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Violence In The Media Argumentative Essay

Violence, of course, is not a new concept – it’s actually been around since the beginning of civilization. But today it seems different, a new phenomenon. This is mostly due to the attention that violent crimes like rape and murder and assault get in the media. The media has intentionally sensationalized violent crimes just to get people to visit their website, pick up and buy their paper or magazine, or visit their social media platforms in order to grow their brand and give advertisers a reason to promote their businesses. It unfortunately always comes down to a media company trying to make a buck. 


FRATERNITY VIOLENCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION


But we have to ask ourselves, “What are the consequences of this attention that violence gets?” Quite naturally, another question emerges: “Does violence in the media cause violence in children?” The answer to this question is of course not so black and white, but actually shades of gray. This has been an ongoing debate for years, starting with the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 and extending to the current time with the Charleston, South Carolina, shooting at a primarily black church. Both events have garnered national and international attention, in turn prompting arguments in gun-rights and media attention debates.

While it is difficult to determine which children who have experienced televised violence are at greatest risk, there appears to be a strong correlation between media violence and aggressive behavior within vulnerable ‘at risk’ segments of youth. - Dr. Beresin, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training at the Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital

It’s hard to say whether these particular kinds of events have a direct effect on children to do the same. Some would say that people with a mental illness are likely to only commit these kinds of violent crimes in the first place. They either want to do serious harm to other people for some sick, sadistic reason, or they see that the media is basically celebrating a violent perpetrator. In an article published on aacap.org, the website for the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, “The Impact of Media Violence on Children and Adolescents: Opportunities for Clinical Interventions, Dr. Eugene V. Beresin has some interesting insights on the topic.

“While the causes of youth violence are multifactorial and include such variables as poverty, family psychopathology, child abuse, exposure to domestic and community violence, substance abuse, and other psychiatric disorders, the research literature is quite compelling that children's exposure to media violence plays an important role in the etiology of violent behavior,” says Dr. Beresin, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training at the Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital. 

He goes on to say that the last 30 years or so have urged extensive research on the relationship between violence on TV and violent youth behavior. He says many studies have confirmed this correlation. According to the article, the typical American child watches more than 200,000 acts of violence (and more than 16,000 murders) before they reach the age of 18. It says that TV programs portray approximately 812 violence acts every single hour, with cartoons and another program for children having up to 20 acts of violence every hour.

Read also:The Contribution of Academic Institution in Children's Well-Being

What is even more frightening, the article goes on to say, is how vulnerable young people who have been victimized in some way, shape or form may feel that violence is an outlet, a solution to their problems. This is especially true when children see so many of their favorite heroes in stories resorting to violence either as revenge or as a tool to combat evil – in other words, the bad guys. The scary thing is, a young, vulnerable child or even an adolescent may feel they are the hero, while they may see the person or persons bullying them or hurting other people or persecuting them in certain social groups as the bad guys. When they resort to what they have seen on television, they are likely to feel it is OK to resort to violence as a way of doing away with the bad guys.

Children who watch televised violence are desensitized to it. They may come to see violence as a fact of life and, over time, lose their ability to empathize with both the victim and the victimizer. - Dr. Beresin

While this is certainly an issue of debate for many, it is false and irresponsible to pretend TV and other forms of media do not affect viewers, especially young people, in a negative way. This consequence may definitely come down to mental illness in most children and adolescents, as people who resort to violent crimes as a means to solve problems can only be sick in the head. Nonetheless, more and more young people are feeling a sense of aloneness in the world, perhaps evening feeling overlooked in a society that rewards people for being famous, for standing out and being popular. They yearn for celebrity, they yearn to be important, and in seeing how the media gives unlimited attention to bad things done by bad people, they see how violent, criminal behaviors can be an effective way to become larger than life. And so they conduct violent crimes knowing it will make them famous. It’s quite sad, really. But it’s the truth.

Violence in Mass Media and Its Impact on Adolescents


Since media has been in existence, parents, educators, and doctors have tried to track the impact of violence in media on children. Usually video games and movies are studied. Court cases have existed where families have said that violent real-life incidents have happened because of kids watching violent films or playing violent video games. Natural Born Killers, a movie about a man and woman couple who killed for pleasure, was indicted in a murder case, but the moviemaker was found not guilty. The National Institute of Mental Health feels that violence can make children less sensitive to suffering, make children scared of the world and their community, and make children behave more aggressively toward other people.

Video games and movies have ratings that must be observed by adults and children both. Additionally, parents must know what their children are watching and playing. A good role model with a keen awareness of what their child is watching and playing can help prevent future violent acts or violent tendencies. In fact, with the proper guidance, violent movies and scenes can actually cause children to be more sensitive to pain and to suffering. Without that parental guidance, child can become immune to violent acts in the real world.

Children who constantly view violence can become scared of their world. These fears can escalate and become unreal and unnatural. It is always smart to be aware of the world around you, but to fear everything creates a very negative situation. Children are impacted with fear by watching violent movies and playing violent games.

It is a fact that children who watch excessive amounts of violence or play excessive amounts of violent games can tend to be more aggressive in the real world. These studies on movie and video violence started in the 1980s and are still ongoing. These aggressive tendencies in children then continued with the children, as they became adults. Extended playing and watching violence acts does lead to a tendency of unnatural aggression in children and then in adults as the children age. The contents of a game and of a movie do matter when a child is watching that type of thing for an extended period of time, such as Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto video games. Parents must monitor the movies children watch and the games they play for the benefit of everyone.

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