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Taking A Serious Look At Media Violence And Its Effect On Children

1285 words - 5 pages

Violence has been around since the beginning of time--before television, radio, or video games. As many people would ask, how then did people learn these violent actions without the extreme exposure of the media? The question has a simple answer; humanity is the creator of its own media; the media is not the creator of humanity. "In 1949, a mere 2% of American homes had television sets. This increased to 64% by 1955, 93% by the mid-60's, and 98% today" (Hughes & Hasbrouck). With so many televisions in homes today and working parents; "TV has become the closest and most constant companion for American children" (Zuckerman). U.S. children begin watching television at a very early age and are frequent viewers by the time that they are two or three years old. The amount of time that American children spend watching TV is astounding: an average of four hours a day, 28 hours a week, 2,400 hours a year, nearly 18,000 hours by the time they graduate from high school. In comparison, they spend a mere 13,000 hours in school, from kindergarten through twelfth grade. American children spend more time watching TV than any other activity, besides sleeping. If this is the case, and people supposedly more violent today, why then has the crime rate not soared to new levels? Violence is not the fault of video games, movies, books or any other media. Violence is a characteristic found only in people themselves. Video games, movies, books, and other media give people a way to express anger or feelings of hate. Almost everyone is exposed to violent media, some will commit violent crimes, millions will not.Why then do some individuals have violent tendencies? It would be wrong to say that the media does not completely have an effect on people or everyday suggestions such as commercials or billboards wouldn't be present. However, one must look at individual factors such as personal backgrounds (family, friends), chemical or emotional deficits and other social circumstances such as ones social environment. So when there's a violent incident I believe the media causes only in a small percentage of the incidents, but is generally blamed for a majority of them.In order for a human being to display aggression, violence or anger, it must be driven by an instinct interacting with that person's surroundings. According to Sigmund Freud's Theory of Psychoanalysis, humans have two such unconscious drives eros (love or sex) and phantos (death or aggression) (Kuehnel & Meadows). If one were to believe this statement, it would be assumed that people have a natural inclination towards violence (aggression), which can be triggered for example by reality, which is our lives, or the powerful and clever mass media. This idea was put into practice by psychology Professor Philip Zimbardo. His Stanford Prison Experiment of August 1971 quickly became a classic. Using realistic methods, Zimbardo and others were able to create a prison atmosphere that transformed its participants. The...

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