Social Learning, Media Violence and its Effects on Kids

 One topic that was extremely interesting was about social learning, media violence and its effects on kids. For years there has been a debate on whether or not violent media has an effect kids, making them more aggressive and violent, with many studies having been done on the topic. The first aspect that ties in with media violence is Albert Bandura's Social Learning Theory. In 1961 Bandura conducted a Bobo Doll experiment, where 72 children were split into 3 different groups and watched the same video where an adult performed aggressive acts on a bobo doll. Afterwards each group saw something different, one group saw the adult rewarded for the aggressive behavior, the other saw the adult punished, and the final group saw nothing happen to the adult (no reward or punishment). The next step in the experiment was having each child go into a room with a bobo doll, and have an opportunity to interact with it. Bandura found that the children in the group who saw the adult rewarded for their aggression, were equally if not more aggressive with the bobo doll when it was their turn. The group that saw the adult punished displayed the least amount of aggressive acts towards the bobo doll. From this experiment Bandura formed the Social Learning Theory which states that people learn through observing, modeling, and imitating the behaviors, attitudes, and actions of the people around them. This theory is part of the explanation on why watching/being exposed to violent media can make kids more aggressive. 

In 1982 the National Institute of Mental Health published a report stating that there were three major effects of seeing violence in media, "first people, specifically children may become less sensitive to the pain of others, the second is that children may be more fearful of the world around them, and third that children may be more likely to become aggressive or harmful towards others"(American Psychological Association, 2013). A study done in the 1980s found that children who watched lots of violent media, specifically television, tended to display higher levels of aggression when they became teenagers. A review of evidence in 2010 by several psychologists have concluded that exposure to violent media, in particular video games can increase a child's aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, and decrease their empathy. However there have been studies and reviews done stating that there are other, influential factors (like mental health, family life, etc.) that lead to a child becoming more aggressive and less empathetic that is not due to exposure to violent media.

To conclude, I found this topic extremely interesting to learn more about, and research. There is still more research that can and should be done looking further into the effects violent media, in particular the effects violent tv shows and video games have on children, with researchers accounting for other factors as well. It will be interesting to see what more research says as it comes out, and what changes that research may bring to our society, how society looks at media, and how society treats those that are aggressive. 



American Psychological Association. (2013). Violence in the media: Psychologists study potential harmful effects.; American Psychological Association.

McLeod, S. (2023, May 18). Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory. Simply Psychology.

Mcleod, S. (2014, February 5). Bobo Doll Experiment. Simply Psychology; Simply Psychology.


  1. Hello Alexis,
    I really liked reading your blog. I think social media has a huge impact on everybody's lives, and nowadays, everything we do is through the internet. I definitely agree that violent media has a huge effect on kids. There are multiple violent and gory Xbox and PS5 games that children are playing at such a young age, such as GTA and Call of Duty, which can have a huge impact on the children's views and behaviors.


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