Violent Media and Violent Behavior
There have been studies to prove that violent movies, games, and television shows can influence violent behavior. Multiple cases have shown that individuals playing video games, especially violent ones, can lead to aggression. Children who tend to play these types of games lose control rather easily, they tend to kick the controller against the floor or throw other various objects when enraged. They also show their frustration by using profanity or lashing out towards others playing the game with them or towards the game itself. Dr.
Jordan Grafman at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke conducted a study which showed adolescent boys that were exposed to violent games over a long period of time tended to show aggressive behavior, desensitization, and loss of empathy. Twenty-two boys were chosen to view short clips that show different range of violent from low, mild, and moderate. The ones who were expose to more violent movies, videos, or television shows were the one who were had less empathy. Dr. Grafman concluded that those who were more desensitization were the most likely to have violent behavior and less empathy.
There was another study done from 130 research reports on more than 130,000 subjects worldwide which was done by Craig Anderson a professor of psychology at Iowa State University and the director of Iowa State’s Center for the Study of Violence. When the study was published Anderson stated (2010) that such exposure also increases aggressive thinking and aggressive affect, and decreases pro-social behavior. These are not huge effects–not on the order of joining a gang vs. not joining a gang. But these effects are also not trivial in size. It is one risk factor for future aggression and other sort of negative outcomes.
And it’s a risk factor that’s easy for an individual parent to deal with–at least, easier than changing most other known risk factors for aggression and violence, such as poverty or one’s genetic structure. The study was done on kids from elementary to young adult in college. Their exposure to violent games, movies, and TV show did show a change in their violent emotion, thoughts, and feeling they were feeling. The study also show that the same result were giving to kids and young people from both Easter and western cultures in both sex and the result were the same despite the difference of culture and believe.
In July 2012 a guy dress as the Joker from the Batman movie shoot 71 and kill 12 people. James Holmes open fire I a local Colorado cinema after throwing tear-gas into the crowd. He was armed a Remington shotgun, an AR15 assault rifle and two hand guns he just stared to shoot people he wounded 59 and kill 12. The batman movie is one of those movies in which the bad guys tend to kill a lot of people. A lot of violence is display in these movies. Look at how this guy dress as one of the bad guys from that movie, presented himself into that movie theater as just open fire against innocent people, just as the Watson did in batman movies.
This is a clear example of how the violent of that movie inspired a violent behavior in Holmes. Not only so, knowing he might get caught he also place booms in his home for when the police got there they could blow up as well. Violent movies, games, and TV show can cause violent behavior in all adult as well as kids. Misconception of Violent Media From a young age, children are continuously exposed to all kinds of violence in the movies they watch and the video games they play.
In the end, it comes down to the viewer in how he or she reacts towards the violence depicted on the screen. Dr. Christopher Ferguson, a psychology professor and chairperson of Texas A&M International University, claims that people may go against some of the violence that the media shows, but the question lies in whether the prediction of criminal acts by the media is probable. In fact, study shows that within the years of 1994 to 2004, the estimation in crime victims per a thousand people had decreased from an average of over 50,000 to below 22,500 (Mitchell, 2013).
That shows that throughout that ten year span, crimes had dropped tremendously, while videos games like Mortal Kombat and Grand Theft Auto were on the market. The type of violence shown in these kinds of games in some ways may seem realistic, but in the end they are fictional games. Ferguson believed that violent acts and tendencies are caused by genetics. According to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, they have discovered “that it is not just one factor that will determine whether or not a person will have violent tendencies, but of all of the elements that can lead to the behavior” (Mitchell, 2013).
Violence that a child is exposed to by any kind of media is not one of those factors. It is an individual’s genetics, socioeconomic status, and their environment at home and around others that appear to be the key factors to whether or not he or she will one day commit violent acts. The study also shows that “genetics appear to play the largest role in a child’s likelihood of engaging in criminal or violent behavior, with genetic variance factoring into 20% of women and 58% of men” (Mitchell, 2013).
In the 1996 slasher film Scream directed by Wes Craven, he showed a great example how it was something other than violent media that caused serial killers Billy Loomis and Steve Orth to murder not only the main character’s mother, but also three other students of their senior class. There is no background to how Steve turned to violence, but a probable thought could be that he was influenced by Loomis. Peer pressure among teenagers is one of the many stress factors that can lead to criminal or violent acts (Shaffran, n. d). Loomis was lead to murder because he came from a dysfunctional family.
