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Internet Content, Effects of Violent

  • By: Laura F. Bright
  • In: Encyclopedia of Media Violence
  • Edited by: Matthew S. Eastin
  • Subject:Mass Communication, Aggression & Violence, Violence & Society

Many academicians and laypeople alike are worried that there are negative ramifications to the violence that is often encased in digital entertainment. This issue received national attention after the 1999 school shootings at Columbine High School near Littleton, Colorado. The investigation of the shootings revealed that the shooters had been heavy users of violent video games and websites. Many worried that exposure to such violence leads to desensitization in children. These worries are not unjustified; research has suggested that exposure to violent content impairs emotional regulation that would normally allow a child to trigger an empathetic response. The lack of an empathetic response increases the likelihood of aggressive behavior.

Children become desensitized when they begin to perceive violence as mundane and inevitable rather than uncommon and ...

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