Violence is found all around us in the media. Parents are becoming worried about what their children are exposed to. There has been an ongoing debate as to whether violence in the media can affect children to imitate acts of violence. After much research I have found there is a link between watching violence, and committing acts of violence. Children who are exposed to excessive amounts of violence on television, in video games, and through song lyrics, than children who are not, are much more likely to commit acts of violence later in their lives.
Many wonder if watching violence on television can influence individuals to act violently, and many studies have found a link between viewing violence on TV and committing acts of violence later in life. For example, University of Michigan psychologists Leonard Eron and Rowell Huesmann conducted a study pning decades where they watched over 800 preschoolers, and followed them until adulthood to see how television violence affected them. The study concluded that children who watched excessive amounts of television tended to be more aggressive towards other children.
Eron and Huesman checked back with the preschoolers eleven and twenty two years ago, and found that the aggressive preschools became even more aggressive as they got older with more acts of domestic violence, and more traffic tickets than their peers. Many experts also believe that when children view violence on television they try to imitate what they see.
For instance, there was an incident when a five year old, while watching the cartoon Beavis and Butthead saw the characters bsession with fire, and decided to light his house on fire, which killed his little sister (Children, Media and Violence). Not only are children exposed to violence on television, violence is also found in video games. With the recent advancements in technology, video games are looking more and more realistic every day. With the introduction of better video games systems, and graphics, video games are becoming increasingly popular with children and teenagers.
Some might argue that video games cannot influence young people, because they are aware that the games are fantasy, but studies conducted by the Surgeon General and a National Institute of Mental Health concluded that the more realistic something looks, the more likely it will be learned. This simply means that the more realistic something looks, the more influential it will be to the individual viewing it. (American Academy of Pediatrics Online).
The National Institute of Mental Health also claims that children up to age eight cannot distinguish between real life and fantasy, so when they play these games they believe that committing acts of violence is an effective form of problem solving. The National Coalition on Television Violence found that in Mortal Kombat, one of the best selling video games of all time, your object is not just to kill your opponent, but to master your skills at doing so (Children Youth and Family Consortium Electronic Clearinghouse). This kind of play has to affect children.
People are most impressionistic when they are young, and they learn by their actions. They win the game for killing everyone. This teaches makes them more tolerant of violence, and more likely to commit violent crimes later in life. Music is another form of media, which influences children and teenagers. In 1995, Entertainment Monitor reported that only 10 out of the top 40 popular CD s on sale during the holiday season were free of profanity, or lyrics dealing with drugs, violence, and sex.
Rap superstar, Eminem s CD titled, The Marshall Mathers LP as already sold more than 4. 1 million albums, and is currently at the top of the music charts (Billboard. com) has already stirred up tons of controversy with its lyrics. The Marshall Mathers LP has songs titled Criminal, Drug Ballad, and Kill You. According to Eminem s success, this is what people enjoy listening to. They do not seem bothered by the language or subjects. Not only are the lyrics explicitly violent, but they do influence the children who listen to it. Rap music is not the only genre of music containing violent lyrics.
There was an incident where a teenager shot his parents, and claimed that listing to music by gothic artist Marilyn Manson drove him to such extremes. Marilyn Manson has created a whole new trend among young people. They call their look gothic and wear black clothing. Sometimes they paint their faces white, and wear dog collars, much like their idol Manson. If there is someone to blame for all this violence in our media, it would be the entertainment industry; however, they argue that they are giving the public what they want.
This is not a true statement according to Michael Medved, who has written books where he analyzed media violence. Medved analyzed all films that were released between 1980 and 1992 and found that family films earned more than twice as much on average as violent films. This data is surprising considering that violent films made up over sixty percent of the films released. So, is the public really getting what they want The entertainment industry also claims that television does not harm children, because they can distinguish between what is real and what is fake. Once again, they are wrong.
Many preschoolers while watching Sesame Street cannot tell whether the Muppets are real or fake. They do not comprehend that Big Bird is really a man dressed up in a costume (American Academy of Pediatrics). In conclusion, violence in the media does not seem to be going away. It is all around our children; on television, in video games, and in music. Until the entertainment industry decides to limit the amount of violence we are exposed to, it will always be a problem. Then again, without the media who knows where we would be today. We might live in a much safer society.
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