The Influence of Media Violence on Youth
In the era of technological progress the internet, television, video game systems, and entertainment media became very popular among children and adolescents. They play an important role in the development and education of today’s youth. But along with positive influence they have negative side expressed by media violence. Most of the video materials consumed by children contain considerable amounts of violence. This is a huge problem of today’s youth as almost every family, technologically equipped, spends a lot of time playing video games or watching movies with inappropriate content. Scientists are concerned about the problem. They examine the influence of violent video materials on children and the changes media violence develops in the behavior of the youth. As a result, numerous researches show that exposure to violence on television or video games causes increases in aggression. So, how does media violence influence our youth? Such factors as psychological level, family, friends, and school can help explain the problem.
Playing video games and watching movies take a huge time period of children’s everyday life.
American children spend over five hours a day consuming various types of media. The same situation is in Europe and Asia. Children perceive everything they watch or hear very closely and literally. They act as monkeys, trying to repeat every word or gesture as in the movie or video game. When a child is watching educational or entertaining movie, copying certain behavior is positive, the same cannot be said about video materials that contain violence. In this case a child has more positive attitudes regarding aggressive solutions to problems. He perceives aggression as a normal way of behavior. For him a game is a model of social world, where people act and think in a hostile way, and the more aggressive and cruel you are, the more success you have in life. After regular review of media materials, a child or adolescent has a wrong, negative conception of the world and starts thinking aggressively, which can greatly influence child’s behavior in future. Usually, when people are watching video containing violence they experience a negative emotional reaction to cruelty and aggression, expressed by increased heart rate, blood pressure, or a headache. Repeated consumptions of such materials dull people’s negative feelings, increase pleasure and interest, making violent actions normal. As a result, repeated consumptions of violence lead to learning the aggressive actions or ways of thinking on the automatic level. And, when a similar situation occurs in reality, a child will act as he learned in the movie – aggressively. So, media violence has a huge psychological influence on children. They cannot distinguish real and virtual worlds yet, hence, wrongly perceive the situations from videos as such that can be used in real life. It primarily concerns children that have inclination to aggressive behavior since their birth. The combination of “bad” genes and media violence can have crucial effect on a child. So, it is very important to pay special attention to the child’s psychological state and select such video materials that will not be harmful for him. This can only be achieved with the help of parents.
Parents play an important role in the life of their children.
They bring them up, educate, and show how to live the life in a right way. But sometimes instead of showing the right way they show the wrong one. It concerns, first of all, the atmosphere in the family and style of life of parents. They can have a habit of watching television programs or movies containing violence and aggressive scenes. Very often parents emotionally, even violently, discuss programs, argue without paying attention to a child. If it happens from time to time a child has an impression of how the adults live and thinks that cruelty on television as well as ill atmosphere in the family is a right way of life. This wrong perception of the world and relationships can change a child’s attitude toward violence. He will act as his parents and will think that doing harm is the best way
of solving problems. Parents can actively participate in the development of the aggression in children by allowing them playing violent video games. These games attract youth greatly. In comparison to movies or television programs they are more interactive and immersive. Players of violent video games are engaged in virtual violent world, where they act in an aggressive way. Usually players have a control over other characters, receive rewards for cruel actions, and perfect their violent behavior. Children love this way of entertainment because they feel their advantages and strengths. When children play violent games every day cruel methods, used in games, become a part of their behavior in real life. The older they become the more convinced they are that violence is the best way to achieve something in life. Parents do not just allow violent video games, but play them together with their kids, making the situation even worth. Children perceive their parents as authority, model of behavior. That is why it is so important when adults control inappropriate material in the house and keep it far away from their children.
Along with parents, friends and neighborhood influence children when dealing with media violence. Friends spend a lot of time together and have a lot of common ways of entertainment. One of them is playing video games and watching movies containing violence. Children are more enthusiastic and inspired when they play or watch something in a company of friends. In this way they can transfer the game life into reality and repeat the actions of favorite video heroes with friends. It enhances a bad influence of media violence. Instead of making friendship stronger and getting the best things out of it children practice fighting and violent competition. They often aggressively communicate, develop brutal traits of character, and treat themselves not as friends but as enemies. Besides, not all the children are interested in violent video games or movies. There are a lot of children and adolescents who devote their free time to books, educational videos, and other useful ways of entertainment. But being in a company with children who adore violent video games, they come under their influence. This situation is very popular among teenagers who usually do what others seem cool or popular. And if somebody, for example, will not play a violent video, he will just fall out of the company. Usually children are afraid to be rara avis and try to match their friends’ interests. This is the biggest mistake. It is necessary to continue one’s own way and do what you, not others, like the most. In this way a child shows his personality. He is not afraid to lose the authority among his friends. On the contrary, he is developing his best qualities which will help to go through life without anger and violence. Real friends do not obtrude their interests in playing violent video games on others.
