The Effects of Violence in Media on Society Today

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Is societies violence the media's fault? This is the question that has been asked since before television was in every American's house. Of course there are the different types of media today ranging from newspapers, to on-line reports and stories. There have been arguments upon arguments about this issue, and over 3,000 studies conducted. Unfortunately there isn't one single result, there is only an array of supposed answers to this undying question. CBS president, Howard Stringer is pointing to a different scapegoat for society's violence. "I come from a country … that puts a lot of American movies on and has more graphic violence within it's live drama on the BBC than anywhere else, and there is a lot less violence in the United Kingdom than there is here. There are 200 million guns in America, and that has a lot to do with violence." He feels it has to do with gun control, which others have suggested. But there are so many violent acts, that one can't focus on the guns, just like one can't focus on the media. David Phillips, one of the men we discuss later put it perfectly, "It's like watching rain fall on a pond and trying to figure out which drop causes which ripple."There have been many studies conducted on the effects of violence on children, and on the effects on society as a whole. There have been about 3,000 studies performed on this topic. Two of the most prolific studies were the UCLA Television Violence Monitoring Report, and the Mediascope, Inc. test sponsored by the National Cable Television Association. Of course there were many other studies done, but these made headlines because of their results. The UCLA study focused on all of the television media, and discovered some interesting facts from their study. Prime Time Series raised the least concern. Theatrical films raised more concern and had a lot more violence. The Saturday morning cartoons had mixed reviews. 23% of the cartoons raised concern, but that was only rating the most popular cartoons: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, X-Men, etc. They termed the action in cartoons as "Sinister Combat Violence" which basically means the whole story line leads to violence.Mediascope, Inc. focused on the amount and context on cable, effectiveness of rating systems and parental advisories, and the success of anti-violent messages. They found that perpetrators go unpunished in 73% of all violent scenes, one out of four violent interactions involved the use of handguns, and premium cable channels present the highest percentage of violent programs (85%). There was more to their findings, but these were the more prevalent findings.University of Michigan psychologists Dr. Leonard Eron and Dr. Rowell Huesmann conducted a study, which continued for decades. This was conducted beginning in 1960. They took 800 eight-year-olds and found that children who watched many hours of violent television tended to be more aggressive in the playground and the classroom. They checked back with these kids 11 and 22 years later. They found the aggressive eight-year-olds grew up to become even more aggressive. They testified before congress in 1992 stating, "Television violence affects youngsters of all ages, of both genders, at all socioeconomic levels and all levels of intelligence. The effect is not limited to children who are already disposed to being aggressive and is not restricted to this country."David Phillips, a scientist at the University of California in San Diego conducted a study on prizefights on television. He thought of this topic, because he felt there wasn't enough research being conducted on the copycat violence. He found that after prize fights on television, there would be about a 10 percent increase in murders for a few days afterwards. He quoted, "It also seems to be the case that the kind of person killed just after the prizefight is similar to the person beaten in the prize fight."There are four major theories of television violence. The "arousal" theory, the...
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