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“A young man in Alabama in 2003 was charged with murder after shooting three men, including two police officers, a crime he attributed to the violent video game ‘Grand Theft Auto’”. Many children and teenagers watch violent video games that can affect their behavior and actions around others. Violent video games and other uncontrollable content are deplorable influences on today’s youth. The controversy began in 1907 when Chicago was the “first American city to implement a motion-picture censorship board”(Staff). A censorship board creates questions and concerns for people in society and acts as an ignition to start worrying about violence in the media. More than 100 years later, the government has not censored violent content that affects children and young adults’ behavior. There have been rating systems and recommendations on violent media. However, parents will not acknowledge them and see what makes their children happy. Parental control over children has decreased and therefore gives children the freedom to watch violent media that will harm them psychologically. However, many people feel their right to free speech and expression is taken away when certain media is restricted. The debate of free expression versus censorship for the benefit of today’s youth is a controversial topic that is discussed and fought over today. The government should restrict certain content to remove violence from the media because violence has detrimental effects on children’s behaviors, feelings, and attitudes, although some people may believe censorship goes against the First Amendment.
The government should restrict specific content to remove violence from the media because of particular factors, such as the environment, money, and time. Even though rating systems have been placed for movies and content released to the public, many parents do not acknowledge them and, they are careless about what their children watch for instance, “A study in the U.S. Journal of Pediatrics found about 12 percent of children aged between 10 and 14 watch R-rated movies” (Sheehan). This shows that parents and movie theaters are not careful about what movie a child wants to see. Rating systems are not enough to keep children away from violence and inappropriate content. Today, children have access to illegal websites that can cause health problems in the future. For example, violence can affect all aspects of a child’s life, including health:
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded: ‘The strength of the correlation… is greater than that of calcium intake and bone mass, lead ingestion and lower IQ, condom non-use and sexually acquired human immunodeficiency virus infection, or environmental tobacco smoke and lung cancer—associations clinicians accept and on which preventive medicine is based without question’ (Ruschmann, “Violent Entertainment is” 33).
Children and parents do not realize that violent content causes many problems over time as they watch more violence in the media. The quote shows the different side effects and possible long-term effects that violent media can create when viewed from a young age. Violent media from a young age can result in detrimental effects and can cause the rest of his/her life not to be a failure. Health and education will be factors affected by violent video games. The correlation between health and violent video games is robust according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Parental control and discipline are needed in the household which can help prevent health issues in the future for today’s youth. Movie directors and video game producers make a significant amount of money and will do anything to continue the growth. Violent content sells because of the addiction and attachment children have. Many parents and guardians are not worried because of the propaganda behind marketing the product. One example that proves this is, “The various entertainment media industries have lots of money to spend on trying to convince the general public and political leaders that there is nothing to worry about” (Anderson). Media industries use propaganda and bribes to convince society that violent video games are not harmful and will not affect their behavior. The false news and marketing prevent parents from stopping their children from purchasing violent content and video games. Money brings the worst in everyone and can cause a child’s life to suffer. Children see the violent media all over the world, and media industries will convince parents using the money to bring in profit. Media industries will ruin children’s future to build a business and prosper. Time, money, and the cruel society environment we live in are just some of the reasons why the government should restrict specific content from the media.
The government needs to censor particular content from the media to remove violence because today’s youth needs to be able to focus on their education, have a healthy lifestyle, and be safe in their community. A healthy lifestyle is significant to children today. They need to be able to have a healthy lifestyle and watch the appropriate content for their age. However, specific content interrupts a child’s healthy lifestyle. The first indication of this is in 1982, “The National Institute of Mental Health publishes a review of the effects of mass media violence, citing the organization’s concerns for its effects on children’s psychological health. It concludes that a correlation exists between exposure to televised violence and children’s aggressive behavior” (Staff). Violence in the media affects children psychologically. Violent video games cause children to become addicted, resulting in loss of focus and sleep deprivation. The loss of sleep results loss of concentration and to become less aware of their surroundings. Violent video games and other media is a distraction from other important factors in life, such as education. The addiction causes children to have mental conditions, which can become very serious if not treated. Safety is another important factor that is jeopardized and at risk when children are addicted to violent media. One good example of this is, “Research findings reported by the Australian Psychology Society suggest children who are exposed to a lot of on-screen violence are more likely to behave and think aggressively and have less empathy for victims of violence” (Sheehan). Safety of the child and the children around him have lives that are at risk because of how the violence affects a child’s behavior. Violent media causes a change in attitude and behavior that can be dangerous to people around him/her. Safety of other children is at risk. The government should restrict violent media to protect society from mental conditions that put others in danger. Addiction creates temper and the loss to think correctly, which can alter the way he/she looks at people and the law. The best way to look at this is through the education factor.
Parents want the best education for their child and they, want them to prosper. Parents want their child to be successful and, concentrate on their future. However, violent content causes children to become less focused on studying and worrying about their future and more violent and careless. Aggression and change in behavior create a whole new perspective on the child’s life. For example, “Once they [researchers] discovered observational learning takes place not only when youth see how people behave in the real world but also when they see characters in films and on television, many began to focus on exactly how watching such violent stories increases later aggression” (Anderson). Researchers have studied violent behavior and have observed that violent media creates behavior that affects education and their personality. Children learn from what they see on television and the internet. They will assimilate the actions and attitudes of the violent characters. Teenagers will be careless about their actions that affect society and their education. Violence in the media should be restricted to create a successful life for today’s youth. Education, health, and safety are important factors that need to be kept on track by parents and guardians, in which violent content in the media should not interfere in a child’s life.