The company that influences a child can be not only in his neighborhood but also at school. A place where children get knowledge can be a source of spreading media violence and influence adolescents greatly. During classes children can watch videos or read materials which contain violence. Teachers are to explain each material with special attention as it may contain violent moments which kids can interpret too literally. Besides, violence can be present in teacher’s behavior. In all schools it is forbidden to use any violent actions toward children, otherwise a teacher will take the responsibility for doing harm. But still there are exceptions. Also aggressive behavior takes place among schoolmates. Very often children at school are divided into groups that have leaders. Not all the leaders behave in a proper way and use their authority humiliating others. So, school can have a big influence on the development of cruelty and violence in children.
Nowadays video game systems and entertainment media are very popular and accessible among youth. Entertainment material that contains violence is of special interest and that is why is considered dangerous for children who devote a lot of their free time to it. The negative influence of media violence can be explained with the help of such factors as psychological level, family, friends, and school. Each factor shows that video materials that contain violence and cruelty greatly change children’s behavior, making it aggressive and brutal. While a child does not have his character developed yet, it is very easy to affect this process and direct it to the wrong way. That is why it is so important when parents and friends control inappropriate material, protecting a child from the influence of media violence.
Effects of Music, Television, and Video Game Violence on Children and Teens
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Usually when a child or a teenager commits a crime, it is never their fault. When a child or a teenager commits a crime, the responsibility never belongs to the parents either. Instead, when a teenager or a child commits a crime, the first thing that the prosecutors or the media wants to place the blame on is video games, the television program that the child had been watching, or the blame is placed on the type of music that the child or teen had been previously listening to.
This is what concerns me. Everyone is responsible for their own actions regardless of what television program video games the child, or teen, what type of video games that are being played, is watching and what type of music is being listened to. What bothers me even more is when the actors who are in some of the video game or movies take some of the heat for the movies that they are in. The same case in some of the music. Artist is often blamed for a lot of the violence in America just by some of the types of lyrics that they recite in their songs.
In this report, I am going to simply tell you how I feel about the artist and actors taking all the blame for the violence in America. I am going to tell you whose fault violence really is. I am going to state the facts and give you some personal experiences of how the media (video games, television, and music) is not responsible for violence amongst the youth in America.
Video games were a $6 billion industry in 2000 and sales are expected to reach as high as $8 billion in 2001. Over 250 million units were sold in 2000 alone, and it is estimated that 60% of all Americans play video games on a normal basis. This level of market penetration makes it important to investigate the messages video games send children. There are some benefits to video games. Studies have found that playing video games can improve children's visual attention skills, and their computer literacy skills. According to research most of the top-selling video games (89%) contained violent content, and the negative consequences of the violent acts were rarely shown.
Although there are a few games that are educational and help kids with their learning experiences, most of the top rated games contained violence.
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Perfect games that I can use for examples of violence in video games. Take for example the whole series of Grand Theft Auto games. The Games include Grand Theft Auto, and Grand Theft Auto Two for Playstation. Then when graphics were improved and Playstation 2 came out it came out with better graphics and the Grand Theft Auto series continued on with Grand Theft Auto 3, Grand Theft Auto Vice City, and a new game was just released entitle Grand Theft Auto San Andraes.
You probably can get an idea of what type of game it is and what goes on in the game just by the title of the game alone. You go around and complete missions for drug lords and mob bosses, but there’s a catch to it. You are not given a car to complete these missions and you do not buy the car, you have to go out and steal it. Not only do you have to steal the car, you have to steal a car that somebody else is driving by throwing the person out of the car and beating them up or killing them. Then to carry out the missions that you are assigned you must purchase weapons, which include guns and grenades and all sorts of things. To make matters even worse, you can pick up prostitutes and have sex with the prostitutes for money right in the car. In my own personal opinion this is one of the worst games that has ever been made. Think about it, what kind of games are being made? What Kind of influence do games like this have on the youth of America? I know that it doesn’t have a positive effect on the youth of America. The youth in America are influenced by video games and I know this for a fact.
