Social Media User and Violent Content Coorelation





Social Media and Violent Content, Who’s Laughing? Social Media Viewers and Violence Correlation

Nina McReed

Queens University of Charlotte

Submitted: April 28, 2015

Table of Contents:

  1. Abstract
  2. Literature Review


Arousal and Assertion

H.A.V.E. Effects

Gender Linked Behavior

Summary of Literature Review

Hypothesis and Research Questions

  1. Methodology






  1. Results and Findings
  2. Analysis
  3. Conclusions of the Study


Limitations of the Study

Suggestions for Future Research

  1. Appendices

Informed Consent Form


Charts, Graphs, Tables

  1. References














Internet media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, MySpace and traditional television signify important variations in which video content can be distributed. Facebook as well as YouTube and Instagram users, can view and access violent content videos easily. This leads to other avenues like posting, sharing or tagging others. The unique nature of on-demand user-supplied video content is of great interest to the electronic broadcasting community because of the relative ease which videos can be produced, uploaded, and shared. Social Media users are now active partakers in the media distribution chain. Therefore since social media users continuously play an active role in the production and distribution link, social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and MySpace (e.g., creating, sharing, and viewing), it is appropriate to examine content from an audience-centered perspective. One such approach is a theoretical framework called “uses and gratifications.” It is utilized in this study to look at how users of social media view and share news with violent content social media


Social media sites have become a prime medium for communication among the most targeted audience; professional adults and college students. In this growing era of Social Media outlets, video cameras, digital electronics and computer-editing accessories, social media has made it possible for individuals to produce violent video content,  which are available for distribution on video-sharing Web sites such as, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. Facebook, as well as other social networks, has many features that allow users to publicize different aspects of personal content as well as violent content.  Much of the content, violent or not,  on Facebook, Traditional television, and International web sites readily available for all to view. Some are homemade, amateur style videos, edited only as necessary by professionals (i.e., by the mainstream media and other organizations uploading content to reach the large online audience or by individuals who record and upload professional media content). Included in that subset are news videos. Some industry studies suggest that news clips are the most widely viewed videos in the category of professionally produced content (Vorhaus, 2007).

Individual spectators are now an important part of the media distribution chain. This study examines the motivation of viewing violent content through the news and its media affiliates. (Hanson, G., Haridakis, P, 2008) This correlation of sharing and viewing violent content can be a vehicle for violent behavior and aggression in youth, a platform for attracting persons of interest whom appreciate violence by nature,  as well as gender roles and re-actions towards violent content, and the impacts of  humor, animation, and Reality Shows violence. So why do users of social media watch violent content?

Arousal and Aggression (Games, Fighting, Music)

There is a growing number of youth today that embrace violence on social media, whether through video games, fighting videos or music. The motives that youth utilized these videos for is through social interaction, entertainment, pass-time, and arousal.

According to, Huesmann, L (2007), research evidence since the early 1960’s suggests that exposure to violence in television, movies, video games, cell phones, and on the internet increases the risk of violent behavior in youth. Social media, with violent content, increases the risk of them behaving violently, and becoming violent in their environment. (Bostic, B. 2014).   Due to increased technological sophistication in media there has also been linked to increased physiological arousal in which motivates youth to explore and watch violent videos.  Experiments involving music video presentations have found both screen size (Lombard et al., 2000; Reeves, Lang, Kim, & Tatar, 1999) and motion (Detenber, Simons, & Bennett, 1998) to increase physiological arousal impacts youth behavior. In new media research, animation in Web advertisements has been found to increase physiological arousal (see Sundar & Kalyanaraman, 2004). Lombard and Ditton (1997) also consider arousal to be closely related to presence. In observing the effects of a narrative video games storyline on players’ feelings of presence, Schneider et al. (2004) found a corresponding increase in physiological arousal. These findings suggest that technological advancement in video games may increase players’ arousal as well. (Ivory, J., Kalyanaraman, S., 2007).

