Media portrayals of juvenile character's aggression behaviors in Chinese mainland movies: Good and attractive characters portrayed more rewards and justify


Many pieces of research showed that violence in the media posed a potential threat to children and adolescents, leading to tough attitudes, radical values, aggressive behaviors, etc. For China with film censorship is grievous harm to children. And when watched movies, children not only be attracted by the content plot, but also by the media characters.

Therefore, the first time to elucidate the aggressive behaviors in Chinese mainland movies, study the differences in aggressive behaviors between character’s appearances and personality traits. We carried a content analysis about media portrayals of juvenile character's aggressive behaviors, with reference to social learning theory and wishful identification theory. Children and adolescents are easily attracted by media model roles who similar to their age and gender. They may use the skills of stereotypes learned from the movie in real life, such as thinking that ugly characters must be bad people. Childhood is in the stage of development of gender identity and personality traits, so it is necessary to sort out the media stereotypes in the film to avoid false refraction into the perception of children and adolescents.

We crawled with python on Douban Film Website, the main movie platform in mainland China, taking the region as 'Mainland China' as a keyword, and obtained a total of 514 movies. Based on the language, this article sets it as mandarin, excludes overseas-produced films, and finally obtains 487 mandarin samples. Then the author conducted manual screening of related content. The standard criteria of film mainly continued the research of Behm & Morawitz (1) the main storyline was around children or adolescents. (2) the core movie characters were children and adolescents. Finally obtained 49 samples.

A total of 1122 aggression behaviors were recorded by three coders, of which 692 were juvenile's aggressive behaviors. In order to ensure the reliability between the coders, the coders collectively coded about 10% of the sample size (5 movies). Used the 'irr' package in R 3.5.1 software to calculate the krippendorff's alpha, aggressor attributes (0.877), gender (0.9), attractiveness of aggressor ( 0.822), character type of aggressor (0.871), type of aggression behavior (0.922), reality (0.707), justify(0.818), humor (0.732), reward (0.798).

The analysis found that, first, the most aggressive behaviors of children and adolescents portrayed in the movie are violent behaviors (41.185%), the most common of which is fighting (31.768%). Second, the characteristics of the aggressors found that these attacks were mainly derived from male characters (62.861%), attractive characters (59.971%), and good characters (50.434%), and reality (53.179%), justice (23.1%) and humor (25.3%). Third, a series of Chi-square tests found that there are gender differences in aggressive behavior. Males tend to use violent behavior, and females tend to use indirect aggressive behavior. Movies tend to portray ugly, bad characters, animals use violent behavior, attractive and good character's aggressive behavior is more justify and rewards; the indirect aggressive behavior is more realistic, and more fantasy in violence.

Our findings illuminate the characters of media portrayal aggression behaviors in Chinese film, made a reflection on film-make about education.