Media Effects Violence depicted in the media has been a target of attack and counterattack for decades. But the amount, intensity, and graphic nature of the violence have continued to escalate. According to a report by the American Academy of Pedi- atrics (2019), American children spend an average of about seven hours a day using media, and a large proportion of this media exposure includes acts of vio- lence. More than 90% of children and teenagers in the developed world play
seems that way. Consider the following reports, which are just a sample of the many similar incidents that have been reported.
(1) On May 31, 2014, two 12-year-old girls stabbed their friend 19 times, allegedly because they were inspired by a fan-fiction supernatural character named Slender Man, which was popular on some Internet forums. (2) Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were big fans of the violent video game Doom when they went on their 1999 shooting spree at Columbine High School, and reports indicate that they based their plans for their massacre on the game. (3) Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in bombing and shooting attacks in Norway in 2011, said that he played violent video games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and World of Warcraft for training purposes before the attacks. He claimed that he played these games for about 16 hours a day in 2006, doing little else but playing and sleeping for the entire year.
Yet no one can ever prove that a specific fictional depiction was the primary cause of a specific act of violence. There are always other possibilities. And, of course, for every one of these horrific stories, there are countless more in which people consume a heavy diet of violent media and do not commit acts of violence.