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185 locTheEffects of Violence in Media on Society TodayIs societies violence the medias fault?This is the question that has been asked since before television was inevery Americans house. Of course there are the different types of mediatoday ranging from newspapers, to on-line reports and stories. There havebeen arguments upon arguments about this issue, and over 3,000 studiesconducted. Unfortunately there isnt one single result, there is only anarray of supposed answers to this undying question. CBS president, Howard Stringer is pointingto a different scapegoat for societys violence.Order now
“I come from a country. . . that puts a lot of American movies on and has more graphic violence withinits live drama on the BBC than anywhere else, and there is a lot lessviolence in the United Kingdom than there is here. There are 200 millionguns in America, and that has a lot to do with violence. ” He feels it hasto do with gun control, which others have suggested.
But there are so manyviolent acts, that one cant focus on the guns, just like one cant focuson the media. David Phillips, one of the men we discuss later put it perfectly,”Its like watching rain fall on a pond and trying to figure out whichdrop causes which ripple. “There have been many studies conductedon the effects of violence on children, and on the effects on society asa whole. There have been about 3,000 studies performed on this topic. Twoof the most prolific studies were the UCLA Television Violence MonitoringReport, and the Mediascope, Inc. test sponsored by the National Cable TelevisionAssociation.
Of course there were many other studies done, but these madeheadlines because of their results. The UCLA study focused on all of the televisionmedia, and discovered some interesting facts from their study. Prime TimeSeries raised the least concern. Theatrical films raised more concern andhad a lot more violence.
The Saturday morning cartoons had mixed reviews. 23% of the cartoons raised concern, but that was only rating the most popularcartoons: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, X-Men, etc. They termed the actionin cartoons as “Sinister Combat Violence” which basically means the wholestory line leads to violence. Mediascope, Inc. focused on the amountand context on cable, effectiveness of rating systems and parental advisories,and the success of anti-violent messages. They found that perpetratorsgo unpunished in 73% of all violent scenes, one out of four violent interactionsinvolved the use of handguns, and premium cable channels present the highestpercentage of violent programs (85%).
There was more to their findings,but these were the more prevalent findings. University of Michigan psychologists Dr. Leonard Eron and Dr. Rowell Huesmann conducted a study, which continuedfor decades. This was conducted beginning in 1960.
They took 800 eight-year-oldsand found that children who watched many hours of violent television tendedto be more aggressive in the playground and the classroom. They checkedback with these kids 11 and 22 years later. They found the aggressive eight-year-oldsgrew up to become even more aggressive. They testified before congressin 1992 stating, “Television violence affects youngsters of all ages, ofboth genders, at all socioeconomic levels and all levels of intelligence. The effect is not limited to children who are already disposed to beingaggressive and is not restricted to this country.
“David Phillips, a scientist at the Universityof California in San Diego conducted a study on prizefights on television. He thought of this topic, because he felt there wasnt enough researchbeing conducted on the copycat violence. He found that after prize fightson television, there would be about a 10 percent increase in murders fora few days afterwards. He quoted, “It also seems to be the case that thekind of person killed just after the prizefight is similar to the personbeaten in the prize fight. “There are four major theories of televisionviolence. The “arousal” theory, the “social learning” theory, the “disinhibitionhypothesis,” and the “catharsis hypothesis.
” These four hypothesis/theoriesare old and new conclusions to the question at hand. It is notable to seethat some of these theories were stated as early as 1961. Most would haveto disagree with these theories just because of the age of their births,but to most peoples surprise they still hold in the 21st century. The arousal theory is basically self-explanatory. This was theorized by P.
H. Tannenbaum in 1975. He said exposure to televisionviolence increases aggression because violence increases excitation, or”arouses” viewers (Tannenbaum & Zillman, 1975). This is also beingfound in the recent studies, which shows the progression in the mediaswill to change.
The “social learning” theory was describedby Dr. Bandura. This theory says ways of behaving are learned by observingothers, and that this is a major means by which children acquire unfamiliarbehavior, although performance of acquired behavior will depend at leastin part on factors other than acquisition (Bandura, 1973). A perfect exampleof this theory was when the murders occurred after the prizefights.
The “disinhibition hypothesis” was L. Berkowitzsinvestigation. This hypothesis explains that television violence in certaincircumstances will result in increased interpersonal aggression becauseit weakens inhibitions against such behavior (Berkowitz, 1962). The final theory, “catharsis hypothesis”was written by S.
Feshbach. This theory explains that under certain conditionsexposure to television violence will reduce subsequent aggression (Feshbach,1961). What this is saying is that if someone sees a fantasy on TV, ornow with technology, entertains themselves with virtual reality, that fantasyis fulfilled, which makes them not feel they have to do that in real life. So many people have discussed the topicof media effecting society, from Aristotle to the President of CBS. Ithas always been a question, but never as needy for an answer as now. Hopefullythe government has some say in this soon, so the drama of centuries willfinally be over.
But that probably wont occur anytime soon. Aristotle was a big supporter of “catharsis. “He believed that the audience became psychologically involved with thestory on stage, even though they knew it was 100% fiction. He felt whenaggression climaxed with the actors, there was a “catharsis” in the audience,which was pleasurable to experience and left the audience “cleansed, uplifted,and less likely to act violently among themselves. “Sigmund Freud also felt as Aristotle didby saying, “Unless people were allowed to express themselves aggressively,the aggressive energy would be dammed up, pressure would build, and theaggressive energy would seek an outlet, either exploding into acts of extremeviolence or manifesting itself as symptoms of mental illness .
