Mass Media and Violence

Introduction

Violence in the media has apparently become the norm, and is almost impossible to find any TV program that does not have a violent element in it. In my opinion, I think media tends to glorify violence which sends the wrong perception to the society. The media gives so much airtime to violence, whether it is reported on news or shown through other programs. This attention can make people to commit acts of violence in order to call for attention from the media.

I believe the kind of violence portrayed in the media is partially responsible in breeding a violent society. This is especially true when children are exposed to violent scenes through TV programs since they think this is the ideal of life. In addition, it is very hard to avoid the negative influence on society, as media is part and parcel of our daily lives ranging from television, other motion pictures and radio. In fact, the influence of media on the contemporary society touches aspects from fashion, diet and so on; hence the contribution to violent acts cannot be overlooked.

Main Body

The debate on the influence of violence in the media on society is nothing new. Most arguments since 1950 have focused on the influence of television as it is considered to be a common possession, and pass time activity among many households (Anderson & Bushman, 2002). The debate has brought about myriad of controversies with those for the debate arguing that violent acts depiction affects children due to its direct correlation with real life violence (Anderson & Bushman, 2002). Bushman & Anderson (2001) are emphatic that media perception on violence portrays the latter as the ultimate solution to problems, especially among children who are yet to perceive the difference between what is shown on television and what happen in real life.

To support the debate, Bushman and Anderson (2001) quote some but a few organizations such as The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Psychiatric Association (APA) and equivalents of the same in many other countries, which have carried out mammoth research on the issue. For example, they quote the APA 1992 research named big world, small screen which concluded that there was a direct relationship of media violence and the actual violence in the society (Bushman & Anderson, 2001).

Further, the research concluded that viewing violent acts in media at the high levels experienced today, makes the society embrace the aggressive attitude which is reflected in the resultant aggressive behavior (Bushman & Anderson, 2001). Another interesting research on how media violence contributes to violence in the society is that by Centerwall Brandon cited by Anderson, Carnagey and Eubanaks (2003).

According to Anderson the latter, Brandon research concluded that 15 years after the introduction of television, the murder rate in that society will double, and will continue to rise if nothing is done to regulate rendition by the media. The study also contribute to the notion that if television was never introduced to the US society, the homicides would have been lower by 10,000, rape cases down by 70,000 and cases of assaults would be declined by 700,000 (Anderson, Carnagey & Eubanaks, 2003). These statistics provide evidence that media violence has a direct bearing or significant influence to real violence in the society, since it creates aggressive attitudes which influences society towards more aggressive behavioral patterns.

Psychologist and other researchers have put a lot of effort in research to find out the psychological and social processes which aggravates media violence to turn into violent crime (Bushman & Anderson, 2001). Children from the age of 18 months can discern what is on television and movies, but the ability to organize the origin of information in their brain is absent until the age of five and seven. When children in these age groups watch violent scenes such as gun-shooting, murder or other forms of human torture, they will perceive them as real, and assume that such violent acts are the order of the day (Anderson, Carnagey & Eubanaks, 2003).

Both children and adults alike undergo classical conditioning when they see too much violence on media. At first the violent acts may bring nausea, but through repetitive watching, reading and listening, the individuals learn to associate violence with pleasure. Bushman & Anderson (2001) are emphatic that pleasure is what makes people sit down, watch a violent movie as well as cheer and laugh as a fellow human being suffers up to death. The unanimously concur that the society may be violent as portrayed in the media, but giving such violent acts a lot of media attention is what breeds violence in other people’s mind that would have otherwise been spared if they did not watch such programs.

If nothing is done the generation which is being raised today might demonstrate too much violence than the World War I and II will look like a mole hill as compared to a mountain. According to Anderson, Carnagey and Eubanaks (2003), the generation today is exposed to extreme violence as compared to the yester years. The advancement in communication technology has led to the emergence of other forms of societal media such as internet and cable TV which puts the generation at a higher risk to be influence negatively by such media.

Conclusion

In recap, the media has an influence on the society whether from a negative or positive perspective. As aforementioned in the essay, statistics obtained from empirical research have conclusively demonstrated that violence in the media breeds more a more violent in society. The risk is even higher in children who perceive everything as real, hence adopt the aggressive attitude and behaviors to be their ordinary way of life.

References

Anderson, A. C. & Bushman, B. J. (2002) “The Effects of Media on Violence Society”. Science Magazine, 295, 112-118.

Anderson, C., Carnagey, N., & Eubanaks, J. (2003). “Exposure to Violent media: The Effects of Songs with Violent lyrics on Aggressive Thoughts and Feelings”. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 126-134.

Bushman, B. J. & Anderson, C. A. (2001). “Media Violence and the American Public: Scientific Fact versus Media Misinformation”. American Psychologist, 56(6/7), 122-136.