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would you rather teach your kid how to shoot a gun at a young age and respect what it can do, or keep them completely away from guns and induce curiosity?

Week 5 Forum Responses/Aggression PYSC 515

Respond to the 3 responses with 250 word minimum, list references

RESPONSE 1 (Matt) Well, all of these caveats are situationally dependent on other variables.  For instance, is the aggressive play with a child whom is generally ill-tempted and spiteful, or quite possibly someone whom takes games like chess too seriously?  On a similar note, why is something such as a gun or a knife deemed violent, when both should be considered as tools when the violence behind such an object solely resides in the person holding it? With that said, until I understand the situation, or at least think I’ve grasped what’s going on, my initial reaction would be to inhibit these factors in the following order: C, A, B, D.

Although Bandura’s Bobo doll experiments where utilized to show the children can emulate their social upbringings, there was much lacking from his experiment.  Mainly, it was conducted in a closed setting and he never studied the long-term effects of children witnessing such an event. With that said, I do believe that young children can have a naïve sense of curiosity which can lead to trouble.  So, without knowing the age of my child in this scenario, I’m hesitant to allow play with a potentially harmful child.  The last thing I want is shady group of characters inducing deindividuation, especially at a young age where logical arguments could prove futile in curbing aggression.  I’d rather they understand why certain actions are frowned upon from a credible source.  Next, I would try to curtail violent television shows, but I wouldn’t restrict them.  In my opinion, full restriction is worse.  Take for example drinking alcohol in European countries versus America.  Some countries allow children to drink wine at dinner.  Subsequently, they have lesser alcohol infractions than American youths when they grew older, because they learned moderation.  Going back to television, I believe children can definitely learn scripts as Aronson mentioned, but regardless, even with my restriction of such an event, they’re more than likely to hear about it at school.  Similarly, I don’t want my child having the 1950’s approach towards such things like sexual education, where kids believed rumors they heard from other friends because their parents were too inept to actually talk logically to them.  With that, I’d rather they watch something and ask me a question about it.  Plus, violent films which show aggressive people being punished can teach a valuable lesson in itself.

I have a similar approach to playing with violent toys.  Aronson mentioned that certain experiences can inhibit aggression, but I think he grossly underestimates innate releasing mechanisms in certain creatures.  Now, I agree with him that changing a social surrounding can dramatically change an aggressive behavior, but why would I want to curb the imagination of my child?  If they grew up in a decent household and learned that certain toys can cause pain when they’re substituted for the real thing, then that’d be a phenomenal life lesson.  For instance, would you rather teach your kid how to shoot a gun at a young age and respect what it can do, or keep them completely away from guns and induce curiosity?

Lastly, as far as fighting back, I’m all for it.  People will treat you the way you treat yourself, and certain people will attempt to capitalize on various situations.  Similarly, I would never want to eliminate all aggressive behavior in my child, but rather teach them to control it.  I agree with Aronson in that retaliation can be more severe than the initial instance at hand, as well as the cognition that overkill can maximize dissonance.  Yet in that same regard, I tend to side with Machiavelli whom stated, “Men ought either to be indulged or utterly destroyed, for if you merely offend them they take vengeance, but if you injure them greatly there are unable to retaliate, so that the injury done to a man ought to be such that vengeance cannot be feared.”  Through a similar notion, I often remember John Stuart Mills whom stated, “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.  The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”  To expound on these, I agree with Aronson that committing a violent act can increase one’s negative feelings about the victim, which can lead to a slippery-slope of dehumanization.  But on the same regard, there are evil people in the world, and no amount of toleration can mask their turpitude.  Frankly, some people are so depraved that they do not deserve empathy and should be swiftly dealt with.  Now, the key difference between retribution and psychopathy is learning to control that aggression and knowing which level of lethality is warranted.  Some situations may not require physical violence, but they may warrant another form of aggressiveness.  So instead of trying to eliminate aggression altogether, I’d rather have a child that can feel frustrated, but then know how to control that frustration. More importantly, I want them to know that it’s okay to use aggression in some scenarios, but it must be used cautiously and correctly, and there are consequences for your actions.  Still, I’d rather have them know that, than to cower when faced with a credible threat.

On a side note, I don’t believe violent video games cause violence as Aronson does.  I believe that they can be triggers for children in degraded social upbringings to act out, but they’re not the route cause.  I believe that violent video games can be beneficial in two regards: special cognition, and motor rehabilitation.  For instance, Parry and his colleagues (2012) used interactive video games to treat burn victims.  By immersing someone in a VR like contraption, burn victims will be cognitively stimulated by playing interactive video games, and subsequently feel less pain from undergoing skin grafts and during physical therapy (2012).  They’ll have greater range of motion with a lowered sensory input of pain (2012).  But, the games have to be stimulating, and other variants regarding similar studies showed that violent games, such as Call of Duty, can be beneficial in these scenarios.  Similarly, people who play interactive RPG games, even those that are violent, have better special awareness acuity than those who don’t. Subsequently, they’re more able to easily visualize objects at various angles, all due to the fact that they’ve been manipulating their surroundings from a video game.  Thus, they often score higher in spatial reasoning tests than those who don’t play video games.


Parry, I., Bagley, A., Kawada, J., Sen, S., Greenhalgh, D., & Palmieri, T. (2012). Commercially available interactive

video games in burn rehabilitation: therapeutic potential. Burns, 38(4), 493–500.


