Violent Media Is Good for Kids
Violent Media is Good for Kids Analysis From infancy onward, parents and teachers have drilled into the young generation that violence should be avoided at all costs. They have preached cooperation, tolerance, and “using one’s words” as tactics to combat difficult situations. Although those lessons are valid, Gerald Jones claims there is an alternative way. In his essay, “Violent Media is Good for Kids,” Jones argues that “creative violence- bonking cartoons, bloody videogames, toy guns-gives children a tool to master their rage” (Jones).
In other words, media violence, used correctly, can serve as an alternative method for powering through adolescence. By reading and writing violent stories, children are able to express themselves safely and even escape from the sometimes harsh reality. Jones effectively supports this stance using the three rhetorical appeals- ethos, pathos, and logos. To affirm his credibility on the matter, Jones employs two tactics. First, he goes into detail about his expertise and past history with media violence to confirm his credibility as the speaker. Then, he uses the powerful tool of rebuttal to show the credibility of his argument.
Throughout the essay, Jones discusses his past with violent media. He begins with discussing his professional career as a comic book writer. Later, Jones mentions his three-year long project with Dr. Melanie Moore, a psychologist who works with urban teens. This project produced Jones’s most useful tool in using violent media for good. According to Jones, his program, Power Play, “helps young people improve their self-knowledge and sense of potency through heroic, combative storytelling” (Jones). Discussing his past with the realm of violent media makes the audience feel like Jones is a competent and trustworthy source on the matter.
To further contribute to ethos, Jones uses a rebuttal. In his essay, he mentions that many psychologists argue that violent stories breed more violence- such as the recent increase in columbine shootings. They say people use media violence as a driving force for real life violence. Jones acknowledges these points. However, he refutes them by saying that “it’s helped hundreds of people for everyone its hurt, and it can help far more if we learn how to use it” (Jones). In other words, when we channel violent media into heroic battles of good versus evil, it can empower a child in need.
This rebuttal contributes to the objectivity of the essay. It shows that the author did his research so well that he can recognize opposing viewpoints and refute them. The author also effectively supports his thesis through pathos. To evoke strong emotion in his readers, Jones appeals to the audience’s feeling of vulnerability in their youth. Recognizing that during adolescence most people feel powerless, he tells engaging stories of his own and his son’s rise to power through comic books to give the audience something to connect to.
As these stories are told, readers reminisce about those days, and feel joy in knowing that there was a happy ending. The feelings created make the audience look positively at the essay and relate to it. Lastly, Jones uses logos to solidify his argument with concrete evidence. This is done by giving two real-life examples of girls that were helped through childhood by writing violent media. In both cases, Jones personally assisted these girls during a difficult time, and got them started on their path to future successes. The first example involves a little girl, Emily, whose parents were separated.
Her main problem was her violent fantasies. Because she didn’t have a proper outlet, she acted out aggressively. Jones stepped in and channeled her fantasies into stories. At the end of the day, she was still fiery and strong, but she was able to control herself in public. In fact, she even became a student leader in her school. In this case, violent media gave a child an outlet for her aggression. The second example involved an older girl in a very chaotic family situation. She was surrounded by fighting, alcohol, and peer pressure. Jones stepped in with the power of writing.
His use of the Power Play program helped the girl escape from her reality. In the girl’s stories, she was powerful and invulnerable. She was able to ignore the world going on around her for a period of time. This proved to be very beneficial. She stayed out of trouble, and grew up to be a writer and political activist. In this case, Jones showed how media violence helped someone power through adolescence and contribute to a very successful future. Jones uses the two examples above to drive home his argument. By employing real life examples, he is able to not only provide concrete evidence, but also put a face to the fact.
Instead of spewing a list of facts, he gives two examples the audience could relate to and better visualize. This makes for a stronger use of logos. It seems that Gerald Jones had his work cut out for him in writing this essay. He had to take the hardwired belief that violence is bad and convince the world that “Through immersion in imaginary combat and identification with a violent protagonist, children engage the rage they’ve stifled, come to fear it less, and become more capable of utilizing it against life’s challenges” (Jones).
By using ethos to give credibility to himself and his argument, pathos to evoke strong emotion and connect the reader to the essay, and logos to make the argument solid, Jones is able to effectively argue his thesis. Work Cited Jones, Gerard. “Violent Media is Good for Kids. ” Current Issues and Enduring Questions. 9th Edition. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau, Eds. Boston: Bedford St. Martin’s Press, 2011. 195-199. Print.