“If television causes aggression and violent behavior, assuming that the television programming contains some violence, there should be more and more violent crime after television is available” (Freedman). Many suggest the violence in media is causing violence in society but then how is it that violent crimes are actually decreasing in the United States. The violence that is occurring is actually due from the mentally ill, poor parenting, and the location of where one lives in society.
Violence has actually decreased over the decades even though media has more violence than ever before. According to a report done by Lawrence W Reed with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “by the age of 18 an American child will have seen 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence.” These are astounding figures yet crime has hit a “nine-year low” (Frieden). Because of these statistics media is not causing more crime in America. The actual correlation between being exposed to media violence and actually acting violently are not conclusive. According to Jonathan L. Freedman of the University of Toronto, “The Surgeon General’s Report on Youth Violence concluded that exposure to television violence causes a short-term increase in aggression, but when on to say that television violence has little or no role in causing real violence.” Again this is showing that there might be a little aggressive behavior caused by media violence but the long-term effects are not what is causing aggressive behavior in people.
Even though crime is down there is still something that is causing the violence that is happening and one of those reasons is the mentally ill. Playing “Grand Theft Auto” is not causing young people to go out and steal cars and hit woman it is those that are already a little off in the head that are trying these things out in real life. Take for example Zachary Burgess of Auburn who told police, “ he wanted to live out what players of the violent video game usually only experience from the comfort of their own couches” (Moran). This is not the mindset of a sane individual most people who play this particular game never actually try it out just to “see what it feels like”. Most people are not inclined to think that what they see on television should actually happen in real life there must already be an imbalance in the brain to make people act on urges like the young man from Auburn.
“With regard to aggression, these correlational studies were less specific, as Himmelweit and her colleagues noted: ‘We did not find that the viewers were any more aggressive or maladjusted than the controls; television is unlikely to cause aggressive behavior, although it could precipitate it in those few children who are emotionally disturbed.’” (Murray 2).
This just helps with the understanding of young people like Zachary Burgess. According to Dr. Stanton E. Samenow, Ph.D. “critical is not what is on the screen or in the game but what already resides in the mind...