RESPONSE 2 (Teaera):  In these weeks forum we are discussing human aggression. The scenario given to us is that we are a parent of a young child. A list of actions are given to us and we are asked in what order would we list the factors if we wanted our child to be peaceful, affectionate, and cooperative adults. The order I would place them in is as follows.

A)    Preventing your child from playing with “aggressive” children.
B)    Preventing your child from watching violent TV shows.
C)    Preventing your child from playing with “violent” toys such as guns, swords, etc.
D)    Preventing your child from fighting back if another child  kept bullying him or her.

As mentioned in our reading aggression has becomes a rather hot topic. I tend to fall closer to the Hobbes’s spectrum when discussing human aggression and feel that aggression is a natural tendency in humans (Aronson, 2012). I would not wish to eliminate all forms of aggression in my child. Not only do I believe that aggression has a time and a place but I feel it would simply be unnatural. As discussed in our textbook, The Social Animal, it is possible, and I agree, that aggression can be useful. Aggression can lead to the best suited leading a group, help individuals survive dangerous situations, and even catharsis (Aronson, 2012). I agree that aggression absolutely needs to be curbed and channeled appropriately but I feel it is absolutely impossible and a waste of time and energy to believe aggression could be eliminated from humans completely.

Referring back to the actions that I listed in order of what I would most likely put into action to what I would least likely put into action in order to raise a peaceful, affectionate, and cooperative adult. The reasons I listed playing with aggressive children as number one is because I would not wish aggressive behavior to be rewarded. Although there is a time and a place for aggression a child should not be taught that it’s the norm or that it gets you things. Aggression without discipline causes major issues.

I know we are discouraged from quoting in our forums but a quote from Socrates in Plato’s Republic truly sums up why I chose violent TV shows as the second.

“And the beginning, as you know, is always the most important part, especially in dealing with anything young and tender. That is the times when the character is being molded and easily takes any impression one may wish to stamp on it.
Then shall we simply allow our children to listen to any stories that anyone happens to make up, and so receive into their minds ideas often the very opposite of those we shall think they ought to have when they are grown up?
No, certainly not.”

What this means to me is if we wish our children not to be violent than we can’t allow them to incorporate violence into their mental schemas when they are too young to know reality from fantasy (Grossman, 2008).  In the book, On Combat, by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, he addressed media violence and children. He talks about the 15-year phenomenon. The 15-year phenomenon is the trend where in North America, 15 years after television appeared, the murder rate has roughly doubled (Grossman, 2008). This happened in many different countries including, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, South Africa, and North America. I truly believe that violent TV could be a prevalent factor in unchecked aggression.

For the final two factors I do not personally feel these are actions I would take. I do not think playing with “violent” toys would have a major impact as long as discipline is established. I also do not believe in simply allowing yourself to get bullied. I would never encourage my child to sit back and let another kid pick on them. I do not think this would help the child develop into a peaceful, cooperate, and affectionate adult.


Aronson, E. (2012). The Social Animal. New York: Worth Publishers.

Grossman, D., & Christensen, L. (2008). On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace (3rd ed.). Warrior Science Publication.

Plato. (n.d.). The Republic. Hackett Publishing Company.
RESPONSE 3 (Xaiver): This topic is a topic in which I believe I have great insight on being that I am a parent. I have a soon to be 3 and 4 year old. What I like most about being a parent is the influence I have on my boys. How they look up to me, the love they show me and how they want to imitate me. I have the huge responsibility to train them to be a law abiding citizen, respective of others while gaining respect themselves. I am also a behavioral specialist at my second job so I get to view some negative behaviors that teenagers exhibit and also what led them to those negative behaviors. As a parent I see that they world already has some limitations in place to help parent prevent their children from seeing things that they shouldn’t. One thing that I have found useful is the profiles on Netflix. On Netflix you can create profiles based on the individual ages. My boys have their own profile filled with only Disney and other children shows that are not only educational but also positively influential as well. In preventing my boys from playing with toys that may be deemed aggressive or violent I only buy them toys such as cars and blocks or dinosaurs. I also give them crayons and coloring books as well. The environment that my boys are in at daycare is a loving and caring one. Being that they go to the daycare on base in my opinion it is a very good daycare in which prepares them correctly developmentally and socially for grade school. So they are taught how to behave properly and how to respect others. I believe when it comes to bullying if a child is taught how to respond back correctly to those bullying them then they would act out negatively towards other children if they feel bullied or pressured. I would arrange the options for action as B, A, C, D. I chose this options in this order based on how I feel was the greatest potential for a child to be an aggressive and violent child. If a child is exposed to playing with violent toys and games then the child will be more inclined to like violent shows and videos. If they watch the shows and also play with violent and aggressive toys then they would be more inclined to play along with other children exhibiting violent behavior. If it gets to this point then they are most likely to become bullies based on the previous actions and how they acted which would in turn make them a bully. Bullies are either made into one or forced to be one. Pitbulls are notorious for individuals believing that they are naturally aggressive when in fact they aren’t. They are trained to be aggressive by those certain dog owners. On the other hand, if a dog whom is friendly, is always getting his ears and tailed pulled (being bullied) he will start to act out negatively to protect himself. I wouldn’t want to eliminate all aggression from my boys being that aggression is needed especially for young boys.  When they play sports when they are older, I wouldn’t want them to be pushed around on the basketball court or football field. It would be my job to show them when to be aggressive and when not to be.


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