If you see a kid playing a football game and you ask him what he wants to be he would probably tell you a football player. If you see a kid playing a basketball game he would probably tell you that he wants to be a basketball player. The same thing applies to violent video games, just a little bit. When a child plays a violent video game, the child probably believes that this is cool. They may not want to be a murderer when they grow up, but the child may began to start thinking about things that he sees on the video games. For instance, the child may began to wonder what does it feel like to own a gun? What does it feel like to shoot a gun? What does if feel like to actually rob a bank and if I rob a bank will I get caught? These are just a few of the questions that the youth of America may have and it may inspire them to do violent crimes.
So the question I have is this: Who’s to blame for the violence amongst the youth in our country? I feel that it is a combination of things that we can blame the violence amongst the children and teenage population in our country. It starts out with that is actually buying the games for the children. When a child tells a parent what game that they want, the parent will usually just go and buy the game without reading what type of game it is that they had just purchased. As long as the child is happy, parents wont even mind buying the child the game that they want as long as the child stays occupied. In some cases, the parent doesn’t even accompany the child when the child goes to buy the video game. Instead the child is just given the money and told to buy whatever they want to buy with it. I grew up in a house where my parents bought every game that I ever played in my house and none of these games were violent games. When my parents saw the commercial for the Grand Theft Auto games and they found out that I wanted the game, they immediately told me that I couldn’t have the game. I am 18 years of age now and I bought the game for myself and my parents aren’t worried that the game will influence me due to the fact that I am a responsible young man and I know that the things seen on the game are wrong. But the same thing doesn’t apply for young children. The child’s younger years are the years when the child determines what is wrong and what is right. If a child grows up playing these kinds of games and they aren’t told what the consequences are if they commit these crimes, then the child may want to do some of the crimes that are seen on the video game.
So can you blame it on the parents? Yes, parents in America need to monitor what type of video games that their children are playing. But not all kids live with their parents so what about them? I believe that the consequences for all the crimes should be inside of the video game pouch along with the instructions to the game. Maybe even a warning could be shown that says this game is not suitable for children should flash throughout the advertisement for the game on TV. Another thing that could be done is the games that have ratings of mature, or for adults only should only be sold to buyers that are 18 and up. We all know that violence in America cannot be stopped. However, if the companies that produce these games would just do some of the little things like selling games with adult ratings to adults only, maybe some of the violence in America can be reduced.
Violence on Television
There are quite a few negative effects of television on children. According to the university of Miami, 40% of the average thirty-minute news program that are shown across the country is devoted to crime? That crime on your television may be the reason children across America think it’s all right to get act violent just because it is what the child is being shown on television. Violence in media can traumatize youngsters, lead to mistrust later in life and negatively influence children and young adults. This is what incites violence and abuse in the home, toward children, and many of the crimes committed in today’s society. Studies show a much higher likelihood of a child exposed to violent media to carry out the same violent acts they see on television and film. Most people would agree that violence is a natural part of life, but what effect is it having on the children, teens and even adults of America?
The effects of violence shown on television towards children may vary depending on the child’s age group, how much television they watch each day and their reactions to what they have been watching. What children see, they usually will end up trying to imitate it. And what they see on both Movies in the theaters and cable television is violence, real and encouraged. There is a strong relationship between the viewing of violent images and aggressive behavior amongst the youth in America. The more a child is exposed to violence on television; there is a greater chance that the violence will have a long lasting effect on their behavior. The impact of television on children is easily understood because most infants try to imitate adult behavior. Young children tend to imitate adult facial expressions and behaviors. As the child gets older, they are incapable of knowing the difference between reality and fantasy on. Parents should continually remind their children that television is not real life and there are consequences for committing crimes and that the bad guys hardly even win. They should be told that the penalty is either going to prison, or that the child may even die.
Parents could try to monitor what the child watches at a young age. I would like to say that the only television programs that a child should be allowed to watch are cartoons, but cartoons are where a lot of the violence takes place. Take for example one of the most watched cartoons of today by all age groups including children, teens, and parents. I am talking about Dragonball Z. This is the cartoon of cartoons that all children want to watch. Can you guess what takes place during the majority of the cartoon? Violence. I must admit, this is my favorite cartoon too. It’s just exciting to watch. It has been proclaimed as the best action cartoon ever created.” It’s pretty hard to get the point across of limiting violence when that’s all that is shown on television. What I believe can be done is that the child gets taught what is right and what is wrong and what to do and what not to do. Violence on television will not be completely turned off, but the violence can be reduced.