While Loomis’ father was an alcoholic, he was also made aware that his father was having an affair with his girlfriend’s mother. This lead to his own mother leaving her husband and therefore, abandoning her son. As Loomis mentions in the film, child abandonment can lead to delinquent behavior in children and adolescents when caught in the middle of a divorce. Another example in proving that it is not violence in movies, shows, or video games that leads to violent acts is the Sandy Hook shooting that occurred in December of 2012.
Twenty year old Adam Lanza was held responsible for one of the worst school shootings since the shooting at Virginia Tech in April of 2007 and the Columbine High School Massacre, April of 1999. After shooting his mother, Lanza went on a shooting rampage, killing twenty children, all within the age of six and seven years, and six adults. It was said that Lanza’s act of violence was caused by violent video games his mother allowed him to play. As Democratic California Senator, Dianne Feinstein stated, video games containing violence creates a highly negative role for our youth and that the video game industry should have noticed that.
The truth of the matter is that Lanza was already diagnosed with mental issues long before the shootings and even had a past of having social problems since he was an adolescent. Still, the fact of the matter is that the violent video games that he was shown in his youth are held accountable since, according to Ferguson, makes it “easier for people than examining the complicated intersection of nature-nurture factors that produce violence” (Soave, 2013). Parental Responsibilities Since movies, television shows, and video games have been distributed, there has always been a rating and for good reasons.
Each rating shows the type of content that will be seen, which seems to be very clear. Violence is everywhere and there is no way of changing that. The same can be said in the media. All media that is for our entertainment in some kind of shape and form contains violence. For young viewers such as children and adolescence, some parents are less strict on what they watch and play than others. These parents that allow their children to be exposed to higher forms of violence they must be aware of what they are playing or watching and set a time limit for how long they are allowed to be engaged in these forms of media.
By giving their children more freedom to what they watch, it is the parents responsibility to teach them the difference between fictional and reality. Those who are not taught this, especially younger children have a greater effect on what they watch then those who know and understand the difference. Other parents are not lenient only allow their children to view what is age appropriate and as time goes by when they reach that next appropriate age, they are given that higher privilege. Even then, they must teach them these differences. A study in South Carolina and Pennsylvania led by Dr.
Cheryl Olson, observed over twelve thousand students between seventh and eighth grade and their parents as they watched what and how much their children were playing, as well as the relationship and behavior. What Olson realized was that “two-thirds of fourteen year-old boys played at least one violent video game often versus a quarter of the girls surveyed” (“Research Shows Violent Media Do Not Violent Behavior”, 2013) and this was due to them being a stress reliever, as well as wanting to be challenged and being up to date with what their follow peers are playing.
It was also the evolvement of the parents and their support that kept them away from violent behaviors. The six percent of children observed have been found to already have “traits of aggression and stress were predictive of delinquent behavior and bullying and not the playing of violent games themselves” (“Research Shows Violent Media Do Not Violent Behavior”, 2013). Other things in their life may be responsible for their violent actions. Conclusion
Both sides of the mirror have a valid point but given the different examples it has to be stated that media is not responsible for violent behavior. People need something to blame for the act of violence and aggression shown by adolescents and adults alike, but it shows that their background and past criminal behavior is what leads them to act towards violence. Movie, television, and gaming industries make it quite clear what their products contain, so people are not made unaware before viewing or playing these forms of media.
Cultural Evaluation Because the topic of violence is gender neutral and in Brazil the media is not banned, then there are not any cultural differences. Because there are not cultural differences regarding this topic then the arguments in the paper should stay the same. The video games that people play there are the same ones that are played in the United Stated. Only three games are banned in Brazil since 2008 and the bann is only for sale. Playing the game is not illegal and therefore the outcome of the paper is not affected.
“In the field of research, Brazilian academics far outstrip current US efforts, at least with respect to the cultural and artistic merits of games. There is a disproportional number of government grants and university-sponsored research positions available to those who wish to explore the sociological and historical aspects of our medium. Universities across Brazil are currently making a concerted effort to offer game development as part of the potential coursework for students.
Unfortunately these nascent programs have met with little success. Given the level of passion and determination I saw in the teachers and the students, I believe these programs will grow and perhaps become the backbone of the Brazilian games industry. But right now, they face challenges unthinkable in the United States. ” (Portnow, 2010) In many ways there are cultural differences between Brazil and the United States but in this particular topic there is not.
Both countries help with education to bring new professionals in this industry. In a personal opinion this industry will keep growing in every country. People use these games and the media to escape from their personal lives. This is the only way people know and use to deal with all the stress of everyday life. It is an easy escape where the lazy people could go and use any media like music, television, gaming or movies instead of going out and doing something constructive.