Similarly, research according to the models of video games’ effects on aggression, advancement in video games and music videos may have negative implications from violent content. (See Gentile & Anderson, 2003) Several theoretical approaches have informed the possible effects of video game violence and aggression towards youth on social media (see Sherry, 2001). Those concerned with immediate effects of music and video game play, (as opposed to models of long-term effects) tend to focus on three psychological routes by which game violence may affect youths: increased arousal, increased aggressive thoughts, and increased aggressive feelings. (Ivory, J., Kalyanaraman, S., 2007)

Since many video’s, whether musical, fighting, or gaming, impose some form of  arousal and behavior that leads to the next level of enjoyment, which is in the cartoon/animation hype of violence on social media.

Humor & Animation & Violent & Enjoyment (Effects)  

According to manuscript reviews, the literature concerning the effects of animated violence on aggressive behavior in youth begins with an overview of the research on children’s and adolescents’ perceptions of violence in cartoons. The effects of cartoon violence on aggressive behavior across development are reviewed in each section, focusing on the importance of the presence (or absence) of comedic elements in animated violence is addressed. Moreover, throughout the review, the potential influence of development is considered.

Similar research shows that increased pairing of humor and violence leads to questioning whether men and women perceive such ads in the same way. The humor/gender literature suggests that men and women may react differently to violent communications on social media. The current research examines this assertion by testing the impact of high and low levels of humor violence on perceived humor, attitudes toward the advertising, and attitudes toward the brand through the lens of gender differences. (Gulas,C., Swani,K.,Weinberger, M., 2013)

According to Gulas, Swani, and Weinberger, M., (2013) previous researches by gender : to mean traditional male or female categories, Waller (1999) found that women tend to be more offended than men by alcohol advertisements, indecent language, nudity, sexism, racism, and other antisocial themes in social media. Similarly, Gulas and Weinberger (2006) note some have quipped that the only difference between men and women is that men think the Three Stooges are funny. While the statement is meant as a joke, there is empirical evidence to support the idea that men are more likely than women to enjoy the type of violent humor performed by the Three Stooges. Men and women differ in their use and appraisal of violence across a wide range of social conditions (Smith, 1984).

In addition to the potential direct effects of violence and action on enjoyment, there was also a chance to explore how violent content might indirectly influence liking of an event violent or program. One variable that has been shown to influence enjoyment of media is wishful identification. Hoffner and Buchanan (2005) defined wishful identification as the desire to be like or act like a television character. In general, audience members tend to wishfully identify with characters who are similar in attitudes and beliefs or who represent the type of person an audience member wants to become (Hoffner, 1996). This wishful identification, in turn, allows the viewer to become more involved with the story and to react emotionally in the intended ways, which should lead to more enjoyment (Cohen, 2006; Fiske, 1989).

Reality-based police shows (e.g., Cops, Top Cops, America’s Most Wanted, FBI, The Untold Story, American Detective) have dramatically increased in popularity within the last several years (Battaglio, 1991; Fennel, 1992). These programs typically employ dramatizations of actual crimes interspersed with narration from and interviews with police officers. However, some shows such as Cops use actual video footage that features police officers investigating crimes, questioning suspects, and making arrests.

Lastly noted, enjoyment is defined as the positive emotional reception of an experience, in this case of media entertainment (see Tan, 2008). Although it has been argued that violence is enjoyable to audiences, experimental work has failed to uphold this idea (e.g., Weaver & Wilson, 2009). There are several theories of media entertainment that predict that violent content can or should increase thrilling enjoyment and sensationalism (see Sparks & Sparks, 2000). This study paved the way which leads to the impact of gender behavior when exposed to watching, viewing or sharing violent content through social media.

Gender Linked Behaviors to Violent Content

            People of all generations regardless what gender has in some form witnessed violent content on social media. Gender focused attention on social media violence is commonly different between male observation of violence compared to women observation of violence.

Male gender was directly linked to aggression. However, gender also influenced aggression indirectly, through exposure to television and social media violence. Perhaps most alarming, males who watched violent content and programs for information were more physically aggressive than others. This supports U&G assumptions about the role of motivation in effects, the tenets of social cognition theory (Bandura, 1994), and conclusions about the importance of the context in which violence is portrayed (Potter, 1997).

