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Violence in Media and Effect on Children

Unlike past generations where violence in media was restricted or limited, today’s generation of children have unlimited access to television, video games as well as the internet, which depict violence in various ways (Anderson 97). Parents in today’s society are having a hard time controlling what their children are exposed to and the media is not doing much to help the situation (Anderson 98). In the 1940s to around 1980s, for example, few people had access to or were able to afford the luxury of owning television sets (Chamberlin 43).

The internet as well as video games was not yet advanced, hence children in that era were not exposed to violence in media, as compared to children of today. Due to little or no exposure to violence by the media, children of past generations lived long and healthy lives and did not portray aggressive behavior at a later life (Gadow & Sprafkin 40). Violence in the media has greatly affected children in a negative way and the society seems to have realized it when it is too late.

Due to advancement in technology and introduction of internet, violent video games, movies and programmes are becoming a craze among today’s children aged between 7 years and 12 years, as well as teenagers aged between 13 years and 18 years (Anderson 100). The media is to blame for increase in violence in children since it puts forward the notion or mentality that the use of violence to solve issues, use of substances such as cocaine is morally acceptable as long as it is controlled and justified (Duncan 42).

Children have a higher capacity of absorbing what is being presented to them and since it is presented by adults, then to them it is the right thing to do (Chamberlin 57). They also try aping what they watch on televisions or video games. Due to lack of proper judgment and ability to re-think whatever information is being presented to them, children end up being more vulnerable to the information as compared to adults (Duncan 45). They cannot easily tell good motives from bad motives of violence (Anderson 115).

Today’s media is portraying a lot of violence as being an act of heroism hence cases whereby shooting by young people in schools occur (Duncan 40). It has also been observed that instead of spending the better part of their day sleeping or resting, children aged 7 years to 18 years spend most of their childhood and teenage life glued to the television or video games (Gadow & Sprafkin 52). The approximated time has been 6? hours a day (Chamberlin 56)!

At these ages, it is not easy for them to differentiate reality from fantasy, hence imitate almost everything they see (Duncan 45). Children who are exposed to violence through media or video games have been known to develop aggressive behaviors and attitudes not only to their peers but their families as well (Gadow & Sprafkin 60). Programmes such as World Wrestling depict that it is right to fight or injure your ‘rival’ as long as one gets to get even for a wrong done to him (Chamberlin 54).

In their adult lives, they tend not to show any or little remorse for violent actions such as assaulting their peers or use of abusive language (Gadow & Sprafkin 55). Due to exposure to violence in media, those children end up consisting the large number of Americans who end up committing suicide, becoming homicidal as well as those who become traumatized as a result of either participating in or witnessing violent crimes or scenes (Gadow & Sprafkin 62).

Cases such as where a husband attacks his wife and/or children, or where a teenager goes on a shooting spree at his school have been related to continuous exposure to violence through the media or video games (Anderson 119). A good example which emulates the effects of violence in children is that of the 1999 Columbine High School killings, where two teenage boys went on a killing rampage and ended up injuring 23 students (Anderson 120). 12 students lost their lives in the shootings (Duncan 46).

The shootings were to later be related to hate crimes, aimed at Christians. A teenage girl by the name of Rachel Scott was questioned on her belief in God and on admitting that she did believe in God , got shot four times, and died instantly (Gadow & Sprafkin 62). Psychologists later discovered that the two teenage boys involved in the crime had long been exposed to hate messages from the internet and had decided to apply them, knowing it was the moral thing for them to do (Chamberlin 54).

They had the notion that they would somehow be ‘cleansed’ from any inequities or wrongs committed by them as well as get even (Chamberlin 55). In conclusion, in order to curb the rising violence in our society by our very own children, there should be introduction of media education. In this way, both children as well as teenagers will taught by the media itself on ways to critically respond to information or messages given to them, and learn to discern reality from fantasy.

Parents, friends, relatives as well as the society as a whole ought to find ways of limiting or controlling what is viewed by children on the media. Gadgets such as Parental Guidance control devices have been introduced to help censor or limit words and pictures being portrayed on the media/television. In so doing, future generations will have fewer cases of violent or aggressive behaviors, become more innovative and efficient in the society and as a result, live long and fruitful lives.

Work Cited

Anderson, Craig A.An Update on the effects of playing violent video games. Journal of Adolescence, 27 (2004), p. 113-122. Chamberlin, Leslie J. ; Chambers, Norman. How television is changing our children. The Clearing House, October 1976, p. 53-57. Duncan, Barry. Viewing violence: do celluloid heroes instigate or cultivate aggression? Forum (OSSTF), November/December 1985, p. 45-46. Gadow, Kenneth D. ; Sprafkin, Joyce. Television “violence” and children with emotional and behavioral disorders. Journal of Emotional & Behavioral Disorders, January 1993, p. 54-63.

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