If a child acted violently towards someone else, like if he or she punched another child, there would be consequences for that child. Perhaps detention or grounding, but then their act of violence is mostly forgotten about. Rarely do the parents or school officials investigate why the child acted violently in the first place. If asked, the adults might say something like “the child probably watches a violent television show, like Powerangers, or he/she plays violent video games, like Grand Theft Auto.” Most people would consider that an acceptable reason. It is the norm to blame “the media” for everything that is wrong with our culture. But the question raised now is why; why does our society claim that violence in the media affects the behaviors of children?
The term “the media” is somewhat overused in our culture. It is a vague term we use to include any and all ways that messages are portrayed to us, usually in technology. Dr. Cyndy Scheibe, a professor at Ithaca College and media literacy expert, says that media is “messages conveyed through visuals, language, and/or sound that are mass produced for a mass audience. [Media is also] mediated by a form of technology and the producer of the message is not in the same place as the receiver of the message” (Scheibe). This means that media would include things like television, movies, the internet and print. Media doesn’t include things like text messages because they are not intended for mass audiences. For the purposes of this essay, “media” is mostly going to refer to television and video games.
Media violence can also be broken down to a specific definition. Dr. Scheibe describes the characteristics of media violence as frequent and pervasive (it appears on ...
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Browne KD; Hamilton-Giachritsis C. “The Influence of Violent Media on Children and Adolescents: a Public-Health Approach”. Lancet 365.9460 (2005): pp. 702-710. Print.
Jenkins, Henry. Fans, Bloggers, and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture. New York: NYU Press, 2006. Print.
-----------------, ed. Congressional Testimony on Media Violence. n.d. MIT Communications Forum.
Olson, Cheryl K. “It’s Perverse, But It’s Also Pretend”. New York Times. 28 June 2011. Print.
Scheibe, Cyndy. Media Literacy and Popular Culture CLTC 11000-01. Ithaca College Textor 101. 25 January 2012. Class lecture.
Walma van der Molen JH. “Violence and Suffering in Television News: Toward a Broader Conception of Harmful Television Content for Children”. Pediatrics 113.6 (2004): pp. 1771-1775. Print.
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