Desensitization to Media Violence

Paper Type: 
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  999 Words
Date:  2021-03-08

As the old proverb states, familiarity breeds contempt, addiction of getting too used to something, makes the brain change, in that it gets less sensitive. The emotional responsiveness of an adverse event diminishes after repeated exposure. We live in a society that is paved with many occurrences and situations. They may range from simple environmental and family upbringing to violence in the societies we live in. Some experiences around us or in proximity can be traumatic and cause individuals to develop phobias. When such situations are repeated enough times, there is a possibility of people getting desensitized, a feeling of this is normal or people might consider it a part of healthy societal lives. People get desensitized to violent activities, physical and emotional abuse amongst other evils in the society.

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According to a short period research conducted by Fanti., Vanman, Henrich, and Avraamides (2009), the results stated that when people are exposed to short-time videos or comic violent videos, with time, they, in fact, enjoy the scenes. They are neither sympathetic nor empathetic on the violence victim. Continual watching of such movies will make an individual less concerned or caring even when they hear of violent attacks or terrorism. Human beings are supposed to feel, care and be empathetic when fellow humans suffer in the face of violence. Frank McAndrew, a Psychology Professor at Knox College in Galesburg, McAndrew, who studies aggression in males, stated that the human brain is conditioned to pay attention to occurrences that are shocking and unexpected. Nonetheless, nowadays when it comes to violence in mass killings, it is getting to normalcy is our society

However, that is not the case in especially in most young people who spend countless hours watching movies on violence. It is such media coverage that some get desensitized to the extent they may overlook the effects of violence on victims. Further, in the extreme cases, such desensitization can lead to people being involved in terror groups and are okay with it. People in the United States of America have become a number of the mass shootings according to Congressional Research Report Service 2013. Such mass shootings have resulted in the death of more than 6 million annually. FBI released a report in 2014 stating that mass shootings have increased greatly since 2007. While that is not normal, people have been desensitized, and it 's hard to express compassion and empathy for the family of violence victims. It is inhuman when people get to that point of being insensitive to the pain and suffering of others as argued by Guo, Zheng, Wang, Zhu, Li, Wang ...and Yang, 2013). Long to be cognitive of the magnitude and extent suffering causes to the individual. They further suggested that desensitized people take long to be cognitive of the scope and extent of distress suffering people undergo. Normally functioning society, the people are guided by feelings of care and concern for others. This was evidenced by people who got engaged in violent games. That is the reason such ought not to be introduced to children at a younger age as according to research, such violent games and videos increase aggression and violence amongst even teenagers.

Soldiers, according to Serrato 2014, are desensitized through brutality cruelty and had exercises like pushups and press ups. They harden and can execute their duties even if it involves killing for the safety of the community or as a defense mechanism. Although their process of desensitization has a goal and is intentional, the effects are similar to those who are desensitized by chance. In fact, soldiers use video games to practice. After completing their training, they are desensitized to killing. Technologically made videos lead to total desensitization of the soldiers. Young American African youth has been desensitized almost to the same degree and that the reason the number of them involved in violent activities is increasing as suggested by Gaylord-Harden, Dickson and Pierre (2015). In any case, these youths are more in gang activities compared to their American counterparts who do not experience such levels of violence and abuse exposure, especially in their younger and teenage lives.

Racial discrimination has also been considered as a course of desensitization among people in various races across the world. For instance in the United States of America, the colored people were considered a minority group and inferior while the whites a superior race. It can be noted that when these colored people became victims of circumstances in difference forms of abuse including physical and sexual abuse, the whites were less sensitive and concerned. Their minds had been programmed to think such people deserved that horrible and inhuman treatment. However, if their fellow white is hurt, they would experience the pain and empathize. Selective sensitivity as a result of racial discrimination has had negative implications, especially on the victims.

In conclusion, according to Romer, Jamieson, Bushman, Bleakley, Wang, Langleben, and Jamieson 2014, desensitization affects people across all ages including parents and their children as well. The better approach to avoid emotional unresponsiveness is to prevent such violence videos. Aggression, especially in teenage boys, could be reduced if they were made aware of the consequences. Further, desensitization is a slow process that occurs after repeated times of adverse situations.


Congressional Research Report Service 2013 of the United States of America.

Fanti, K. A., Vanman, E., Henrich, C. C., & Avraamides, M. N. (2009). Desensitization to media violence over a short period of time. Aggressive Behavior, 35(2), 179-187.

Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Dickson, D., & Pierre, C. (2015). Profiles of Community Violence Exposure Among African American Youth An Examination of Desensitization to Violence Using Latent Class Analysis. Journal of interpersonal violence, 0886260515572474.

Guo, X., Zheng, L., Wang, H., Zhu, L., Li, J., Wang, Q., ... & Yang, Z. (2013). Exposure to violence reduces empathetic responses to others' pain. Brain and cognition, 82(2), 187-191.

Romer, D., Jamieson, P. E., Bushman, B. J., Bleakley, A., Wang, A., Langleben, D., & Jamieson, K. H. (2014). Parental desensitization to violence and sex in movies. Pediatrics, peds-2014.

Serrato, M. (2014). Virtual Technology Keeps Soldiers Closer to Home. Anthropology Now, 6(3), 88-95.

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Desensitization to Media Violence. (2021, Mar 08). Retrieved from

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