Given that aggressive attitudes correlate with gender (Shapiro, Dorman, Weler, & Clough, 1998), gender might be a factor in attitudes toward guns and violence and its impact on social media. Specifically, women seem to accept violence less than do men. Further, there is evidence that women spend less time playing video games, watching violent video or sharing violent media than do men (e.g., Funk, 1993), possibly because video games contain few female characters, many of whom are depicted in stereotypical fashion (Dietz, 1998). Therefore, it is predicted that men will spend more time playing violent video games than will women, and that men will be more accepting of violence and guns.( Bojarsky, G., Long, M., 2003).

The causal view of violent media’s influence on negative attitudes toward women posits that cultural and individual factors interact to promote beliefs and cognitions supportive of aggression toward women (Malamuth & Briere, 1986). By combining sexuality and violence together in mass media, it is thought to promote the linking of these phenomena, particularly in the minds of males, leading to acceptance of physical violence toward dating partners, increased adoption of rape myths, and increased aggressiveness. (Ferguson, C. 2012)

Also,  a study by Paul Haridakis, 2006, was utilized to examine whether the motivation for watching social media violence and several audience and contextual factors, including locus of control, experience with crime, exposure to television violence, perceived realism, and involvement, explain differences in viewer aggression in women and men. Motivation was a much more important predictor of viewer aggression for males than for females. Among men, when exposure to televised violence was a significant predictor of aggression, experience with crime, locus of control, and motivation were stronger predictors. Among women, background factors (experience with crime and locus of control) predicted aggression. These results support the ‘‘uses and gratifications’’ theoretical suppositions that individual characteristics mediate the impact of media exposure. Because background factors and motivation for watching television violence impacted viewer aggression differently in men and women, the data raise questions about research concluding that sheer exposure to television violence leads to aggression. (Haridakis, P. 2006).

This precise contribution of various individual characteristics to explaining aggression in men and women contributes to the sheer exposure to televised violence and content. Social, psychological, environmental, and motivational factors identified in previous violence research, as well as exposure, may affect aggression in males much more than women. As referenced above, the assumptions of a uses and gratifications framework suggest that viewer background characteristics (e.g., demographics, psychological=social circumstances) may influence motives for viewing, which, in turn, may affect the perceptions (e.g., perceived realism) of the fare, involvement (e.g., elaboration) with it, and, finally, viewing outcomes (e.g., aggression). (Haridakis, P, 2006).

Summary of Literature Review

Purpose of the Study and the Research Questions:

The purpose of this study is to acknowledge the use of social media content and the violence within it. The tenacity is to discover whether people believe acknowledging the viewing of violent content on social media is informative, entertaining or a foundation for behavioral aggression and/or violent tendencies.  With violence streaming from every aspect and culture of life, it has become a viewing spectacle and an exhibition headlining social media every day despite the short term impacts and long term effects.

For proper understanding on what motivates these users and viewers of social media is contingent upon the Uses and gratifications theory. This theory is relevant to social media because of its origins in communications literature. ‘‘Uses and gratifications’’ has been a predominant mass communication perspective over the last quarter-century. This social and psychological perspective stresses the (Communication Quarterly 229) impact of individual differences on media uses and effects. Some of the reasons for this gratification is explored int he chart. ( See Charts below.) The uses and gratifications approach assumes that viewers’ unique social and psychological circumstances help shape their needs, which are manifested in motives to communicate through sharing, uploading and posting violent content. Viewer motives in turn influence media selection, use, exposure, and, ultimately, the long and short term effects (e.g., Katz, Blumler, & Gurevitch, 1974; Levy & Windahl, 1984; Perse, 1990b; Rubin, 2002; Rubin & Perse, 1987a, 1987b).

People are seen as goal-directed and active in their use of communication channels to satisfy their needs and desires. In addition, viewer attitudes and involvement with media and content provide a context for processing media fare. Thus, the uses and gratifications perspective assumes that questions of effects cannot be answered without considering a host of individual differences. Such an approach may be of value in exploring the impact of audience characteristics (e.g., motivation and gender) on negative effects (e.g., increased aggression) that past research has found to be associated with exposure to television violence. (Haridakis, P, 2006).

