Recipe for Disaster ?

After a close inspection of the media effects model it came to my attention that it was another example of human ignorance. As a species it is my belief that we are incapable of accepting the concept of ‘failure’ and would rather ‘pass it on’ in layman terms. The media effects model was constructed to be an easy escape goat. Behind all the scientific terms and fancy words, the model singles out media for being the sole purpose behind increasing acts of violence, misconduct behaviour and a simple lack of disrespect for authority. By blaming media for promoting violence within children we avoid looking at the real issue of nurture and development. This idea is evident in Gauntlett’s article ‘Ten things Wrong with the Effects Model’ where he states that the  model tackles social problems backwards, meaning that society are falsely jumping to conclusions rather than investigating all possible factors.

This idea that Gauntlett brings up is evident within the Sandy Hook massacre case in the United States. On the 12th December  Adam Lanza fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook elementary school. Cases of such a degree often bring media into the limelight with the public questioning what would cause some young boy to do such a thing? Many jumped to the conclusion that exposure to hours of ‘violent’ video games was the main catalyst. Of course it couldn’t be human development, could it? As an investigation took place and we began to look behind the superficial life of Adam Lanza, full of late night video games and an anti social presence within school. It was discovered he had suffered his entire life with multiple mental disorders including Autism, Asperger and SID. He was also a victim of a broken home and an absent father. When considering all the factors that come into play in Adams tragic tale can we really say media was the cause of his horrendous act?

The results of the media effects model are often heavily criticized with the studies conducted in artificial settings limiting the effect of the overall experiment as a result of misapplied methodology. This is due to people jumping to conclusions before hand. However, a study conducted between 1985-2007 by the AMA council on science and public health contradict the popular notion that video games promote violence, as they found no direct link between violent video games and increases in long term violent behaviour. The main psychological effects found within the study was (DSM)-IV or more commonly known as internet addiction which has been shown to jeopardize other life factors and cause dysfunctional relationships. However, this is only found in 10-15% of gamers and making up 9% of this number are MMORPG players who are involved in highly social, constructive games were the sole purpose is on interaction with fellow players, thus ruling out antisocial behaviour which is linked with a tendency to violent behaviour.

The media effects model is a recipe for disaster found in the “Asking the Wrong Questions” cookbook. Including ingredients such as minimal idealistic views, unjustified stereotypes and a narrow approach. Cooked in an oven of misapplied methodology and served with an inconsistency topped with little evidence or substantial link. The final product served to us on a silver platter with the purpose to induce an anti media coma.



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