. . . But thereis no direct evidence for this conclusion (Aronson, 1995, p. 258).
PresidentClinton looks at it in a different light saying, “for people who have neverbeen taught to understand the consequences of their action . . . these thingscan unintentionally set forth a chain reaction of ever more impulsive behavior.
“Hollywood figures of the 21st century blame factors such as poverty, drugsand alcohol, poor schooling, lax gun control and a general breakdown offamilies but not screen violence. University of Iowa professor of Journalismand Mass Communication Albert Talbott said, “In the 30s, when I was atoddler, one of the things that concerned parents were comic books andthe violence in them. As soon as the modern media started to develop, wehave all kinds of things on how we are affecting people. “Technology today isnt helping everyoneto feel better about this dilemma. It is actually going to get worse beforeit gets better.
There isnt only movies or news reports someone can watchto see violence, but also the new video game craze. Video games have becomean enormous industry in the past decade. People from 4 years old to 70years old own their own Sega Genesis or Nintendo Play Station. Of course there is a number of games tochoose from. . .
but what is the highest wanted game? None other then MortalCombat. The name speaks for itself. Just for the record, this game consistsof choosing a character, a weapon and then fighting another character untilone is dead. It also is equipped with sound effects for when someone ispunched or stabbed, and also shows the blood flying from the body whenhit.
So many studies have been done on the affectsof media violence on children. Most are concerned with the results, especiallyparents. If the government, parents or others are so concerned with theeffect of their child seeing violence on the television, maybe they shouldpractice what they preach when Christmas rolls around. They should thinktwice before buying that Mortal combat III for their son. This is whereit gets sticky.
Parents need to draw the line between appropriate and notappropriate. It would be a nice convenience to have a rating system onthe television, but parents should be aware enough of what their childrenare doing and watching that they are the rating system themselves. The question now is what is happening tohelp this situation currently? The answer is quite relieving. All of thenetworks are on their “tippy toes” so they wont get a bad name. The EntertainmentIndustries council, which distributes suggestions to the writers and producersof network shows and TV movies on social issues, is now meeting with writersto develop ways for dramatizing conflict without violence and showing theconsequences of violence.
MTV is the most risque station on cableright now. It shows a good amount of sex and violence everyday. Usuallymore sex then violence, but there is a good amount of both. But at MTV,almost one out of three music videos submitted is being ruled inappropriatefor broadcast.
The V-Chip is another work in progressfor parents. This device will be in all televisions within 5 years. Itis a rating system for parents, and they can program it to cut off showswith violence or nudity, etc. This will help parents regulate what theirchildren will watch, even when they arent around.
It will be like on-lineshopping, a convenience, but you still have to choose what you want tobuy. Film director Oliver Stone says, “Filmshave become more sanitized. Were moving away from reality. Were in thegrip of a political correctness thats bothersome.
” Obviously there willbe some who are concerned with the action government is taking, becausemedia should be realistic and educating, even if it is gruesome. Some woulddisagree with that statement, and those are the ones taking action now. Photojournalist Assistant Professor John Kimmich Javier said, “News isntalways pretty or nice. People must face that reality.
” People have hadto face that reality, and now are taking action to stop that from continuingto be reality. Should it be stopped is the real question. What is the effect of violence in mediawith children compared to with adults? Children model behavior they seein the media. If they dont see the consequences of violence, it will teachthem that violence doesnt cause serious harm. Adults see more violencein the media than actually exists in real life.
Thats because producersbelieve that they have to include extraordinary violence in order to keepthe viewer. When heroes use violence, children think that violence is anappropriate way to respond to problems. Children are younger, so they seethings and apply that to their lives, because they are learning everythingat that age. Adults look at it as the “mean world syndrome” in which theysee how society is portrayed on TV, and they think that every neighborhoodis dangerous, like shown. When in fact most neighborhoods are nothing likethey are portrayed on TV.
The writers and producers are exaggerating, tomake it all interesting. There is also discussion of violence onTV not having any affect at all. People have seen so much, that they dontreally think about the actual act occurring on screen. Hanno Hardt, a professorat J-MC School said, “Its lost its shock value.
Maybe 20 to 30 yearsago we would have been shocked. Now, a generation later, we know that thisis a violent society. And when we read about violence, it only reinforceswhat we know. ” People have become used to seeing violence on television,but this has become somewhat surreal to them.
They dont think of it asreality until it happens to them. “When violence happens to people or theirfamily, they become eyewitnesses to this violence. They have personal experiencescompassion sensitivity, fear. People havent lost that. “We have covered a huge amount of informationabout the effect of violence in media on society.
Did we answer the questionthough? I dont think we did, but I do think that the answer is makingprogress. We are also a lot more informed now of what exactly is in themedia right now, and what studies have shown to be happening. There hasalways been an issue of something effecting society, and there will alwaysbe a plentitude of scapegoats. What is the actual answer though? No oneseems to have it. There is a lot of gray area, but society seems to bemaking this more of a black and white issue.
Will the government ever reallytake action? Does action need to be taken? Hopefully after reading this,one is more educated on the difficulty in answering these questions.