This is the gospel in the media today. No kidding, violence is literally everywhere. It is in video games, movies, cartoons, music, web, daily news, magazines and even certain commercials. To add salt to injury, violence is gradually becoming a part of us while it shouldnt be. Its prevalence is growing by day and it is becoming harder to avoid it in the society. The modern day world is punctuated with explosion of technology and the 24/7 access to media that is associated with it. The million dollar question is; what is the impact of such especially on our kids? The sure answer is; we do know it is an area of concern and a major issue to our kids and teens but we dont know the precise impact it has on them.
Whereas some of you will support such violence on the basis that it is just pure entertainment meant for fun and not to teach violence to kids, some of you condemn it vehemently. So who is really right? This paper is going to expound on the effects of violent video games and movies.
To get a clear picture of this situation at hand, I will digress for a moment and start by defining the term hobby. What is a hobby and why do people engage in hobbies? A hobby is defined as a regular activity purely done for enjoyment purposes during ones leisure time. So taking this into consideration, what has violence got to do with enjoyment and how exactly does fighting, injuring and killing amuse someone? Well, unless the person is psychopathic, I fail to see the enjoyment affiliated with violence; and with that being said, my stand on the matter is crystal.
From the existing research media violence is pervasive. Past studies estimate that about 90% of movies, 68% of video games, 60% of TV shows and 15% of all music videos contain some depiction of violence; and kids are exposed to a whole lot of them. Thanks to technology that has seen to the easy access to media information anytime, every time. As a matter of fact, accessing these media is only a click away. A recent study found that kids as young as 8 years are spending nearly seven and a half hours per day with media. This is far more time than the average time they do spend with friends in schools or family at home. What do these figures tell us? That soon kids will fully replace family and friends time with media which in this is violence oriented (Berlatsky, 2012).
While experts agree that there is not a single factor that can cause a non-violent person to act in an aggressive manner; heavy exposure to violent media can definitely be a risk factor to violent behavior. This is because the more a child is exposed to violence, the more he/she gets the impression that it is an okay of life and that nothing is wrong with it. Therefore, even as a parent it would be so hard to change this perspective. Children who are exposed to multiple violence factors including domestic violence in the home setting are more likely to adopt aggressive characters and worse still develop anger management issues later in life (Merino, 2011).
It gives them the impression that violence is the only sure way of solving conflicts. Watching violent movies and playing violent games kind of reassures them that problems are best solved through violence; which is true to some extent because the moment someone crosses you in those games you plant a bomb in his/her house that same day and tomorrow they wont be there to bother you again. More still, you are at liberty to pull out a gun and shoot whoever is bugging you and when the cops try to arrest you for murder, you can easily kill them too, steal their police car and move to another venue where no one recognizes you. Moreover, reconciliation talks are time wasting and there is a risk that the other party will not be in sync with you or in accordance with your line of reasoning. So instead of trying to work it out amicably and risk getting angry or spending too much time before you can come to an agreement, why not kill him/her and move on to the next thing all the same? Besides, he/she cannot cross you while dead. Sarcasm intended.
This is the same mentality that these children grow up with and before you can realize, their aggression issues are out of hand and they need the intervention of psychologists. The same kind of behavior they see on TV is translated in their real lives. In school, they become more aggressive and overreact over small issues. They start provoking others into fights; their language becomes very rude and explicit just as they hear in the movies and games. This is the time they start using curse words and feigning dont know dont care attitude since it is portrayed as a cool thing in the media. In high schools, these are the same students that start forming fraternity squads that are very rebellious in nature (Berlatsky, 2012).
They defy each and every law that exists and pick on the weak students just because they can. To them rules and regulations are viewed as barriers to their freedom and should be broken every chance they get. These children become generally rude to both teachers and fellow students. Are these the kind of kids we want to raise? They say that children are the leaders of tomorrow. If that is the case, are these the leaders we want to have in future?
The good news is that this whole situation can be kept under control. It is the duty of parents to manage media violence in their kids lives. For little ones, it is best to avoid shows, movies and games with too much violence content. Kids on their seven cant actually distinguish between fact and fantasy. Therefore, they will process a made up situation the same way they would a real one. Although it is hard to monitor everything the child watches; limiting their exposure by keeping track of what they are watching and playing can greatly reduce their exposure levels. It is a sad truth that one cannot manage to avoid all shows that depict media violence. This calls for finding those teachable moments with your kids to actually talk to them about it, discuss other ways the actor could have solved the problem without necessarily using violence (Merino, 2011).
Berlatsky, N. (2012). Media violence. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
Merino, N. (2011). Media violence. Farmington Hills: Greenhaven Press.
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