Today children are being effected by the media. From so many corners of the mediated world we are thrown prejudice and social stigma’s that we believe should be followed. People have many anxieties that todays media will have a negative effect on the youth. This comes from something known as the ‘Media Effects Model’. The media uses its control over the audience in order to brand and form stereotypes. It is from this specific targeting that anxieties are formed. Are these anxieties really justified? And is the media really at fault?

Media audiences are often portrayed as victims. People who are easily influenced by the likes of mass media. Especially in todays age of technological convergence there are many new forms of media with the power to influence their viewers. Every new media form has the power to inspire anxieties about its possible negative effects (S.Turnbull, 2015).

One common anxiety is the effect of media violence. One of the major effects of media violence is the learning of aggression from products such as films, music and video games. One experiment by American psychologist Alfred Bandura, demonstrated his social learning theory and how this can be relevant to influenced by the media. His experiment demonstrated that children can learn through observation of adult behaviour, whether this be verbal or physical. The experiment allowed children to be violent in behaviour to a bobo doll which they had previously encountered an adult attacking. The children later copied this behaviour that they had observed even when presented with other opportunities. This proved Bandura’s experiment that children are effected by the things that they see and hear.

While the main anxiety of the effect of violence occurs from television and film there is also major exposure from music and music videos. Music is very important to children and adolescents in todays media age. Many believe that music has the power to change the world, it has its own personal effects on the people that listen to it. This could possibly prove that it is the media who is at fault but the people who interpret it.

A recent example of this could be an incident that occurred at the Oklahoma University where an entire fraternity, of young males, were disbanded after a video of them singing a racially fuelled chant was released out to the public. The chant was directed to people identified as Black Americans and used derogatory names and threats. A popular American breakfast show called ‘Morning Joe’ voiced there opinion about the situation and made an interesting comment about the influence of modern day music.

“The kids who are buying hip hop… It’s a white audience and they hear this over and over again. Popular culture becomes a cesspool. A lot of corporations profit off it. And some people are surprised that some drunken 19 year old kids repeat what they’ve been hearing.”

Their comment proves that their is strong belief that pop culture and the music industry is at fault for the anxieties of media effects. The cause of the effect comes from Lyric Interpretation and how this can cause a problem. Douglas A. Gentile makes an extremely good point to consider in his research book ‘Media Violence and Children’, that what young people make of popular songs depends not on what they get from the lyrics but what they bring to the lyric.

I believe this proves a great point to come back to the anxiety and who is to blame. Is it at the fault of the people who create or consume? People can use the media for good and bad, whilst music and other forms of media can inspire and bring hope to our modern world, it also has the ability to cause negative impact.

What are your thoughts on the effect music plays on todays youth?



Bobo doll experiment. 2015. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 19 April, 2015, from
Beresin, Eugene. “The Impact of Media Violence on Children and Adolescents: Opportunities for Clinical Interventions.” The Impact of Media Violence on Children and Adolescents: Opportunities for Clinical Interventions. American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry. Web. 19 Apr. 2015. . 
Gentile, Douglas A., ed. 2003. Media violence and children: A complete guide for parents and professionals. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Graham, David. “Rap Lyrics and White Racism.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 11 Mar. 2015.

3 thoughts on “The Violent Effects of Music

  1. Amazing article, and What a great example. If you’re interested in further investigating other stereotypes go to the Facebook page called Parenting payments for parents – NOT Newstart. Single parents have gone to public interviews for papers and not been picked to feature because they were dressed to well and didn’t fit the “role” or “image” the newspapers wanted to come across, Many articles and stories of single parents struggling against the stigma that is attached to them that is, and often has been, perpetuated through the media. “housos” is also a TV show helping these stigmas along by the steryotyping of the characters under the guise of “humor”, and indeed it is a funny show. I agree that there is a double standard where it seems something a TV show can get away with despite the content can cause such outrage if repeated by the General public. As for the students, they are to blame for their own actions, but so are the rappers who popularise these types of songs and the companies that choose to promote them. The students knew were mimicking their favourite rapper, yes, but they knew what they were doing could be viewed in a bad way (and so it should).


    1. Thanks for the comment! I’ve recently revised this article and made a bit more of theoretical approach in relation to the Bobo doll study which I think definitely helped me express my opinion on the situation. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the bulk of the responsibility lies with the consumer. The works you mention above (especially those with coarse language and racially charged terms) are not something that the public is forced to consume. For music especially, there would only be few, if any places where a consumer would not have a choice but to listen to a song that contains such language or themes.

    As a member of a culture there are norms, beliefs, morals, laws, and customs that all dictate the way we behave. As a member of western culture, where the terms you refer to above have negative connotations in certain communities, the onus then falls on the consumer to understand the implications of what they are consuming; to know what is right or wrong. In the case stated above, the fraternity members obviously knew what they were doing was wrong, however they chose to do it anyway. It was their choice, so the responsibility should obviously be on them. Even with advertising, company support and marketing all taken into account, no one is forcing you to consume this, the popularity of a song should have no bearing on your actions. Of course situations are not helped by media who have the power to victimise whichever side they see fit. In general, I think we have given media too much cultural power, it is able to dictate our beliefs and morals more than any other part of our society, which is of grave concern. However I don’t think this particular story should have gained as much media support as it did as there are far worse racial acts occurring daily.

    When you boil it down, art is all about creating something interesting, provoking of thought and conversation, and above all, expression. You said you believe that it is the role of the creator to make sure that all content is appropriate and produced in a respectful manor that cannot possibly harm or be taken the wrong way. If this was to be a reality, there would be no slam poetry, no Banksy, no development of culture in general. We need artists to push boundaries, to make us think about the world in which we live, and to help us reflect on our current state. I know he was not mentioned above, but the hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar is a prime example of someone who uses the language you mentioned, as well as talking about ‘gangster’ themes gang banging and taking drugs to express his experience and views of African American culture. A simple lyrical analysis of his most recent track ‘The Blacker The Berry’ demonstrates how he uses this art form to speak out about issues his community is faced with every day.

    Artists and creators should not be forced to censor material simply because a minority is unable to deal with it inappropriately. The responsibility should be on the consumers end to understand what is appropriate. It is also up to society to change how much control we enable media to have over us, because we cannot let our cultures be dictated by a biased medium.


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