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Media Effects: Profanity In The Media

1876 words - 8 pages

[Type text] [Type text] [Type text]1ShumwayMedia Effects ReportBryan ShumwayWhat is the effect?While many effects could have been chosen for study in this report, the effect chosen was that of profanity in the media and its subsequent effects on those influenced by that media. This report will examine the impact of profanity within three categories, namely printed media, video games, and television/film. The effect is worthy of study because even though content creators may not intend profanity, swearing, cursing, cussing, or foul language to have a negative impact on those who view or otherwise interact with their media, there is reason to believe there are unintended negative consequences of such language.This report will focus on the effect of what are deemed obscenities by the American public and governing bodies who make decisions regarding what content American citizens interact with, namely the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and others. Among words deemed vulgar, there are varying degrees or levels of offensiveness. For this reasons, the ratings boards mentioned above have devised various systems ideally in place to protect consumers from offensive words. Less offensive words can be more commonly found on broadcast television, "Everyone" or "Teen" rated games, and G or PG movies. More offensive words, including the "seven dirty words" are reserved for use only on cable and premium television channels, "Mature" rated games, and R or NC-17 movies. The effect of these words on the public continues to be studied, but current research indicates that profanity in television, movies, books, and games can lead to an increase in verbal aggression, physical aggression, and relational aggression. This is a result of increased acceptance of the words being used, along with their various connotations, and subsequent used of the words by the viewers/consumers themselves, leading to aggressive behavior.Most of the research done relating to this media effect has been centered around television, film, and video games, all of which will be discussed, but very little research has been done concerning literature. This is interesting because according to one study, "adolescents report spending about as much time reading for pleasure as they spend playing video games" The findings of such studies regarding literature are telling. In a study that examined 40 of the best selling books aimed at adolescents, a specific character type spoke profanity. Specifically, "characters were likely to be young, rich, attractive, and of pronounced social status." As the age increases, the novels increase in profanity, even to the point where some of the "seven dirty words" are used, but unlike television, film, and video games, ratings are not printed on book covers or used to govern who reads and doesn't read a novel. Along with research that suggests printed media is...

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