Violence in Media

Violence. It’s everywhere, it’s stench lurks in schools, homes, workplaces, even theatres. We are exposed to violence in movies, videogames, and in the actions of violent people. Gory movies such as “300,” and The “Saw” series, depict a multitude of brutal deaths from decapitation to burning alive. These depictions of violence cause controversial discussions about how far we truly can go with what we do in movies, and whether or not it affects us as a people in some way. Where did this fascination with violence derive from? There were times when movies were based off of romance, story, and other things such as comedy and drama. Lately, however, it seems as though everything revolves around violence. Paul G. Mattiuzzi from Everyday Psychology states that, “In the real world, we are fascinated because of the powerful emotions aroused when we consider the fate and fortune of the victim and the pain that remains for their survivors…. We actively seek the clues that tell us that we are safe, that it couldn’t happen to us.” This, essentially, means that humans are in love with violence, the way people love drugs. The thirst of a world of what ifs, could have beens and would bes sucks people into a hole. They are constantly desperate to see a new gruesome way of killing somebody, and the death of a character on a screen gives them the illusion of safety. Lying within this entanglement of illusions and falsehoods is the truth. People are not invincible because they’ve seen the right movies, as all people are mortal. They can die, the same way people on a screen die, albeit, hopefully, in a less painful way.

This mortality can be best illustrated in the effects that violence truly has on a human brain, more specifically, that of a child.Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others, may be more fearful of the world around them and they may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others.” These are all mental effects that an article in Psychology: Science in action highlights as problems violence can cause in the minds of children. Realistically speaking, some of those effects aren’t exactly negative. For example, in a society such as ours, where mass shootings are becoming an all too common sight on media news outlets, is it wrong for children to be fearful? Relations with Russia and Korea are less than stellar, mass shootings happen on an almost monthly basis, with hundreds dead as a result, and Neo-Nazis have marched on towns.

At what point do we help children understand that what the world is, in its current state, is a bit terrifying and that they have every right to worry? At what point does this concern become a downfall? Of course, this isn’t to say that the article is wrong. It brings up excellent points regarding aggression and harm. The exact effects violence has on children are still widely unknown, and aggression towards others may very well be a serious issue society faces in the future. We, as a people, will have to discover ways to overcome these hurdles, but action cannot be taken until we understand the full ramifications of violence. For now, we’ll have to settle for what the New York Times said about it; “Watching violent movies really does make people more aggressive – but only if they have an abrasive personality to start with…”

How serious is the issue? At the Academy of American Studies, 20 students were asked for their opinions on the matter. Of the students asked, 65% related to violence in some way, especially when suicide was brought up. To these students, violence is something they make jokes about while not fearing for their safety. On the other hand, some students argued against violence in the media, saying: “Honestly, violence numbs people… their emotions, it teaches us a world where violence is normal and acceptable. Not exactly picture perfect…” When asked what they thought about times where violence was acceptable, and even glorious, more specifically in Roman times, one student had this to say: “Life will be life. Brutality was a part of life in Rome, in Greece, in China, in countries that controlled incredible portions of the world. That same brutality is gone now, at least, it should be.” A second student vented their frustrations, saying that “Death and violence are a part of life, it is better that people understand that, so they see that actions have consequences, that people are mourned. Sandy Hook, and Columbine were two instances where young children and teens were taken from lives that could have been, but never were. This needs to be covered, so people understand what violence means to the people.” When the student was asked whether or not they believed that violence was the product of seeing other  violence, the student dismissed the question by saying, “Comparing violence to violence is like comparing water to other water, it’s always the same.”

Written by Karlo Krstulovic  


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