Research Sub-questions:

RQ1: Social media violence contributes and influences negative behaviors among young men and youth?

RQ2: Social media sites that correlate violent behavior to violent content, has a great influence  after years of exposure?

RQ3: Violent content has a strong influence on depicting violence in the community?

RQ4: Comical and humoristic violence is seen as not being influential based on generational gap and gender analysis?


H1: Majority of male participants would fall under the 18 – 26 age category and would be more receptive to believing that social media violence is a possibility for influence but more so the entertainment chamber of distribution through social media.. A platform to socially proved entertainment to whomever, whenever.

H2: Older males in the 27-50 age categories are more likely to recognize violence has a link to bad influence of violent behavior from the social network. The influence would be greatly acknowledged due to possible exposure.

H3: Females of all ages would be more willing to acknowledge that violent content is viewed and shared, but mostly believe violence from social media can influence violent behavior.

H4: Females and males of all ages would most likely believe that comical violence on social media is not influential but has violent content viewed on a regular basis.


It is believed that conducting this research would show the different aspects of how violence is viewed and interpreted based on your age and gender status. It is thought that the  younger participants, male and females, particularly would utilized the violence as an  entertainment, comical, and pass-time purpose while most older participants view it as an educational and informational resolve when approached in similar situations. These same participants would be willing to recognize that they not only view the content, but also in some cases shared it amongst peers and colleagues through social media. These same males will more likely check that the violence within the videos does not attract them to violence, but entertain them when it is especially something trending that others are viewing. Females in this same age category however would be more likely to believe that people are becoming more like “you are what you watch” concept since so much is changing and people are using social media to express it, globally.  Older participants of both genders would be more likely to believe that the willingness to share and view violence not for entertainment, but for informational and educational forums needed in our society and community. These participants will most probable believe that unless a person become the change, the world as it becomes globally different, violence will not silently deteriorate, but allow social media to  transfer that cause and effect syndrome into all cultures regardless of race, color, or creed.


The use of social media is as a circulating tool. Violence as a sidekick for pleasures, today’s world of communication has become an exploding spectacle. Social media primarily designed is to allow people to keep in basic touch with friends and family, social media now allows anyone to share their world, positive or negative without hesitation.. So why do users of social media watch and share violent content? This brief research was a methodical collection and study of how willing people were to disclose their input on why violent content of social media is relevant to viewing, sharing and informative (i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, blogging etc). This research subject was also selected in an effort to determine if there is any correlation between violent viewing over time and social media effectual influences towards violent behavior. Using authorizations from keen users of social media sites, it was determined that there is a great probability for violent influences in today’s millennium through motivated social media viewings. What is violence and what motivates users of social media view violent content? Interpersonal violence is violence between individuals or small groups of individuals. (Butchart A; Phinney A; Check P; Villaveces A: 2004)

Survey Objective

With this survey, research was collected to determine if people believed that sharing violent content on social media would increase aggression or violent behaviors over a period of time, knowingly and unknowingly. Using closed ended questions and statements, a quantitative research was conducted to gain the opinion of how people viewed other’s behavior or reaction to violence and media coverage, using age as a factor, and also looking to see frequency of social media use and if there is a belief that social media has an influence on violent behaviors specifically, or as an informational format by gender and/or by age.


In order to garner responses, surveys were distributed by Survey Monkey Communication website to friend’s family and professional colleagues through Facebook social media web site. The age groups ranged from 18 years of age up to 50 plus adults. The survey consisted of 17 short and concise questions and statements that tackled people’s thoughts on how they believed viewing and sharing of violent content impacts the behaviors of people in society and communities across the country. There were no questions that made distinction of ethnicity, or culture however the survey did ask for gender, age, religious preference, status, and current educational collegiate level if any. The questionnaire was administered the week of April 10, 2015 via online through Survey Monkey for anyone to access freely and voluntarily. Each academic grade level participated in the survey to ensure that response covered each collegiate level to provide a substantially mixed group of attitudes and beliefs, values, and behaviors on how people believe how violence is portrayed, capitalized on, and perceived once viewed online.


