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Effects of media violence on children - Essay Example

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Due to the constant, unwavering implementation of media into the everyday lives of children, there has been much speculation as to the effect that media has on its young audience. This especially holds true when one considers the effects of media violence on children. Statistics…
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Effects of media violence on children
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Effects of Media Violence on Children Due to the constant, unwavering implementation of media into the everyday lives of children, there has been much speculation as to the effect that media has on its young audience. This especially holds true when one considers the effects of media violence on children. Statistics show that almost two out of every three television programs contain some violence, averaging approximately six violent acts each hour (Gentile 74). With this data, and with the knowledge that children are easily influenced by their environment, it becomes imperative to understand that the same influence can come about via media violence and that these effects are not always positive nor beneficial.
There are three ways in which media violence can negatively effect children. First, children adapt the thoughts and concepts found in media, such as television shows, movies, and music videos, and apply them to real life, which can result in wrongful discrimination and prejudice. Second, children are unable to discern between real-life and entertainment violence, as well as the potential consequences that come as a result of bad behavior. The third and final reason is that children begin to accept violence as an acceptable method to resolve problems in their everyday life.
With the exception of some children’s television programming, the majority of media contains negative and often violent views of minorities. If a television show or movie covers criminal misdeeds, a minority is usually at the center of the activity and is casted in a stereotypical light; likewise, music videos incite negative impressions on minorities and their lifestyles (Desilet 103). The more that children are subjected to these negative views, the more likely they are to adapt the same way of thinking. They can become prejudice and discriminatory, looking at others with the same disdain that is presented in media. In the cases that discrimination and prejudice are met with violence, children can also turn to these methods when dealing with people who are different from them.
Similarly, the more that children are subjected to media violence, the harder it is for them to discern the differences between real-life and entertainment violence. This is revealed primarily through expected, or unexpected, consequences. In media, when violence is displayed there is seldom any ramifications for the violent actions. The thief escapes, the murderer goes free, or the criminal simply gets away with their misdeeds. The more that children see negative behavior go unpunished, the more they assume they will get the same treatment. In entertainment, everyone goes free; in real life, there are consequences, which eventually becomes misleading to children who dwell on media for life lessons. They are unable to make sense of their fictional counterparts getting away with trouble, yet being met with consequences themselves.
The most important impact that media violence has on children is that they begin to accept violence as an acceptable method to solving their problems. Not only do they condone the actions that they witness in media, but they also implement the behaviors into their own life. If a fictional character reacts with violence toward someone that they do not like and become successful in their endeavor, children will begin to think that the same applies to them. If their fictional counterpart can solve their problems with violence, so can they. Statistics have shown that, because of this false belief, there has been a drastic rise between media violence and violence among children over the years (Degaetano & Grossman 54). Children are continuously being subjected to wrong ideas about how to solve their problems by resorting to the violence that they became inspired by through media.
However, not everyone agrees that media violence has effect on children. Indeed, quite a few people believe that media has absolutely no effect on children, but acts more as an educational tool than one that can cause children harm. Regardless of what the negative messages in media are, some parents, teachers, and other professionals hold to the concept that media violence holds no responsibility whatsoever for the ways that children behave (Trend 23). This is due to the fact that some people believe that not only are children able to control their own behaviors and make their own choices, but they are able to distinguish between good and bad, fiction and reality.
Media violence can impact children in ways that people can hardly begin to fathom. By being subjected to media violence, children learn to be discriminatory and prejudice. They find it difficult to discern real-life violence from entertainment violence, and expect no consequences for their own similar actions. When left unfettered, media violence is accepted by children as successful and acceptable ways to go about solving their own problems in life, which has led to an alarming rise in violence among young people. As such, parents and teachers need to take it upon themselves to help children see the vast differences between what is real and what is wrong.
Works Cited
Degaetano, Gloria & Dave Grossman. Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence. New York: Crown Publishing Group, 1999. Print.
Desilet, Gregory. Our Faith in Evil: Melodrama and the Effects of Entertainment Violence. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Incorporated, 2005. Print.
Gentile, Douglas. Media Violence and Children. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated, 2003. Print.
Trend, David. Myth of Media Violence. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2006. Print. Read More
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