Media Violence

February 14, 2014 • Volume 24, Issue 7
Do children have too much access to violent content?
By Christina L. Lyons


The ultraviolent video game “Grand Theft Auto V” (Getty Images/Mario Tama)
The ultraviolent video game “Grand Theft Auto V” grossed more than $1 billion in its first three days on the market. Young players know it's fantasy, some experts say, but others warn the game can negatively influence youths' behavior. (Getty Images/Mario Tama)

Recent accounts of mass school shootings and other violence have intensified the debate about whether pervasive violence in movies, television and video games negatively influences young people's behavior. Over the past century, the question has led the entertainment media to voluntarily create viewing guidelines and launch public awareness campaigns to help parents and other consumers make appropriate choices. But lawmakers' attempts to restrict or ban content have been unsuccessful because courts repeatedly have upheld the industry's right to free speech. In the wake of a 2011 Supreme Court ruling that said a direct causal link between media violence — particularly video games — and real violence has not been proved, the Obama administration has called for more research into the question. Media and video game executives say the cause of mas shootings is multifaceted and cannot be blamed on the entertainment industry, but many researchers and lawmakers say the industry should shoulder some responsibility.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Violence in America
Apr. 29, 2022  Political Violence
Jun. 01, 2018  Gang Violence
Oct. 09, 2015  Fighting Gangs
Feb. 14, 2014  Media Violence
Nov. 15, 2013  Domestic Violence
Feb. 08, 2013  Preventing Hazing
Jan. 06, 2006  Domestic Violence
Oct. 31, 2003  Serial Killers
Sep. 03, 1993  Suburban Violence
Apr. 27, 1979  Violence in the Family
Jun. 05, 1968  Violence in American Life
Movies and Entertainment
Popular Culture