Participants were asked to provide basic demographic information including age and level of education.  The questionnaire understood that participants were also users of social media but did not investigate into what extent they participated with social media sites and to what extent social media had an influence on them (i.e. are they logged on every day to watch violence? do they seek out violence on social media? Do they themselves speak on violence and social media in a forum setting?) Questions were also asked to see if participants believed that social media users acknowledge that violent actions towards women men or children was partially influenced  through posting and sharing of violent content on social media networks.


After investigative research, there were found that different motives were analyzed for watching and sharing different types of informational or non-news related violence through the media networks. Social media users and viewers of news in a more traditional format were predominantly using social media for informational purposes. Viewer of social media that contained news in comedy and humorous format, were primarily for entertainment purposes. The results propose that social media motives for watching violent content was different from reasons for sharing, as well as a different intention for posting them.

The majority of participants, 72% of females and 28% of males, believed that violence on social media is not funny, comical or hilarious. In relation to this, 67% of females and 33% of males believed that users almost rarely follow social media violence through the network sites.. This shows a great difference between how male and female participants felt about social media and violent content being distributed, uploaded and shared. In fact, 50% of males and females were in a consensus to what was being displayed on social media at raging heights. It is fights and bullying whether female and female, male and male or female and male. The attention this violent content receives is highly portrayed and excused for its content. Also documented is that 66% of females, and 30% of males believed that users of social media somewhat agree it relevant to have open discussion of violent content on social media with colleagues, peers and family.

Many of the participants of this survey believed that users of social media sites were well aware of violence and how it is portrayed through all the networks, as well as traditional television Over 65% of the participants utilized Facebook. 17 % of the participants are on Instagram, equally the same for Snapshot for sharing and watching violence. Over 66% of the same participants of this survey claimed that they rarely follow; social media content that depicts violence. 17% claim that they almost always follow violent content; while another 17% claim that they sometime always follow violence. This shows a correlation to what participants believed what people would and would not watch. Atypically people will continue to watch and post violence because of its informative, funny and relevant content. Ironically, even though participants believed that male users were more likely to watch and share violent content, female users also participated in the sharing even if the content of the videos wasn’t approved

When asked about what one’s personal religious preference, 36% were Baptist, 36% were Pentecostal, 18% Presbyterian and 10% wished to remain anonymous.. Over 65% of both males and females felt that a person’s characteristics and behavior was somewhat always judged from seeing or viewing them on social media if that behavior warrants any type of violent content. These percentages are an accumulation of all collegiate levels surveyed. In regards to whether or not social media violence and behaviors creates a magnitude of distribution, 34% of males surveyed believed violence is not likely obtained in which humor and comedy is addressed. This same percentage, 34%, was tallied for males surveyed who believed that the comical form of violence on social media is non hereditary, but a choice made within the persons character. There was no research conducted to determine how two opposing options garnered the same percentage results. 50% of the females surveyed had some college or was college grads, and believed that violent content was only necessary in information and educational purposes. 50% of the males surveyed, had high school diplomas and some college, but only felt that the social media was a television commercial site for keeping the public informed regardless of the nature of the crime. Ironically, 83% claim to be non-spectators while 17% claim to be semi-spectators of social media violence. How can non-spectators believe that fights and bullying are the most violently watched videos unless the videos are being utilized?” This in turn will skew the analysis for honestly and truth. Nevertheless only 64% of the females identified as married, 35% identified as in a relationship, and less than 1% identified as married or engaged when selecting their online status. The male’s status; 67% single, 27% in a relationship, and less than 1% engaged.

These results show that while younger, single males were least likely to stop watching violence and its content, the results show that younger females and older females believed that violence in any nature is unacceptable especially with violence geared towards woman. The results also showed older male participants don’t care to watch violent content unless it is accompanied by a voice of change, informational and educational, trying to create a platform where policies and changes can encompass violence with a positive transformation.


