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Violence in the Media

Among the growing concerns in the United States, none is more disturbing than the increase in rate of acts of violence being committed everyday. For many years, scholars, parents and experts have pointed the finger at the increasing level of violence that is found in different forms of media as the cause for the increase in the violent behavior observed among Americans, particularly among the younger generation. However, other people have stated that, in fact having some violence in the media is beneficial for children and adolescents.

This paper will present the points of arguments of two sides of this ongoing debate and compare these points of argument. Violence in Media Promotes Socialization in Children Gerard Jones wrote an essay that stipulated that violence in the media is able to instill what he considered as “creative violence” in order to help children to be able to control their frustrations as they developed. In the essay, he had pointed out that feelings of frustration and rage are the feelings that American society mistrust the most and as such, children have been taught to suppress these emotions (Jones, 2004).

However, Melanie Moore, a psychologist who works with urban adolescents have stated that the feelings of fear, greed, power and rage are aspects that individuals would often want or need to experience. As such, children need violent entertainment in order to explore the inescapable feelings that they have been taught to deny. One way that this could be done is through the exposure of children to violent forms of media and allows them to act this out by imitating superheroes with superhuman powers. This would help them conquer their insecurities of being young and small.

By developing a dual-identity concept which is often faced by most superheroes allows children to be able to cope with the conflicts they face between their inner self and the public self which happens during the early stages of socialization (Jones, 2004). Violence in Media Linked to Violent Behavior The argument of Gerard Jones was an example of the usage of the “catharsis theory” which was developed during the 1960s and 1970s. This theory stated that violence in the media helps young people live out their aggressive impulses and as such they become less aggressive.

However, has now been abandoned by almost all scholars today because the lack of supporting and conclusive evidence that violence in the media has lowered the aggressiveness of an individual who has been exposed to violence in the various forms of media as compared to those who have not (Bok, 2004). Majority of studies have now believed that violence in the media can have both short and long-term effects on individuals exposed to it. This is because aggressive habits learned during childhood become the basis of an individual’s behavior later on in their life.

Various researches have found that violence in media reinforces the tendency of individuals become more aggressive. This was determined in a longitudinal study of boys who were exposed to television violence early on in their lives have been involved in serious violent criminal acts and spousal abuse in the later part of their lives (Bok, 2004). Conclusion There is no denying that violence in media has contributed to more and more adolescents becoming more and more violent.

Over the past years, adolescents who have become obsessed with violent computer games and watch movies filled with much violence have enacted these out in society. However, Jones’ essay have also given an insight that while violence in the media contributed to the increase in violent behavior, repressed and confused feelings that these children were not taught how to handle have also contributed to the increase of aggressive behavior of adolescents and adults in the United States.


Bok, S. (2004). Sizing up the effects. In L. G. Kirszner & S. R. Mandell (Eds. ) Patterns of college writing: a rhetorical reader and guide (pp. 671-74). Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. Jones, G. (2004). Violent media is good for kids. In L. G. Kirszner & S. R. Mandell (Eds. ) Patterns of college writing: a rhetorical reader and guide (pp. 678-82). Boston: Bedford/St. Martins.

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