How to Reduce Consumption of Violent Media?
Violent media does not have a calming effect on teens, most researchers agree. However, there is much less agreement on how we should reduce the use of violent media and how to make young users more critical toward violent content. In a study reported in Journal of Youth Adolescence, German researchers investigated the effects of an intervention aimed to reduce teens’ watching of violent media content and, by extension, their aggressive behaviors.
- A school-based intervention aimed at teens can effectively
- reduce adolescents’ use of violent media content;
- reduce their aggressive behaviors;
- sustain over a period of several months.
What are the effects of the intervention on media use and aggressive behaviors of teens?
683 German teens (51% female) with a mean age of 13 years old. Students from 10 schools in Berlin were involved in this study.
The intervention comprised five school sessions for the teens and two parent evenings. The school sessions consisted of several homework tasks, such as making assignments and organizing a media-free weekend. The aim of the intervention was to reduce the use of violent media and also to promote critical feelings towards violent media content.
The researchers then compared teens who had attended the intervention session with teens who did not. Three and seven months after the intervention, all teens completed an online questionnaire about their use of violent media content and their (aggressive) behaviors.
Facts and findings
- 52% of the adolescents used TV, films, and video games on a daily basis.
- 71% of them used these media for at least one hour a day.
- 42% of the boys played video games every day, compared to only 12% of the girls.
- Prior to the intervention, there were no differences between the intervention-group and the non-intervention group.
- During and after the intervention, teens from the intervention group were using less violent media content than teens who did not receive the intervention.
- Teens who received the intervention reported less aggressive behaviors than the teens from the non-intervention group.
- Seven months after the intervention, the positive effects of the intervention were still apparent
- Boys tended to be more aggressive than girls, but the intervention reduced violent media use and behaviors for both boys and girls.