Music and Music Videos
Music and Music videos have a major impact on effecting the way that the youth of America. I can say that right now in my life that I am influence. I am influenced more by the music videos than the actual lyrics in the songs and I am influenced in a positive way. Every time I watch a music video and I see the type of clothes that the artist are wearing, I immediately say to myself that I want that. I see all the types of jerseys and shoes and hats that the artist wear and I say that if I want to have the same type of clothing style that the artist have I am going to have to be able to afford it. In order to afford I am going to have to have a good job and be able to afford it. In order for me to be able to afford it and get a good job I am going to have to graduate from college. You can be influenced positively by music videos, but you can also be influenced negatively by music videos as well.
Along with some of the nice cars, clothes, and jewelry that you see in these music videos, you also see banks being robbed, people doing drugs, people getting beat down, and some times you may even seeing people getting murdered. To children some of the Artist is their role model and the child may want to grow up and be just like their role model. If a child sees one of their role models robbing banks are doing any type of drug and this is the person that they want to be like when they grow up, then the child may start doing what that particular artist is doing in the music videos. A child really doesn’t know how to distinguish right from wrong at a young age. But then again the child doesn’t have to watch the music videos. Maybe certain access codes should be required for certain channels to be viewed. This would limit not only what music videos are being watched, but what type of programming that the child is watching in general.
Lyrics are another thing that influences the way that children behave. There are many songs with a lot of positive lyrics. Most R&B songs are love songs and hardly ever talk about anything. Then you have artist like Goapele who’ single entitled “ Closer” simply says that she is getting higher, and higher, closer to her dreams and it is a very powerful song. Just as there are positive songs that influence the youth of America, there are negative songs that influence the youth of America as well. Lil Jon and the eastside boys are the perfect example for just negative songs. I listen to Lil Jon and the eastside boys before football games and that is because the game of football is physical and there are no friends on the football field. His songs have titles like, Push that nigg* push that ho*, I don’t give a f*ck, and Bia Bia. Then finally when have the medias favorite bad boy who takes just about the most blame for violence amongst the youth. I am talking about rap artist Eminem.
The media hates Eminem because he says whatever he wants to say about whomever he feels like. He doesn’t hold his tongue for anybody and he shouldn’t have to because in this country everyone is given the freedom of speech. He talks about his mother, his ex wife, actors, musicians, and he really doesn’t care how they feel about it. He wrote a song entitled “ Who Knew.” This song has some pretty aw lyrics. He has lines like, “I'm sorry, there must be a mix-upYou want me to fix up lyrics while the President gets his di@k sucked? Quit tryin to censor music, this is for your kid's amusement
(The kids!) But don't blame me when lil' Eric jumps off of the terraceYou shoulda been watchin him - apparently you ain't parents, So who's bringin the guns in this country? (Hmm?)I couldn't sneak a plastic pellet gun through customs over in London and last week, I seen a Schwarzaneggar movie where he's shootin all sorts of these motherf*ckers with a uzi, I sees three little kids, up in the front row,screamin "Go," with their 17-year-old Uncle, I'm like, "Guidance - ain't they got the same moms and dads who got mad when I asked if they liked violence? " And told me that my tape taught 'em to swear What about the make-up you allow your 12-year-old daughter to wear? How many retards 'll listen to me and run up in the school shootin when they're pissed at a teach-er, her, him, is it you is it them?" Wasn't me, Slim Shady said to do it again! "Da$n! How much damage can you do with a pen?” Eminem brings up some very good points in this song. You cannot blame Eminem for what he does. You don’t have to buy his cd. He isn’t forcing you to buy his music so don’t blame Eminem for the violence among the youth in America. The Cd’s have parental advisory explicit content stickers on them.
See, the amount of violence that is shown in video games, in music, and on television can be monitored, but that isn’t the problem. The problem is that if it is limited, everyone will lose out on money except for the consumer. After watching videos like “ Bowling for Columbine” and “ The Merchants of Cool, “ I understand that the media doesn’t really care about the amount of violence, all they care about is the amount of money that can be made off of the violent games, and the violent television programming. So I leave you with this, until the media and corporations start thinking about the safety of the youth, and stop thinking about the money, violent video games, television programming and Explicit lyrics will stay on the shelves, influences the youth of today, and tomorrow.