Do violent media images really cause actual violence?

Violent media images are responsible for the current rise of violence related cases among adolescents. Nowadays, the media is awash with violent images. The media exposes adolescents to many violent scenes from their childhood to the onset of their adolescent stage. These scenes are in television programs like cartoons, movies, and violent video games. In the first paragraph in, Do violent media images really cause actual violence? Fienberg Howard acknowledges that, the increasing number of violent video games is to blame for extreme violent cases by adolescents. There have been numerous debates on the impact of violent images on the violence exhibited by adolescents. It is important to note that violent media images do not work in isolation to produce violent adolescents. According to James Garbarino the author of Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them, says that “Media violence is a risk factor that, working in concert with others, can exacerbate bad behavior” as quoted by Cutler Maggie (par.5). Human beings have innate features that are developed and manifested through external influence. As human beings, we have different abilities to manage some negative innate features. Psychologists argue that violent media images affect the adolescents’ perception of things. The adolescent stage is a very critical stage that characterizes the desire for knowledge through personal discovery. Adolescents learn through imitation of perceived role models’ characteristics. These role models are some of the heroes in movies and video games that have violent scenes. The media therefore plays a role in cultivating the culture of violence among adolescents. This happens through desensitization to violence, aggression and fear for the unknown.

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Violent media images desensitize adolescents towards violence and its impacts to the victim. This is through altering the perception of the youth to violence. In these violent scenes, the attacker is a regarded as a hero and the victim is weaker. Most youths want to be associated with heroes in these movies since they regard the violent actions as the common trait among heroes. The empathy level among the adolescents reduces and they do not feel remorseful for their violent actions. They derive satisfaction from their violent actions. Leung Rebecca in his article, Can a video game lead to murder? quotes a teenager who had shot several policemen after watching the game Grand Theft Auto saying, “Life is like a video game. Everybody’s got to die sometime.” This is a perfect example where an 18-year-old teenager has no value for life.

Every human being has different levels of aggression within their personality. These aggression levels in human beings can be controlled or avoided. The adolescent stage   comprises of rapid physical, psychological and emotional development. Emotional development involves need to be loved and to be recognized within the society. The adolescent also develops different attitudes towards certain things in the society e.g. the police or people of different racial orientation. Violent media images advocate for aggression towards anything that seems to barricade the quest for a comfortable life. There are very few cases of advocacy for dialogue within the characters in the violent movies. The adolescents incorporate violence as problem solving approach to their perceived enemies. In his article, Violent Media Is Good for Kids, Jones Gerard refers to the Greek theory of the Catharsis effect to absolve the media from the violent acts among adolescents. This theory suggests that through watching certain violent scenes the viewer gets a chance to reduce the levels of aggression within him. His thoughts are a complete failure since he ignores the fact that most adolescents are irrational thinkers and actors. David Walsh a psychologist quoted by Leung Rebecca (par.11) acknowledges that the part of the brain that controls emotions is always under construction up to age twenty.

The violent images in the media influence the fear for the unknown in adolescents. Most studies have shown that horror movies disturb the sleeping patterns in adolescents. The inability to differentiate between reality and fiction makes adolescents to view the world as a risky place, “Once the intended victims of video slaughter were mostly gangsters or aliens,” Leo john (par.1). The fear for the unknown has influenced adolescents to develop defensive mechanisms to possible threats. Most adolescents will not be safe walking outside without knives or guns on them. They are always anticipating for threats to their life. Violent media images paint life as full of turbulent happenings that requires arms for survival. The adolescent feel safer when the source of fear is absent. In most movies, the black people or Arabs represent inhuman and ruthless gangsters and terrorists. These violent media images have created stereotypes among the youth to various issues in the world. These stereotypes deepen the fear among the adolescents towards races and communities. The adolescents begin to relate different events of the world to the existence of certain individuals within that society. They therefore resort to violent ways to eliminate the source of their fear.

The contribution of media to violence is a clear and requires proper attention. The violent media images have a great impact on an adolescent’s perception of issues. Underdeveloped mental capacity contributes heavily to the perception of violence as a problem-solving tool among adolescents. This makes them to be increasingly violent to life situations.

 

Works Cited

Cutler, Maggie. Whodunit–the Media? The Nation. 8 Mar. 2001. Web. 10 November 2013.

Fienberg, Howard. Do Violent Video Games Cause Real-World Violence?

The Record. 29 Sept. 2000. Web. 10 November 2013.

Jones, Gerard. Violent Media Is Good for Kids. Mother Jones. 27 June 2000.

Web. 10 November 2013.

Leo, John. When Life Imitates Video. US News and World Report. 25 Apr. 1999. Web.

10 November 2013.

Leung, Rebecca. Can A Video Game Lead To Murder? CBSNews. 11 Feb. 2009. Web.

10 November 2013.

 

 

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