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The prevalence of public violence today raises a lot of concern in the society on who is to blame. There are fears and expectations that proliferate in research and literature about the influence of media especially on young people, besides the issue of delinquency. Part of these includes violence and aggressive behaviour in young children. The moral degeneration among the youth today can considerably be blamed on the type of content availed to them by the media. This is arguably because the media fashions the way we think. This can as well be seconded by the fact that nowadays, a significant amount of time is dedicated to the use of the media, which is prone to set an agenda for discussions, infusion of perceptions, and influence on personal relations. It is so surprising how deviance has become so mainstream nowadays. Contents deemed inappropriate for the youth just a few years ago have now been completely embraced and widely broadcasted to the public during the watershed period with little or no censorship at all. These have largely contributed to the augment in social vices such as violence, rapes, deplorable attitudes, insolence and rebellion that are witnessed in the world today. News of gunmen shooting such as the Aurora and Newton killings are becoming quite rampant these days, (Green 1994). Although there are claims that other factors too are responsible for breeding public violence, the adverse impacts of the media are direct and explicit and should not be disregarded.
Media exposure is equally beneficial and adverse depending on the content consumed. A little introspection reveals the actions, decisions and choices that are commonly opted for as a result of media exposure. For most people, the mass media is the primary source of social reality that forms and maintains social identity. The daily social life is powerfully patterned by the routine use of media and its infused contents which shape the way lifestyle is predisposed, dialogue is generated through the use of diverse topics and models of conduct are presented for all contingencies (Mc Quail, 2009).
According to Jamie Foxx, the depiction of violence in films is highly influential on viewers. This he said in regards to his starring role in the violent film, ‘Django Unchained’. He is equally featured in the ‘Demand a Plan to End Gun Violence PSA’, which has elicited a satirical video illustrating the dilemma of Hollywood in production of films with gun violence and their bid to end gun violence. This shows a hypocritical nature of celebrities supporting tougher gun control measures while, in reality, their livelihoods are dependent upon acting as a trigger- happy character (Keegan, 2013).
The film industry is, however, not entirely to blame for the rampant violence. The music industry is also of contributory blame especially for acknowledging sordid lyrics as freedom of expression. For example, such violent lyrics as “I hate you! I hate you! I swear to God I hate you…Bleed.” by famous rapper Eminem, could be playing on a child’s music player or phone. Evidently, this alarming problem is bound to generate violent effects on a child. Young people often depend on the media for gratification and are subsequently unconsciously influenced by the exposure (Paterson, 2010). Peer pressure and the environmental exposure of a child have the potential harm of engendering violence. These include domestic violence at home or street attacks.
The modern society today charges the media with the task of raising up and nurturing the children. Consequently, the youth are vastly prone to moral degeneration among other social vices which adversely impacts on their lives and the community around them. Despite the assertions that some factors are responsible for initiating public violence, the media has a big role to play. After all, exposure is the ultimate generator of the virtues and vices portrayed in individuals.
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