A plethora of research has examined the relationship between media violence and the effects on children. Media violence is ubiquitous and comes in many forms, television and film, computer and video games, internet, music and radio and newspapers and magazines. However, the media that dominates the studies are television, then computer/video games and to a lesser degree music. Three types of evidence support the hypothesis that exposure to media violence is harmful to children. First there is anecdotes and case studies, then correlational studies and third the results of numerous experiments (Bernstein et al. 2006). However there are the sceptics that suggest the evidence is not conclusive in anecdotes and case studies, while correlations
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The theory consists of a four-step process whereby learners must notice the model and construct and remember what was being modelled, retain the behaviour to be reproduced and finally have an incentive or motivation to do so (Singelman & Rider 2008; Peterson 2004). From an observational learning perspective Bernstein et al. (2006) suggests television, including televised violence, teaches children a great deal. Contemporary media provides a large variety of models for viewers to emulate (Huesmann et al. 2003; Konijn, Bijvank & Bushman 2007). Bushman and Anderson (2001) suggest exposure to violent television and video/computer games can play a substantial part in developing aggressive behaviour via observational learning. Therefore by modelling the character that possesses violent behaviour seen on television or playing video/computer games the child learns to reproduce that behaviour in time.
The type of models selected to emulate depend on the individual, some will choose models that possess similar qualities to themselves, while other will choose models with qualities they wish they had. According to Konijn, Bijvank & Bushman (2007) these are referred to as ‘similarity identification’ and ‘wishful identification’. Violent video games are especially likely to increase aggression when players identify