Does The Intense Media Coverage Of Violence Contribute To Its Increase In Our Society?

1315 words - 6 pages

FloflogefuMass CommunicationSubject: Does the intense media coverage of violence contribute to its increase inour society?One Saturday morning many years ago, I was watching an episode of the 'Roadrunner' on television. As wile E. Coyote was pushed off of a cliff by the Roadrunner for the fourth or fifth time, I started laughing uncontrollably. I then watched a 'Bugs Bunny' show and started laughing whenever I saw Elmer Fudd shoot Daffy Duck and his bill went twirling around his head. The next day, I pushed my brother off of a cliff and shot my dog to see if its head would twirl around.Obviously, that last sentence is not true. Some people believe that violence on the tube is one of the main ...view middle of the document...

Does violence do more than sell, however? Do media portrayals of violence beget violence in the streets and in the home?It seems clear enough that there are connections between violence in the media and real violence. In the 1990's, for example, audiences at films about violent urban youth such as Colors, Boyz N the Hood, have gotten into fights, shot one another, and gone on rampages after the showings. The MTV cartoon characters, Beavis and Butt-head, who comment on rock videos and burn and destroy things, may have been connected with the death of a 2-year-old and a burned room in Ohio. The victim a 5-year-old brother, who set the blaze that killed the 2-year-old, had begun playing with fire after he observed Beavis and Butt-head to say that fire is fun.Obviously, these are just a few isolated incidents. If everyone acted this way after watching violence then we would really have a problem.Children are routinely exposed to murders, beatings, and sexual assaults just by turning on the television set. The public is wary of it, of course. Psychologists, educators, and parent groups have raised many questions about the effects of media violence. For example, does media violence cause real violence?If there are causal connections between media violence and real violence, what can parents and educators do to prevent the fictional from spilling over into the real world?Media violence affects children through observational learning, disinhibition, increasing arousal and priming aggressive thoughts, and desensitization. The Mean World Syndrome, which suggests that children who watch a lot of violence on television may begin to believe that the world is as mean and dangerous in real life as it appears on television, and hence, they begin to view the world as a much more mean and dangerous place, is another way in which media violence affects children.Children learn from observing the behavior of their parents and other adults. Television violence supplies models of aggressive "skills." In fact, children are more likely to imitate what their parents do than heed what they say. If adults say they disapprove of aggression but smash furniture or slap each other when frustrated, children are likely to develop the notion that aggression is the way to handle frustration. Classic experiments have shown that children tend to imitate the aggressive behavior they see on television, whether the models are cartoons or real peopleThe expression of "skills" may be inhibited by punishment or by the expectation of punishment. 73% of violent acts in programs went unpunished ("Telecommunications: Clinton Backs Antiviolence Chip").Media violence and aggressive video games increase viewers' levels. We are more likely to engage in dominant forms of behavior, including...

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