Violence in the Media
Some believe that violence in the media is to blame for violence in people, but that argument is undermined by the realization that violence existed long before video games and television. In fact, violence has actually been steadily decreasing since these things have been growing in popularity. Critics of violent media seem to long for the “good old days”; a time before there was violence in the media. These critics fail to acknowledge that those “good old days” were actually far more violent than today. While violence is still present in modern society, it pales in comparison to the violence that was ...view middle of the document...
“Homicide rates in France, Germany, Italy and Japan either failed to change with increasing television ownership in the same period or actually declined, and American homicide rates have more recently been sharply declining”(30). Despite the growth of violent movies, video games, and television shows, or perhaps because of it, society as a whole has become a far less violent place than it has ever been before.
Proponents of censorship assert that violence in the media causes violent behavior in children and young adults. As evidence, they point to things like the Littleton shooters’ history of playing violent video games and movies and the similarity of the shootings to certain games. A study conducted by two psychologists at the University of Michigan is often cited as having “shown that children exposed to violent programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life than children not so exposed” (31). More in depth studies have contradicted these findings. Another group did a study which followed 875 children from age eight through eighteen in upstate New York. The group concluded that “the correlation-0.31-would mean television accounted for 10 percent of the influence that lead to this behavior” (31). It should also be known that this “only turned up in one of three measures of aggression; the assessment of students by their peers” (31). This proves that violence begins through “the brutalization of children by their parents or their peers” (30). Attributing violent behavior to media violence is an example of false cause. Politicians say that violence stems from media violence, but to this day there is no solid evidence of this. By pointing their fingers at the media politicians avoid confronting more controversial topics such as gun control, domestic violence, and child abuse. Empirical evidence supports the theory that violence isn’t learned through observing mock violence, but through real life experiences. Comprehensive, long-term studies have demonstrated that violent behavior is far more closely correlated to violence in the home than to media influence. While it is much easier to scapegoat television and movies, children model far more of their behavior on their parents and real-life role models. Even what little correlation between violent media and violent behavior has been demonstrated to exist does not prove cause, it is equally possible that children exposed to violence in real life are simply more attracted to violent media. It could be argued that media violence could even have value as a substitute for real-life violence in responding to the violent urges that are people...