Interpretations and Public Policy
This chapter discusses the magnitude of media violence effects, the idea of media violence providing catharsis (venting) for aggression, and a host of public policy questions. It shows, for example, that the harmful effects of violent video games are at least as large as many other known risk factors, such having abusive parents. Furthermore, video game violence is important because almost all children are exposed to this risk factor. The vast array of media violence studies over the last 50 years strongly disproves the catharsis idea that (unfortunately) remains so popular in modern culture. This is the idea that using violent media allows a person to vent their pent up aggressive inclinations, thereby reducing real aggressive behavior. Although this idea is appealing, it is wrong. The chapter concludes with descriptions of a wide array of public policy options that various concerned parents, legislators, and policy makers in a number of countries have proposed to address the harmful effects of violent video games.
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