Here is some research that I found around the power of influencing.

Children who witness domestic violence are at an increased risk of having abusive relationships as adults, researchers have found.

Being abused as a child and having behavioural problems also increases the risk of being violent as adults.

Receiving excessive punishment is another risk factor.

The Bobo doll experiment –

The Bobo Doll Experiment was performed in 1961 by Albert Bandura, to try and add credence to his belief that all human behavior was learned, through social imitation and copying, rather than inherited through genetic factors.

These findings are still debated about over 40 years later.

In the modern world, there are many concerns about the effect of social influences on the development and growth of a child’s personality and morality.

Television, computer games, food additives, music and the lack of role models are all cited as reasons for a supposed breakdown in society, and an increased tendency towards violence.

These concerns have existed for many years, even before the media turned these factors into sensationalist stories, to try and sell more newspapers. During the 1960’s, there was a lot of concern and debate about whether a child’s development was down to genetics, environmental factors or social learning from others around them.

For this purpose, Bandura designed the Bobo Doll Experiment to try and prove that children would copy an adult role model’s behavior. He wanted to show, by using aggressive and non-aggressive actors, that a child would tend to imitate and learn from the behavior of a trusted adult.

The Bobo doll is an inflatable toy about five feet tall, designed to spring back upright when knocked over.

Children were chosen as subjects for the study, because they have less social conditioning; they have also had less instruction and teaching of the rules of society than adult subject

Today, many social learning theorists have indicated that crime is a product of learning the values and aggressive behaviors linked with criminality. Sutherland developed the differential association theory that suggests that individuals learn criminal behavior while in their adolescence from family members and peers (Sutherland, 1939, pp25). In “Deviant Behavior: A Social Learning Approach,” Akers believed individuals learned aggressive acts through operant condition (Akers, 1977). In this process, the aggression was acquired after through direct conditioning and modeling others’ actions. He believed that positive rewards and the avoidance of punishment reinforced aggression (Akers, 1977). William Benson found that adolescents that watched excessive amounts of television during their childhood became adult criminals. They committed crimes, such as rape and assault, “at a rate 49% higher than teenage boys who had watched below average quantities of television violence (Centerwall, 1993: pp.70-71) Also, Bandura’s theory has made the public and political affairs realize that violence does cause aggression in children. He has spoken at a number of political conferences concerning the Bobo doll experiment and the effects television has on children. Several political candidates have indicated that violence on television does cause aggression. President Clinton has implemented policies that would deter violence on television.

This video points out how parents are the “core” influence towards a child’s upbringing. It suggests that no child identifies with their peers or other adults as much as their own parents.