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Violence has existed in the world just as long as humans have. It is not a new concept to anybody and people should not be shocked when it occurs. It is in our nature for some odd reason. Following numerous mass shootings such as Columbine, Sandy Hook and the Batman Theatre, society’s attention has been focused on whether or not media violence plays a major role when such horrific tragedies occur. Most people describe media violence as a visual portrayal or act of physical aggression by one human or human like character against another. It is said to cause amplified physical aggression to people, particularly our youth. It has the ability to create thoughts that make people believe that aggressive behavior may be the right way to go about things in certain situations. While there are many that believe that research has linked media violence with aggressive behavior, there are others that claim that there is not enough conclusive evidence to link the two directly. The media has gotten to the point where they sensationalize violence in order to draw interest from people. Their only goal is to get consumers to buy their product. While consumers continue to purchase and idolize these items, the more successful they will become and the more talked about media violence will become. In this essay, I will specifically detail how violent movies, video games and music have little harm on our society today.
It is no secret that violent movies get your blood pumping, however, the theory that they make people want to harm others is not entirely correct. It may very well cause some to be more aggressive but only those who have had psychological problems to begin with. Studies done by Dr. Nelly Alia-Klein from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York can prove this in ways. In this study, two entirely different groups of people were taken and shown violent videos and images in order to see how their brain responded. The first group was filled with more aggressive humans while the other contained the least aggressive. As the first study concluded, it was discovered that each person’s reaction was dependent on their original aggression level. Three days was all it took to complete this study. On day one, their brains were monitored as they were told to watch violent scenes, emotional scenes on day 2 and nothing at all on day 3. According to Alia-Klein, on day one while viewing violent scenes, the more aggressive group had more activity in the orbital-frontal cortex, which controls emotion related decision making and self-control. These aggressive subjects claimed to have felt more inspired, driven, and less upset than the group containing the less aggressive subjects while watching violent instead of only emotional scenes. This seems to hold up to be true as blood pressure decreased at an efficient level while blood pressure rose for the less aggressive. As day 3 approached and the subjects were shown nothing at all, aggressive subjects had abnormally high brain activity in a part of the brain that is known to be active when nothing is being done. This may suggest that different people have different brains and they are affected in different ways. Everybody is unique in some sort of way and that goes for the same with brains. People function and think in different ways. It is what makes our world so unique. Movies may very well impact some people in a horrible way but that does not go for every single person. Dr. Alia-Klein came to a conclusion that “if people have aggressive traits to begin with, they will process violent media in a different way as compared to non-aggressive people. Hopefully people can take this study into consideration and implement it into their education of the youth.
From Columbine’s Dylan Klebold, to Sandy Hook’s Adam Lanza to a few others, they all shared violent video games in common. Without any credible statistics or facts, many link the fact that the exposure to the violence in the video games they played led to the idea that this causes them to be mass murderers. Like I said, this is the conclusion that many come to when no facts or studies are provided. Studies by Michael R. Ward, economist at the University of Texas, Arlington, states that the youth who play violent games do become slightly more aggressive amongst their peers, however, it is not conclusive that it will cause a violent crime. In fact, he says that he doesn’t even know if there is a perfect study that could connect or disconnect the two. Ward, just like anyone who plays violent video games such as Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto knows that you gain a bit of aggression from the game but not enough where you can blame mass murders on it. In a study done by Iowa State psychologist Christopher Bartlett, 47 subjects played Mortal Combat for 15 minute intervals. Following the session, the subjects were tested to see if they were either physically or psychologically aroused. Bartlett came to the conclusion that the subjects who played the game were more aggressive than they were to begin. However, this does not mean that they are permanently more aggressive but only for a short period of time after they are finished. It is virtually impossible to say right now that a person playing a violent video game directly correlates to him/her committing a violent crime. People need to understand that there are many more factors that contribute to someone committing a violent crime other than playing a violent video game. Mental Health, isolation, and even bullying need to be considered far before video games are. The fact that it is being researched shows that it may be a problem, but at this point in time, it is a much smaller problem than many other problems that we have involving this. In another study my Michael R. Ward, he examined violent video game sales for the month and watch if the crime rates increased at all. It turned out that at the conclusion of this study, it was found that as violent video game sales increased, crime rates decreased. Now it is hard to look too hard into that study because it doesn’t tell the whole story but it does give statistical evidence. At the end of the day, if parents do their job, they should be able to monitor whether or not their child is acting differently or picking up any bad traits due to the violent media they may consume.
The final area where people like to pick from is the music industry. There are a lot of believers that think that violent lyrics/music leads to violent crime. Since Rap music really came to fruition, many people claimed it to be a terrible influence and harmful to listeners. Dylan Klebold, whom I mentioned earlier was not only accused of committing this crime based on playing violent video games but also because he listened to Marilyn Manson Music which tended to be pretty heavy and dark. It seems that the media never tells the full story as Klebold had serious psychological problems throughout his entire life. Music can be so influential and is a great outlet for people to release their feelings. For people to attempt to trash it is sad to see. People need to take a step back, evaluate this whole situation, and stop taking the easy way out by putting the blame on media. Music has been around longer than many people know and I can tell you that it has not been killing people. Criminal history, family life, and mental health need to be the topics we address first when speaking on this. These have some actual reason to them. I have listened to “violent” music before and often listen to “street” music and the idea never comes across my brain that I want to hurt people. People who have this problem are already dealing with some sort of mental illness. What about book? Books have been around forever and nobody has ever said that suspense/thriller novel will make someone go hurt somebody. It is always put on the media because it is relatively new to society and it is the easiest to blame.
All in all, people in today’s world need to realize that it is not the media that causes violence in today’s society. It goes much deeper than that. Assumptions are continually made and based on what a person may like to do, whether it be listening to heavy music or playing Call of Duty or watching Kill Bill. The judgement needs to stop. Media is a great way for people nowadays to express how they feel or to cope with their feelings and it seems that it is continually depicted in a dark way. Media does not have a direct link with violence in the real world and people need to stop painting the picture like it is.
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