Conversely, the government restricting certain content to remove violence would create mutiny and society to go against government laws. Some people in society believe censorship goes against the First Amendment. One notable example is, “But a federal judge in 2006 ruled that ‘depictions of violence are entitled to full constitutional protection,’ and that Louisiana’s law was an ‘invasion of First Amendment rights’ of the makers, sellers, and buyers of video games” (“Media Violence”). Censorship is not considered unconstitutional because it is about protecting the young minds. Certain content should be restricted to be beneficial for the viewers and protect the education of children and teenagers. Free speech is allowed in many movies, but certain content should be restricted to protect children. The right to free speech and free expression has to be controlled and regulating. It is a right that should be used wisely and to control violence in the media. Many scientists and researchers go against the notion that violence causes a change in behavior, attitudes, and feelings. This can be seen when “Kutner and Olson also suggest that playing video games can help players later in life. They cite studies that indicate playing video games helped children become better decision-makers and enabled women to hone skills that improved their performance as surgeons, scientists, and engineers” (Ruschmann “Critics Wrongly Blame” 83). Albeit, the violence level of the video game is the main factor that causes teen aggression. Kutner and Olson could have played a video game rated PG, which can be educational and beneficial. The violence in the video game or content on the internet has to affect a child’s perspective on his/her surroundings. It is true that many video games are educational and can help a child develop an engineer-like mind. However, many video games are violent ,and those should be restricted to remove violence; not all video games are violent. Children will benefit from censorship of violent content, where in fact, the media industry will suffer ,and business will become bankrupt. Many people in our community believe that some violence is mistaken for entertainment, in spite of it damaging a child psychologically. One piece of evidence that points to this is, “According to Kutner and Olson, critics soon attacked them: ‘Victorian society blamed juvenile crime on these cheap publications as well as on the penny gaffs [low-class theatrical productions], and paid little attention to the contributions of poverty, urban migration, and prostitution’” (Ruschmann “Critics Wrongly Blame” 79). Some entertainment can be seen as violence because of the content it shows the viewers. To adults, violence is seen as action and a thriller. On the other hand, children who see the same “entertainment” will learn from it and use it in their life. The restriction of certain specific to remove violence is primarily for the protection of children and teenagers today. The government should restrict certain content to remove violence because of specific factors that affect children, such as health, education, and safety. Children today are addicted to violent video games, which can have detrimental effects on children mentally and physically. An excellent example of this is, “In 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) concluded that playing violent games accounted for a 13 to 22 percent increase in teenagers’ violent behavior — a risk factor equivalent to smoking, which accounts for a 14 percent increase in lung cancer”. The quote explains that playing violent video games can result in violent behavior. The violent behavior resulting from violent video games is equivalent to smoking. This statistic is dire and can be a persuading argument to restrict certain content. Mental behavior can change, as a teenager is more addicted to violent content. A teenager goes through a growth phase, which already has many hormonal and emotional imbalances. The violent video games and other content contributes to the change in behavior in a poor way. Health is just one of the fundamental reasons to censor certain content.
Safety is another key factor that is manipulated by violence. Children and teenagers need to be safe when on social media and video games. For example, “Michael Carneal, who fatally shot three classmates at his high school in West Paducah, Kentucky, in 1997, had watched The Basketball Diaries, a film that contains a dream scene in which a character carries out a mass shooting at his school” (Ruschmann ‘Violent Entertainment is” 29). One child influenced by violence in the media puts his peers and the children around him in danger. The movie seen by the child caused three innocent children to be killed ,and this jeopardizes safety in school. Violence creates an unsafe environment in which a child should feel safe, school. The mass shooting shown in the movie is fiction. However, children see it and learn from it. The death of the three innocent children was because of a child watching an R-rated movie with no parental supervision. Safety is critical to parents and administrators in a public place, but it is being jeopardized by violence in the media. Violence in the media also affects children and teenagers’ education. Violent video games create addiction which results in no concentration on studying or worrying about exams.
Violence damages brain function and can control hormonal changes in the children, which can interfere with their academics. One reason is that in December 2011, “Indiana University School of Medicine researchers conduct an experimental study that shows a direct relationship between playing violent video games for an extended time and a subsequent change in brain regions associated with cognitive function and emotional control” (Staff). The correlation between violent video games and hormonal and emotional imbalance is powerful. The emotional imbalance causes teenagers to lose focus and concentration on their education. The loss of concentration on his/her academics creates an unsuccessful future for the teenager. Education, safety, and health are the most persuasive reasons to support the censorship of specific content on the media to remove violence.In summation, even though some people may believe censorship is unconstitutional, restriction of particular content to remove violence has detrimental effects on children and teenagers’ health and education. Education and health are essential to children ,and they need to be monitored for a successful future. If the government leaves the laws on violence in the media, children would have an unsuccessful future and would have many psychological problems. Although some video games are educational, many violent video games are violent and have inappropriate content which should be prohibited from being published. Parents and administrators should be cautious about what they show to their children because it can have horrible effects on a child psychologically. In the next decade, the government should restrict violence from the media to create a safe and well-educated environment.
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