Media Violence Persuasive
Is Your Child Exposed to Media Violence? We live in a society where violence is meticulously and silently engraining in our daily lives. As time progresses, the entertaining media that children and adolescents have access to everyday such as movies, commercials, TV shows, children’s cartoons, video games, toys, etc. become more and more violent. Media violence negatively affects the behavior of those exposed to it, especially children and teenagers who experience violent media on an everyday basis.
With the new generations being born and raised in a society where violence is widely accepted and expressed, children are showing violent behavior in earlier stages of life, which often begins with verbal threats or minor incidents, but over time it can involve physical harm. Violent behavior is very damaging, both physically and emotionally and includes physical, verbal, or sexual abuse. It has been researched and concluded media violence has not just increased in quantity; it has also become more graphic, sexual, and sadistic (“Media violence: facts,” 2005).
With every action comes a reaction and with this explosion of violent charged content, it can be automatically concluded that there are dangerous repercussions to opening the door to violence, starting with children and youth. » By the time the average child is eighteen years old, they will have witnessed 200,000 acts of violence and 16,000 murders(“Media violence: facts,” 2005). It is very common for children to have superheroes, or some kind of aggressive male as role models in every culture.
Violent acts presented regularly directly or indirectly (via television, commercials, etc) by an infant can be crucial in their perception of reality. “Almost half (44%) of both boys and girls reported a strong overlap between what they perceive as reality and what they see on the screen” (“Media violence: facts,” 2005). As developing children it is hard to distinguish what is reality to what is fantasy and not real, usually the media presents violence as acts of cruelty that have minimal, if any, immediate repercussions to its doers.
This is embedded in the child’s head and it is made-belief in his or her reality that violence is a normative way of resolving conflict in real life with no real punishment or persecutions. Unfortunately this case scenario is far too common than not in today’s society and thus, a more hostile environment is being produced. For many children of newer generations who experience violence not only in their television set but also at home, among siblings, parents, etc. iolence seems like a rational and natural way of arguing, whereas a child who does not experience violence first hand but that is exposed to it by means of television still respond to it as invigorating.
When there is an extreme correlation with violence, a person, but especially children in this case experience violence desensitization. It is suggested by several experts in the subject that when one has been exposed to violence in the past, usually people become “desensitized” by creating, witnessing, or hearing about acts of violence. This phenomenon causes the person’s feelings of guilt and consciousness to numb. It would be the hypothesis of the present authors that prolonged exposure to violence stimuli as depicted on television and in the movies, not necessarily coupled with relaxation and counterconditioning, reliably produces desensitization, with standard psychophysiological instruments being used to measure arousal/nonarousal to a standard violence stimulus” (Cline, Croft, & Courrier, 1973).
In a test done to boys in order to find the correlation between violent television exposure and response to violence, it was found that those with low television exposure responded emotionally more aroused than those who were highly exposed to television.Proving once again that violence in movies, television shows, video games, etc. although might look in defense at times to parents but are in fact, highly affecting the children that are exposed to them in their responses and behaviors throughout the rest of their lives.
This kind of violence is not a new emerging behavior to humans. Violence has existed since history can recall, it has served humans as a way to defends themselves against predators and enemies throughout times. With the increasing cases of youth violence in our society, such as homicides, school hootings, gang affiliation, etc. it is imperative to know what is behind youth violence, and what is triggering or evoking at risk youth and to know how is the media correlated. “Over the past 30 years there has been extensive research on the relationship between televised violence and violent behavior among youth. Longitudinal, cross-sectional, and experimental studies have all confirmed this correlation. Televised violence and the presence of television in American households have increased steadily over the years (Beresin, 2009).
Increased television usage along with increased television violence causes in children violent tendencies in an attempt to duplicate what they see on television, creating youth violence. Nowadays, television usage, especially in children, has skyrocketed. It is more and more common to have television sets even in the children’s own room, making it harder for the parents to control what their children watch on it. “The typical American child will view more than 200,000 acts of violence, including more than 16,000 murders before age 18” (Beresin, 2009).
In television, violence seems like a good way to end a conflict between people, and most of those who use violence are highly rewarded for their violent behavior. Children are ought to believe that in reality violence is the way to end conflict and that in doing so they need to be rewarded instead of corrected. There is a fine but real line between what is healthy and not in television for children to watch, with big prosecutions that in the long run include police involvement, jail, and ultimately death.
Furthermore, death is not only one of the causes of youth violence; in present time death is also the most common. “ In the year 2000, violence — suicide, homicide, accidents, and assaults — was the leading cause of death among young people” (“Media violence: facts,” 2005). If none of the above statements made against media violence have been convincing, this should at least be shocking to most. How is it possible that living in a society where we call ourselves superior and modernly developed, acts of violence account for the most part of youth deaths?
And not only that but nothing is done to change this pattern. It could be arguable that the youth’s violent behavior involved with the deaths mentioned is not necessarily correlated with violence in the media, but to a genetic disparity. Even though this could be it has been researched that “very young children will imitate aggressive acts on TV in their play with peers” (Beresin, 2009). These aggressive imitation soon outgrow from just play to real case scenarios when the children grow up, causing atrocious effects. Media violence and its consequences are real and tangible.
And more often than not children are exposed to media violence for constant, long, unsupervised periods of time mainly through television. Parents of children who regularly watch television unsupervised should take into account the harsh persecutions that television might have on children in the long and short run. Children might not be able to distinguish what is real to what is not when too much time has been spent watching violent television shows, when this occurs desensitizing of violence usually is part of the process as well.
These bring harsh consequences that most often than not, parents do not realize or are not aware of. An example of this is the strong correlation between media violence exposure and youth violence and “at risk” youth, an especially the deaths caused by violence, being that these are the first cause of death among young people. It is imperative to do something about the message that we are portraying to our children, and change the pattern of current behavior that is causing violence exposure to children from an early age.
By controlling what children see in television, it is easier to regulate and target the violence in the television shows children watch. A limit time of watching television should be enforced, nothing more than two hours daily. There are chips or paid services that enable parents to regulate the programs watched by children on television. Although all of the attempts mentioned above may not be entirely trusted, educating children at school and at home critical thinking skills to put under a magnifying glass all the violence content they see and are exposed to in television will change entirely the way they view and interpret violence.