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Media Violence Or Myth? Essay

2900 words - 12 pages

Media violence is a topic that has warranted much discussion from active citizens, critics, and scientific researchers on both sides of the argument. In order to better understand the media violence debate a clear definition of violence, or aggression, must be established. However, one of the reasons that the heated discussion over media violence even exists is because of the difficulty in accomplishing this task. “Aggression is a highly complex phenomenon, whose etiology includes a wide variety of psychological, social, and circumstantial factors. 'Measuring' aggression in relationship to such an equally complex substance as the media is incredibly difficult” (Trend 45). Various sources ...view middle of the document...

When the suggestion of media violence as the cause for aggressive behaviors was proposed people panicked, believing that television was poisoning the minds of its viewers. “Parents, educators, and concerned citizens were especially upset about the violent messages that crime and horror comics might convey to children and teenagers” (Gerdes 12). The fact of the matter is that a dismayed public sought for an answer to both local and national violence, and in response government pointed a blaming finger at media. “The concern over media violence is generated by the fear that viewers will experience negative effects” (Potter 152). The uneasiness simply arises from parents who are worried for their children and citizens who care about their community and their friends.
In the case of youth, ranging from ages approximately eleven to nineteen, parents and childless adults alike presume that children are extremely vulnerable to the supposedly harmful messages of media such as violent television, film, music, and video games. “Most people form their opinions on the basis of upbringing, peer pressure, and personal, cultural, or professional bias” (Dudley 9). These opinions on child media are the predispositions of people who are not sufficiently educated on the matter. “It is commonly assumed that children are more attracted to violent imagery and more vulnerable to its harmful effects, especially when it comes to imitation... Yet nowhere in the literature or science of media violence has there been any documentation that children are naturally disposed to violence” (Trend 37). Actually, “close examination of children's responses to violent cartoons... reveals that they more often respond to to the excitement or excess of imagery in general... What the research has shown is that most children don't imagine themselves committing violence, although roughly half empathize with victims of violence” (38). Studies have developed to thoroughly analyze every specific outlet for detrimental media violence, and a majority of researchers can say that, among other mediums of media, “we cannot conclude with any degree of certainty that violent and sexually explicit rap lyrics lead impressionable youths to antisocial, criminal and delinquent behavior” (Gerdes 93). Even the data on children viewing violent images in television—the most researched media—is apparent. Grimes, Anderson, and Bergen quote page seven of the report to the Surgeon General (Television, 1972):
The accumulated evidence, however, does not warrant the conclusion that televised violence has a uniformly adverse effect nor the conclusion that it has an adverse effect on the majority of children. It cannot even be said that the majority of the children in the various studies we have reviewed showed an increase in aggressive behavior in response to the violent fare to which they were exposed. The evidence does indicate the televised violence may lead to increased aggressive behavior in certain subgroups...

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