggression

War Toys and Aggression


Chapter 8: Animating The Beast: Cartoon Violence
Cartoons: A Brief Historical Overview

Violence in Cartoons

Cartoons and Aggressive Behavior: The Evidence


Chapter 9: Listening To The Beast: Violence In Music And Music Videos
Historical Overview

The Targets of Modern-Day Research on Music Violence

The Popularity of Music

The Lyrical Content of Heavy Metal and Rap

On Hearing things that Cannot Be Heard

Rockin’ and a Rollin’ and a Fightin’

Sex, Violence, and Video Tape


Chapter 10: Watching The Beast: Live-Action Television And Movie Violence
Violence on Television

Differences between Movies and Television

The Context of Aggression and its Importance to Television Violence

The Effects of Television Violence on Aggressive Behavior

The Effect of Television Violence on Aggression-Related Constructs



Chapter 11: Playing With The Beast: Violent Video Games
The Popularity of Violent Video Games

Teaching Kids to Kill

Video Game Eras and Video Game Violence

Types of Violent Video Games

The Effects of Violent Video Games on Youth as a Function of Video Game Era and Game Type


Media Violence and the Concept of Risk
Chapter 12: Risk And Protective Factors
Beans and Aggression

Child Characteristics that are Risk Factors for Aggression

Environmental Risk Factors

Protective Factors from Aggression

On the Importance of Risk and Protective Factors in Media Violence Research


Chapter 13: The Threat Of Media Violence: Assessing Its Magnitude And Reducing Its Effects
Sizing it all Up


Video Games: The Baddest of the Bad?

Placing The Effect Sizes For Violent Media In The Context Of Other Risk Factors For Aggression

Media Violence Exposure and Moderators

Reducing the Effects of Media Violence Consumption Through Mediation


Chapter 14: Policy, Violent Entertainment, And Youth
Legislating Media Violence, Is There Really a Need?

A Brief Look at Policy Making

Violent Entertainment and Current Policy

Media Violence Policy: A Look to the Future


Nonviolent Media and Youth
Chapter 15: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly: The Effects Of Nonviolent Media On Children And Adolescents
Defining the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly



"I liked this manuscript tremendously….I thought the author took on the daunting task of summarizing the research on the impact of violent media on children elegantly and compellingly.  He walked the very difficult line of concisely summarizing what we know and what we don't know about violent media content on children with enough breadth and depth to expose the important issues about the veracity of the findings  I liked his writing style, which was informal but not too colloquial, and I loved the time he took to stop and define difficult methodological and statistical concepts within his descriptions of the research….Yet another reason I'm a fan of this book is I didn't get the sense the author had an axe to grind.  That is, he did a wonderful job of responsibly and reasonably reporting what we know about the connections between media violence and a variety of poor outcomes in children.  He did a very thorough job, touching upon all the important issues that I could see, and he did it without getting on a 'soap box' and descending into opinion and punditry.."

Elizabeth A. Vandewater
University of Texas at Austin

"This is a very interesting book that addresses an important issue, the influence of media violence on children and adolescents.  The book is suitable for use in an advanced undergraduate class or in a specialized graduate seminar devoted to studies of media and children.  The author has assembled a broad range of research resources and commentaries on the topic and seems knowledgeable about the issues and concerns in the field."

John P. Murray
Kansas State University & Harvard Medical School

"The book is exceedingly well written.  It is clear, engaging, and readable.  This is a substantial accomplishment and I believe it is one of the main strengths of the manuscript."

Glenn G. Sparks
Purdue University

"Such a book is timely and fills an important niche for professionals in the field and for instruction….Particularly appealing is the fact that it takes a broad view of the entire media violence literature."

Craig Anderson
Iowa State University

"Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence:  A Critical Look at the Research is a state of the art assessment of this complex issue. Providing both historical and theoretical context, Dr. Kirsh expertly guides the reader through the maze of myth and scientific evidence on media violence effects on children and youth.  Eminently readable, this book is an essential resource for anyone who wants to understand the scientific methodology, results, and policy implications of media violence research."

Jeanne B. Funk
University of Toledo

"This book, written for those who can read and think at the college graduate level, leaves the reader with enough sophistication to resist the temptation to oversimplify the subject while using his or her new understanding to discuss the matter as an expert. . . I would gladly put Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence in the hands of every school superintendent, policy maker, principal, and politician I could. . . The latest edition of Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence is a must-read for every graduate student in a clinical psychology program as well as every clinician and potential media consultant in the behavioral sciences."

Joseph H. McCoy
Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books

"College-level collections strong in media history as well as education studies will find plenty to like with Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence: A Critical Look at the Research. Video games are included in chapters which will appeal to undergraduates and graduate students in a range of courses."

Midwest Book Review

"Kirsh has produced a very logical and systematic approach to examining research concerning children, aggressive behavior, and the influence of media violence."

Ottis Murray
University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Criminal Justice Review

Steven J. Kirsh

Steven J. Kirsh is a Professor of Psychology at The State University of New York at Geneseo. During his youth, he reports spending many hours, and dollars, in the video arcades of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Professor Kirsh’s primary areas of research focus on the influence of violent media consumption on emotion recognition and social information processing. He has published Media and Youth: A Developmental Perspective (2010) and coauthored the most recent edition of Psychology for Living: Adjustment, Growth, and Behavior Today (2011), as well as numerous scientific articles and book chapters. Professor Kirsh currently teaches courses in the... More About Author

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