Approximately 70% of the female participants of this survey believed that behavior conducted on social media sites violence are influential while 30% of males felt the same impact on society it could have long term effects on young adults. Although violent media has often been blamed for severe violent acts following recent findings, violence in movies and on social media has increased substantially over the last few decades, therefor being considered one of the driving forces this research will examine. Based on the study, violent content on social media increased related trends in severe acts of violence. (French, J., Markey, C: Markey P., 2015). The research presented information that women tended to believe that uploading sharing and posting violent content reflects the depiction of violent in conventional contexts that exists in advertisements, comedy, reality shows and influential behaviors. Research shows that both children and adults acquire attitudes, emotional responses, and new styles of conduct through mass media, which play an important role in shaping behavior and social attitudes (Bandura 1973; Liebert, Neale, and Davidson 1973). More specifically, violent emphases, whether imitative and/or disinhibited effects of media violence (Bandura 1973) can possibly depict  relationships that involve aggressive or violent behavior, then these values may be adopted by audience members under certain circumstances, as informational and educational  foundations.

S.W.O.T. Analysis










People of all ages and culture have formed some opinion or concern for violent content on social media. Practically everyone has a computer, telephone, or camera to watch record or share content. The gratification in doing that has become a widespread of information, from both a positive and negative perspective .The purpose of surveying all prospects in every form of life, from high school graduates, to students of both genders and within a wide age range (from ages 18 – 50+) broken down to smaller groups, research was collected to see if age and/or experience had any influence on whether violent content whether people would be more likely to acknowledge its influence from social media networks. Participant were asked if they believed that the conducts of individuals in the world today were motivated by the constant viewing of violent content on social media. “Are you currently watching, viewing, posting and sharing violent content on social media?” and “Social media users should respond in their opinions to violence on social media after viewing a violent content.’’ and “Social media users acknowledge that social medial influence violence.”  These questions/statements were formulated and asked in an effort to see which of the participants, from a gender perspective, believed that motivational watching of violent content could possibly be one the ultimate factors in rising violence shared and posted through social media as a distribution network.

Limitations of Study:

Many limitations were present during the course of this research that, if had been recognized, would have greatly altered the results that were collected. In review of the survey handed out and in speaking with the participants and/or noting their grievances with the questionnaire these limitations, while not severely altering, definitely changed the possible results.

Possible Methodological Limitations

Not Enough Status Options – The survey specifically asked for the religious and online association with social media sites, ranging from Facebook to Tinder, a relationship social site. The statuses of ‘married’ or ‘single’ was not present on the survey not allowing adequate cover on how they would define violent social media content coverage and its influence to their relationship status.

Not Everyone Uses Social Media – The entire survey was created and based on the assumption that participants actively used social media sites (i.e. Twitter, Facebook etc.) and were familiar with how the sites operate, how to maneuver around the sites, and jargon used on social media sites. Since no one on participating in the survey was a non-user of social media, some of the users did not participate in all the social media sites presented in the survey, meaning so of the information collected could have impact from other sites. Their answers were assumptions of what they felt about violence and the content on social media sites, not what they knew happened for sure in every situation or actual event.

Participant Diversity was not acknowledged – Demographic questions listed on the survey consisted only of age, gender, and educational status (i.e. freshman, junior etc.). Questions concerning the cultural, ethnic, and racial identity of participants were not asked and the majority of participants of the survey were African-American colleagues or peers. In retrospect, collecting this information may have proved useful to see if different ethnicities and/or cultures view violent content differently based on your culture or background. By asking participants to identify in this capacity,  more could have been learned on how different people react to violence and how it is portrayed amongst different races and cultures, and what responses would be based on diversity (i.e. are their cultures that look down on public viewing of violent content that links to culture or ethnicity? Are there some cultures that find this behavior is more acceptable to one race than another?) While no participants commented on the survey not asking any diversity based questions, this information could have provided a further insight into how different people regarding violent content on social media sites and the impact of cultures alike.

Singular Research Method Used – This research was conducted using only surveys/questionnaires. This method limited the amount of information that could have been gathered had multiple research methods been used. Utilizing a focus group, for example, would have allowed participants to be more interactive and speak on why they selected the options that they did on the survey. A focus group would have also allowed participants to feed off one another thereby providing more information to the research. The survey asked very specific closed ended questions that did not allow the participant to detail their responses.

