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Mass Media and the Impact of Violent Imagery on Teens - Essay Example

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In the report “Mass Media and the Impact of Violent Imagery on Teens” the author debates over the negative effects of mass media on teen behavior. This has become so shrill and politically charged that it can be difficult to maintain an even-handed, objective perspective…
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Mass Media and the Impact of Violent Imagery on Teens
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Mass Media and the Impact of Violent Imagery on Teens

Download file to see previous pages... Within this context, one must learn to see media as more than just entertainment. It is also a library, a channel of communication and a means of self-betterment. In other words, teenagers must be guided toward a better understanding of mass media specifically because its function in society is subjective and undefined. Teenagers who are guided toward a broad utilitarian view of the media are more apt to use it responsibly and are less likely to exhibit negative behavior than those who are exposed indiscriminately to violent video games, programmes and films. Those who criticise the culture of violence that unquestionably proceeds from films, television, the Internet and video games have quite successfully leveraged the impressionable vulnerability of youth. However, this ideological position, which is now widely accepted, underestimates the capacity of teenagers for independent thought and reason. ‘The systematic derision of children’s resistant capacities can be seen as part of a broader conservative project to position the more contemporary and challenging aspects of the mass media, rather than other social factors, as the major threat to social stability today’ (Gerbner 1993, p. 139). This tendency to emphasize the negative end of the spectrum, which is apparently enhanced every time a young person perpetrates an act of violence, is the rallying cry of interest groups and politicians seeking to prove a point. These factions have benefited from the published opinions of scholars and theorists who warn against the terrible residual effect of violence in the media on young people. George Gerbner, a communications professor, and social scientist, wrote that while there have been bloodier eras in human history, none have been so filled with violent imagery as the present: ‘We are awash in a tide of violent representations the world has never seen. There is no escape from the massive invasion of colorful mayhem into the homes and cultural life of ever larger areas of the world’ (Gerbner 1993, p. 139). Gerbner and others associate violence with power, the acquisition of which is of keen interest to people of all ages. For teenagers, exercising power in the ‘virtual’ world of video games is an elaboration of personal power that is otherwise beyond the reach of young people. Gerbner argues that violent behavior among young people should be studied from the standpoint of the ‘cradle-to-grave’ violent imagery with which young people are bombarded. It is not perceived, isolated causes of violent acts that should be considered, Gerbner claims, but other less apparent factors to which pervasive media violence has contributed. He holds that the uniquely modern phenomenon of media-produced violence has engendered unconscious, deeply rooted feelings of vulnerability and personal insecurity and that it is this, more than anything, that produces aggressive and violent behavior in teenagers (Gerbner 1993, p. 139). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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