Violence in the Media Essay

Violence In The Media Essay

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Violence in the Media There has been a debate about the effects of violence on children long before there was television or media of any kind. This debate first started when humans first began to write things down on stone tablets. The biggest difference between then and now is the technological advances that the human race has made. It seems like violence in the media has become mainstream. It is everywhere we look now because violence sells. It is in almost every video game, and almost every television show has violence in one form or another. In this paper I will show the different sides to the debate on whether all of the violence that our children are seeing causes them to become more aggressive and violent. Anyone who has been around a child knows that they are like a sponge and they soak up all of the knowledge that they can from their environment. They tend to imitate their mother and father. They try to do everything that they do and act the way that they do. Everyone always thinks that is so cute until the child mimics them doing or saying something that they should not have done. It is then that we realize that what we say and do does not always have a positive effect on our children. This same thing stands to reason when dealing with what they watch on television. They want to be just like their favorite good guy in the show or the hero. Television shows often show the hero preforming some sort of violence toward the bad guy. It is justified because he is the good guy and is doing the right thing. Children are taught that if they are preforming a violent act for the right reasons then it is okay. They believe that they are justified in reacting to the situation in that manner. Media often plays a very strong role on how a child acts toward different situations. Sometimes the behaviors that they express are very violent and aggressive because the child believes that is the proper way of dealing with the situation. “The experiment demonstrates that exposure to a single program containing fantasy violence can alter children\'s short-term moral evaluations of aggression and can even adversely affect the strategies they use to make sense of those evaluations” (Wilson, 2008). Children mimic what they see and believe to be the proper response to the situation that they are put into. If they see someone turn and walk away from an argument rather than stand and fight then they learn that the right thing to do is to walk away from certain situations. If they are constantly around someone who thinks that violence is the answer to everything then that is what they are going to learn. Raising children in that aspect has always been the same and will never change. The main thing that has changed is the parent’s involvement in the actual raising of their children. Things certainly have changed since the days of things being written on stone tablets and the only form of entertainment being going outside to play. Parents now mostly use electronic devices to raise their children. Now most children spend a majority of their time surrounded by some technological device to keep them entertained. “Youths spend an average of over seven and a half hours a day with entertainment media, many of which have violent content” (Funk, Baldacci, Pasold, & Baumgardner, 2004 ;Rideout, Foehr, & Roberts, 2010 ;Anderson, 2012). Most children now have video games, televisions of their own, cellphones, tablets, laptops, and ipods. Children are being raised by the electronics that they are surrounded by rather than their parents. They are constantly surrounded by violent content whether it is from television, movies, or music. On the other side of this are those that say that the violence that is portrayed constantly around us has no more of an effect on our children now than it did fifty years ago. “Critics who question the fact that media violence has effects on viewers sometimes do so because they miscomprehend probabilistic causality, claiming that “lots of people consume media violence, but they do not all become mass murderers” (Anderson, 2012). This would also be a true assessment. Just because a child plays violent video games or watches shows that have some form of violence in them does not mean that the child is also going to be violent. Just because they listen to songs that have lyrics regarding some random act of violence does not mean that they are going to preform that same act. They can be taught right and wrong by the adult influences around them. The burden of supervision falls onto their parents. It is just like with anything else they are taught. The parents should take an active role in raising their children. But what about when their parents just do not take the time to notice that there is a problem with their child? That is when they become society’s problem. All children start to show aggressiveness when they are very young. We have all witnessed it when a child throws things because they did not get their way. We have seen when a child bites or hits another person because they are angry. Humans have a lot of violent tendencies, but it is up to the child’s parents or adult role models to show them what is acceptable behavior and what is not. It is in the control of the child’s guardians to make sure that they learn the difference between right and wrong. All of these behaviors generally start before a child is old enough to watch television or even know what media is. So, if violence in the media is the problem then why do children at such a young age express aggression to the point of violence? Researchers have shown that aggression is genetically woven into our DNA. It goes along with our fight or flight response. We feel the need to protect what is ours and sometimes at any cost. When we look back throughout our history there has always been violence in some form or another. At one time when our country was young we had gunslingers and everyone had a gun to protect what was theirs. It was not considered to be violent behavior. It was just human nature. Children wanted to play cowboys and Indians and go around shooting each other with toy guns. This was normal everyday behavior, but as time has passed and technology has grown, things have definitely changed. Over the years the media violence has begun to become more extreme. The programs that were on television when it first started are nothing like the ones we see on television today. Children use to watch shows like “The Lone Ranger”, which was considered wholesome family entertainment. They had television shows like “The Walton’s” that was also considered wholesome family entertainment. Now violence has become an effective method to promote movies, television shows, and even music. There have been several studies that show that children are becoming desensitized to the violence they see around them. “Prior exposure to media and real-life violence were associated with lower physiological reactivity to high-action and
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