Media Violence and Its Effect on Teenagers

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The issue on media violence and whether or not it leads to our youth becoming delinquent can be traced back to the 1950s. In 1954 the US Senate held a formal hearing on the issue and it was highly debated back and forth and still is today (Strasburger and Donnerstein 2013). The key question in the middle of this debate is: Does violence in video games create real-world violence? Are our youth affected by the violence portrayed in the various media available in our society? This topic cannot be answered simply for it is more complex and as previously stated highly debatable despite decades of research. Social scientists have been studying the effects of media violence on behavior for a long time. Video games in particular have been studied since the 1980s and are significant now due to the realistic graphics and increased gore in them (Carey 2013). Video games offer a type of virtual reality in which gamers actively participate in, some being very hostile. Yet there still lies the question of whether or not playing violent video games causes real life violence to occur. There are cases where they have tried to argue that violent video games are the reason to such violence. In the case of the Newton, Connecticut shooting at the elementary, there were reports that the shooter, Adam Lanza, was obsessed with violent video games. Another massacre in 2011, Norway shooter Anders Breivik claimed to have trained for the killings by playing “Call of Duty” (Huff Post 2013). The Columbine High school shooting and Movie Theater in Aurora, Colorado involved young men who played violent video games and brought their dark fantasy to reality when they committed the shootings. Then there is the tragic case of an 8-year-old boy who fatally shot his... ... middle of paper ... ...nt video games is linked to an increase in violent acts by youth offenders. Saying that violence in fiction leads to real life violence is like saying if you watch Harry Potter you’ll become a wizard. There is just not enough concrete evidence to support video game violence as being the key to increased violence among our youth. Research should focus on what specific factors drive a person to commit such acts of violence and to what role does media violence play in it (Vasilis, Kambam, and Bender 2013). Video game violence is just a tiny piece of the puzzle in understanding violence within our society. These games only exist because society praises violence and helps in the creation and distribution of these games (Shaw 2013). Looking around the environment that we live in, we are surrounded by various types of violence every day and that’s where the problem lies.
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