Media Violence And Its Effect On Society
Does entertainment influence society's attitude towards violent behavior? In order to fully answer this question we must first understand what violence is. Violence is the use of one's powers to inflict mental or physical injury upon another; examples of this would be rape or murder. Violence in entertainment reaches the public by way of television, movies, video games, music, and novels. Violent images on television, as well as in the movies, have inspired people to set spouses on fire in their beds, lie down in the middle of highways, extort money by placing bombs in airplanes, rape, steal, murder, and commit numerous other shootings and assaults. Over 1,000 case studies have proven that media violence can have negative affects on children as well. It increases aggressiveness and anti-social behavior, makes them less sensitive to violence and to victims of violence, and it increases their appetite for more violence in entertainment and in real life. Media violence is especially damaging to young children, because they cannot tell the difference between real life and fantasy. Violent images on television and in movies may seem real to these children and sometimes viewing these images can even traumatize them. Recent research is exploring the effect of new media on children's behaviour. Craig Anderson and Brad Bushman of Iowa State University reviewed dozens of studies of video gamers. In 2001, they reported that children and young people who play violent video games, even for short periods, are more likely to behave aggressively in the real world; and that both aggressive and non-aggressive children are negatively affected by playing. In 2003, Craig Anderson and Iowa State University colleague Nicholas Carnagey and Janie Eubanks of the Texas Department of Human Services reported that violent music lyrics increased aggressive thoughts and hostile feelings among 500 college students. They concluded, "There are now good theoretical and empirical reasons to expect effects of music lyrics on aggressive behavior to be similar to the well-studied effects of exposure to TV and movie violence and the more recent research efforts on violent video games." However, University of Toronto Professor Jonathan Freedman has criticized this line of research. He points out that Japanese television has some of the most violent imagery in the world, and yet Japan has a much lower murder rate than other countries, including Canada and the United States, which have comparatively less violence on TV. Despite the negative effects media violence has been known to generate, no drastic changes have been made to deal with this problem that seems to be getting worse. We, as a whole, have glorified this violence so much that movies such as "Blade II" and television shows such as "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" are viewed as normal, everyday entertainment. Adult shows like NYPD Blue and Homicide almost always fail to show human beings being able to resolve their differences in a non-violent manner, instead they show a reckless attitude that promotes violent action first with reflection on the consequences later. In one episode of NYPD Blue three people were murdered in the span of an hour. "Contemporary television creates a seemingly insatiable appetite for amusement of all kinds without regard for social or moral benefits" (Schultze 41). It's even rare now to find a children's cartoon that does not depict some type of violence or comedic aggression. What we do not realize though, is that it is the children that are ending up with problems. For instance, the cartoon Beavis and Butthead in the United States was widely criticized for depicting the cartoon characters shaped like cigarettes. The cartoon also gained national attention when a young five year old fan from the United States set fire to his house after watching the show. This was due to the fact that in one of the episodes, Beavis and Butthead were going...
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