Does Violence in the Media Create Violent Hostile Children?

Topics: Violence, Media violence research, Television Pages: 8 (2787 words) Published: December 9, 2007
It was only eight years ago when the unthinkable became reality. Two teenagers, by the name of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, launched an assault on Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. The two murdered thirteen and wounded twenty-three others before they turned the guns on themselves (Shin, 2006). "How is it that these boys were able to do what they assume it was the influence of the video game Doom. The two boys spend most or their time playing it and were even able to create their own versions of it. They even created a website where others could play their new game. Was this the source of the Columbine massacre? In order to answer this question, one must take a look at today's society. As technology continues to improve, people are becoming more and more dependent on the media as the main source of knowledge. Although everyone is affected by the media, it has been proven that children are targeted the most. According to the parents in the Media in the Home 2000 study, children spend 6 and one-half hours with media each and every day (Children," 2002). Everything from television, to video games, to movies, and to music impacts the children's lives everyday. The violent media, with its negative images and lyrics, appears in our everyday lives delivering wrongful messages to our youth; therefore, it influences them to act out what they see on television and hear on the radio.

Over the years, entertainment has truly evolved. Yes, violence has always played a role in entertainment, but in recent years, it is noticeable that media violence has not changed. In other words, the entertainment industry sees more violence as a means of making more money. Not only has violence increased in quantity, but in quality as well. It has become more graphic, more sexual, and more sadistic ("Violence," 2006). Television shows, movies, and video games have become know for emphasizing slow-motion bullets towards people's chests and dead bodies surrounded by pools of blood. Then, song lyrics constantly advertise shootouts by opposing gangs. "The media offers entertainment, culture, news, sports, and education. It is an important part of our lives and has much to teach; however, some of what is teaches may not be what our children need to learn" (Understanding," 2004). Violent crimes have increased by more than 560% since 1960. This increase can be accredited to the increase of violence in the media and entertainment (Smithouser & Waliszewski, 2001).

Of all the sources of media, television is the number one source that impacts children's lives. By the time a child turns 18 years old, he or she will have witnessed, on average, 200,000 acts of violence, including 40,000 murders, o the television ("Children," 2002). I found from a survey of twelve that 91% of children watched some sort of violence as a child. Of that 91%, 25% reported that they watched a lot of violence as a child. In a recent interview, police offer Vernon Bass says that of the number of troublemakers that he sees on a regular basis, they spend at least 90-95% of their time watching television. It is nearly impossible for teenagers to bypass violence because 61% of television programs contain some form of violence. Then, of that 61%, 41% of those violent scenes contain humor. So, not only is a violent message being sent, but it also makes violence seem humorous, as if it is a joke ("Children," 2002). Violent television shows are aimed at teenagers and younger children. The more violent cartoons and programs tend to be aired around the time most children will be arriving home from school (Chidley, 1996). Children who watch significant amounts of violent television are more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior, attitudes and values ("Children," 2002). Studies show that children who watched many hours of violence on television when they were in elementary school tended to show w higher level of aggressive behavior when they become...
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