Criminal Behavior in Adolescence [Annotated Bibliography]


Lyons, Christina. “Media Violence: Do children have too much access to violent content?” CQ Researcher, 14 Feb. 2014.

This article points out recent accounts of mass shootings and how television and violent video games have negatively influenced young people’s behavior.  Video game manufacturers are spending millions of dollars a year on lobbying in an effort to delay or completely halt new laws and regulations on violent content.  The article also shares that studies have shown exposure to media violence at least correlates with aggressive behavior and that “the research is so overwhelmingly consistent that there are negative effects on the tendency to behave violently – causing desensitization and lowering of empathy.”  The involvement coming from the parents needs to be stronger in order to assist in making the current content ratings for violent video games stricter.  The article also provides the beliefs from others who think that violent games “improve hand-eye coordination, increase social involvement and are educational.”

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This article provides me with multiple cases that focus on the topic of aggressive behavior coming from our youth via violent media and video games.  The article gives opinions from both sides, so I’ll have to ensure that both sides of the argument are included in my final essay.  This may make it harder to pick a side.

Sampson, Robert and Laub, John. “Crime and Deviance in the Life Course.” Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 18, Gale, 1992, pp. 63-84.

Generally, this academic journal article confronts issues dealing with crime and deviance in both childhood and adulthood.  It focuses on the life course of a human being and “is concerned not only with early childhood experiences but also with salient events and socialization in adulthood.”  The article points out that the violent crime rises rapidly in the teenage years to a peak at about 16 and 18 years old.  Another topic that is pointed out is that not only has these criminals’ early life course been neglected, but also how the relevance of social transitions in young adulthood and the factors explaining desistance from crime as people age.  This article takes a look at things from a sociological perspective as well as a psychological one.

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This article provides me with a number of different reasons that crime is committed and what types of factors can add up to create disaster.  The majority of criminals have been raised in an environment where it is nearly impossible not to commit a crime at some point.  All human beings have a breaking point and this article will help me to point out other ways that crime can be developmental within our youth (aside from coming solely from violent media).

Ferris, Kerry and Stein, Jill. “An Introduction to Sociology.” The Real World, 3rd edition, pp. 172-177. W.W. Norton. Copyright 2012, 2010, 2008.

This section (located in Chapter 6: Deviance) provides an overview of crime and punishment and how demographics, class, age, race, and gender can all have an effect.  Findings from the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) include the “observation that murder rates peak in the months of July and August.  Perhaps related to the influence of heat, they are also higher in the southern states.”  This section also addresses that the southern states have the lowest median family incomes in the United States, which suggests that class may play a role as well.  The same factors that cause an area to become economically and socially disadvantaged also encourage criminal activity.

This piece provides me with statistical data that displays how criminal behavior is multilayered.  This will help me to have a broader understanding of deviance in youth and how certain sociological factors can have an impact.  Although I do believe that young adults having access to violent video games is greatly influential, I need to also consider what other factors play a role in violence.  I will need to be careful with how I use this materiel because I do not want to rule out violent video games completely. “Violent Video Games” 3 June 2016, 11:27 a.m.

This website covers controversial issues with a page specifically discussing the debate about whether or not video games contribute to youth violence.  The defenders of violent video games argue that the research has failed to show a causal link between video games and real-world violence.  Yet, the American Psychological Association determined that playing violent video games is related to increased aggression, but it did not find an abundant corroboration of a link between the games and increased violence.  This page breaks down the statistical research done on both sides of the opposing parties and what they believe to be true.  It also highlights, “In Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, the US Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that California could not ban the sale of violent video games to minors because studies ‘do not prove that violent video games cause minors to act aggressively.’”

This article is beneficial to me due to its copious amount of information supporting both sides of the argument.  This debate is multifaceted and needs to be understood from both parties before choosing a side.  The only way the laws and regulations on these games can change is if it can be proven beyond a doubt that there is a direct causation between the violent video games and the violence in our youth.  I believe that this page will help me to provide statistical and scientific evidence to support whichever side I choose.  Although the material is plentiful, I’ll have to be careful about how I word things in order to not give false information.  By the time I have finished with all of my research I would like to be confident with whichever side I choose and be able to provide facts to back up my case.

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Breuer, Johannes, et al. “Violent video games and physical aggression: Evidence for a selection effect among adolescents.” Psychology of Popular Media Culture 4.4 (2015): 305-328.

I relied on this study to provide meta-analysis for investigation on the relationship between violent video games and aggression. Furthermore, it focused on younger adolescents or children premised on the samples availed in the research. By and large, the aspect of “harm” occupied much of the research especially in the political, scientific and social arena. The controversy on the effect of violent video games on the behavioral and emotional aspect of adolescents has been looming in the minds of, parents, teachers and pundits alike. To date, mixed feelings have been expressed with regard to emotional well being of the adolescent child.

DeLisi, Matt, et al. “Violent video games, delinquency, and youth violence: New evidence.” Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice 11.2 (2013): 132-142.

The article touches on the correlation between aggression and violent video games played by adolescents. Largely, it deals with samples premised on attitudinal and behavioral measures. The paper looks at the contention between aggression and its relationship to violent video games as well as resilience and risk factors that inhibit or facilitate aggression. To a large extent it looks at moderators and mediators within the video games. The study delves into the positive as well as negative effects that violent video games have on adolescents. Potentially, it sheds light on exposure to behaviour, feelings and thoughts of aggressiveness as well as violent media as mechanisms that play a role in determining the effects of violent video games on adolescents.

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