Social Media Contacts Only – participants of this research were limited only family and friends on social network sites only. A majority of the participants that took the survey were young adults who are active participants on multiple social media sites. Had the survey been opened up to a larger sample, a larger perspective would have been gained as the current participants mostly all fit into the same demographic, providing a lop-sided response.

Possible Limitations of the Researcher

Leading Questions – Some research questions were formatted in a way that potentially guided responses from participants. Questions also posed an issue for some participants in that they were misunderstood due to the format of the question. These leading questions could have led to skewed responses.

Longitudinal effects – A limited amount of time was available to the researchers to thoroughly conduct the study and analyze its results.  The time available to devote to this research study, to measure beliefs or values within a larger sample was inhibited by time. Bias – With the researchers possessing personal pages themselves on social media sites, there was a general assumption of what questions to ask and what the responses would be going into the research. The available responses to some of the survey questions were created using the researcher’s personal knowledge of questions asked on social media sites and as a result some pertinent information was left out.  This may have created a skewed response as broader questions could have been asked to grab more detailed information on participant’s views on social media and affiliation to violent content viewing.

Suggestions for Future Research

To determine why users of social media watch violent content should allow for more time to conduct effective research by ensuring that there is more time to be spent to collect, study, and analyze results. Inclusion of a larger, more diverse sample group (participants that aren’t limited to social media family and friends) ensuring individual responses by utilizing more than one research method, and sending surveys to personal emails to safeguard that participants don’t mimic others, would allow researchers to look at different aspects of how people feel about the violence shared, displayed and managed on social media. Recommendations for policy changes too social media and its contents would be considered at some point in the future..



Informed Consent Form

You are being invited to participate in a research study titled “Social Media and Violent Content”. This study is being done by Nina McReed from the University of Queens in Charlotte. You were selected to participate in this study because we are social media friends on a social media network. The purpose of this research study is to understand why social media users share, like or view violent content and what impacts in can have on our society. If you agree to take part in this study, you will be asked to complete this survey/questionnaire. This survey/questionnaire will ask about social media and its correlation to violence. This survey will take you approximately 10 minutes to complete. You may not directly benefit from this research; however, your participation in the study may help regulate the violence of content exposed on social media sites. To the best of my ability, your answers in this study will remain confidential. To minimize risks of breaching of confidentiality, they will not be any indication of names, locations, or addresses of any participant. All data will be disposed of.

Your participation in this study is completely voluntary and you can withdraw at any time. You are free to skip any question you choose.



Sample of Survey Questions

  1. Social media users acknowledge that social media influences violence.
  2. Social media users should respond to violence on social after viewing its content.
  3. Violent coverage on social media is necessary?
  4. Social media violence is utilized as pass-time, educational, and informative.
  5. Social media violence in a comical and humorous manner is influential?
  6. What products of social media are you currently utilizing?
  7. Social media is the driving force behind increased youth violence.


How do you characterize yourself on social media as it pertains to violent content?

What products of Social Media are you currently utilizing on a daily basis?

Watching, sharing and viewing violent content on social media contributes to violent behavior.

Reasons users of social media are motivated to watch violent content:

Because it amuses me
Because it’s enjoyable
Because it’s entertaining
Because it’s fun to play around and check things
When I have nothing better to do
Because it passes the time away particularly when I’m bored
Because it gives me something to occupy my time
Just because it’s there
Because I like to use it
Because I can use it any time
To see what’s out there
Because it’s just a habit, just something to do
Because it’s something to do when friends come over
Because I can view material in videos online, and I don’t have to pay for them
Because it’s exciting
Because it’s thrilling
To belong to a group with the same interests as mine
To participate in discussions
To give my input
To communicate with family and friends
Because I enjoy answering other people’s questions
To show others encouragement
Because I can express myself freely
To meet new people
To help others
So I can talk to other people about what’s going on
To get more points of view
Because it provides an interesting way to do research
To keep up with current issues or events
To get information for free
To search for information
Because it’s easier to get information
Because it makes me feel less lonely
So I won’t have to be alone

(Hanson, G, & Haradakis, P. 2007)


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