Violent video games can lead to aggressive and violent behavior in children and adolescents. “Violent media increase aggression by teaching observers how to aggress, by priming aggressive cognition (including previously learned aggressive scripts and aggressive perceptual schemata), by increasing arousal, or by creating an aggressive state” (Anderson and Bushman 355). As more children are becoming exposed violence in video games in the recent years, violence in schools and other locations where children are prominent has increased. “A national crime victimization survey compiled and maintained by the United States Department of Justice, shows that overall crime rates in United States society have fallen. Simultaneously, school- based studies reveal that many violent behaviors have increased among children and adolescents” (“Causes of School Violence” 1). Exposure to violence in video games can lead to aggressive behavior, desensitization, and an increase in crimes committed by children and teens in our society.
Recently though, due to horrific school shootings and record sales of violent video games such as the Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty series, video games as a whole have been put under a microscope. The question now is: Are violent video games really such a significant factor when it comes to youth violence? The current research and information points to no. Although some research reveals that violent video games may cause temporary aggression, there has been no evidence that it causes violent crimes such as assault or murder. Christopher Ferguson, an associate professor at Stetson University and researcher into the effect media has on young children wrote an article titles“ Video Games: The Latest Scapegoat for Violence”. In his article, he states:
Concerns about the effect of media violence on children extends back at least to the beginning of the mass media, with the issue raised with reference to films, radio, television, comic books, and so on. As technology brings new types of media to the fore, the issue shifts to depictions of violence in these new media. Both popular sources and scholarly address this issue, asking in effect how violent video games change children’s behavior and make them more violent, assuming that it is believed that this is the case.
Violence in the Media America has become the most violent nation in the industrialized world. The many violent images seen in movies and on television on a daily basis, though not the only cause, are a strong contributing factor. There are those that feel the point-of-view from which the audience views the violence varies directly with the way the scene affects them. A film's perspective determines the audience's reaction. In "slasher" films, for example, the point of view shifts between the attacker and the victim.
Violence in the Media Gina Marchetti, in her essay "Action-Adventure as Ideology," argues that action- adventure films implicitly convey complex cultural messages regarding American values and the "white American status quo. " She continues to say that all action-adventure movies have the same basic structure, including plot, theme, characterization, and iconography. As ideology, this film genre tacitly expresses social norms, values, and morals of its time. Marchetti's essay, written in 1989, applies to films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Rambo: First Blood II. However, action-adventure films today seem to be straying farther away from her generalizations about structure, reflecting new and different cultural norms in America.
Aside from the reducing rates of violent crimes, adolescents and young adults in the United States experience over 6 million crimes annually (US Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2001). As the previous statement seems to be contradictory, it is found through research that the media plays one of the largest contributions to this annual crime rate. This is interesting that the rate is reducing; yet the annual crime is so large. According to sources, Screen-based media violence, such as television, movies, the Internet, and video games, is the most dominant and common to influence adolescents. As this is very plausible due to the fact of how influential adolescents are at that age and that their main source of the news is TV or video games. Some of the projected mechanisms of influence are similar to those believed to be active in exposure to community violence. These are much like the evidence and reinforcement of violent actions. Desensitization to real-life consequences of violence along with increased pro-violent attitudes, and the modifications in cognitive processing (Huesmann & Malamuth, 1986; Rule & Ferguson, 1986; Cantor, 2000; Strasburger & Wilson, 2002; Funk, 2003). The demonstration and reinforcement of violent actions through the media is placed when a child watches a television show that has the main character shot numerous times and never dies. Not only that, but he can kill as many people as he pleases for a “good purpose”, and somehow manage to live the “happily ever after” ending. This is altering the perception of the real-life consequences of violence and causes adolescents to perceive that behavior as acceptable.
Over 97% of America’s youth play videogames, with many of the “most played” games showcasing violent content. And by a 2008 estimate, they are playing them for an average of 13.2 hours per week. The rise in dramatically violent games connects in some ways to the real world. Many studies show an association between violent games and violent behavior and have many people questioning the effects of illustrative violence on young minds and then again there are others, which conclude otherwise. Video games have only existed since the 1970s, so there is inconclusive evidence for or against their violent effects, than violence portrayed on television, and even those effects aren’t proven.
Violence in the Media What makes the Roadrunner and Coyote cartoons so funny and memorable? Of course, the explosions, hits and falls the Coyote takes while in pursuit of the Roadrunner. Pediatrics, a pediatrician read magazine, wrote an article on the influence violence, such as that in cartoons and other forms of media, has on children from ages 2-18 titled “Media Violence.” “Although recent school shootings have prompted politicians and the general public to focus their attention on the influence of media violence, the medical community has been concerned with this issue since the 1950s,” says American Academy of Pediatrics, the author of the article in November of 2001. The article calls for a need for all pediatricians to take a stand on violence in the media and help to make sure their patients are not influenced negatively mentally or physically by violence in the media, using multiple statistics from many publications.
It is not uncommon to hear others claim that violence in the media is directly correlated to violence within youth. However, the article “Violent Video Games and Movies Causing Violent Behavior” coauthored by Eugene Beresin and Steve Schlozman exposes the truth; the concept of violence in media relating to violence in real life does not have scientific backing. Nonetheless, it has been shown that children prone to violence chose to play engage in violent media sources at a higher level than those with a less violent history. The article “Violent Video Games and Movies Causing Violent Behavior” successfully and convincingly uses Aristotle’s and Toulmin’s concept of argument to state that there is no evidence that violence within media directly affects children.
Violence in the Media In my essay I will be examining the controversy of violence levels in the media. Although there are many people who express the opinion that there is way too much violence in television for example, there are just as many who feel differently. Without viewer statistics, television would not be what it is. The viewers choose what they want to watch and that is taken into consideration.