In recent times, the news media has cried out against violent media, painting it as the leading cause for youth violence. Following events such as the Columbine massacre, news sources have vilified violent media, claiming that it is a primary cause of violent behavior in youths. This analysis provides firm research on the subject from the opposing and supporting sources, giving a thorough definition to the term “violent media” and brings forth evidence that other psychological effects and environmental factors are more significant causes of increased youth aggression than violent media.
Youth violence is a significant issue in modern society. Every new generation of high school and college students seems to have a new and increasingly violent incident of students being violent to others, often resulting in large numbers of injured or killed children. Whether it be the Columbine High School shooting, the Virginia Tech incident, or any of the dozens of school shootings that have occurred worldwide in the twenty-first century, violence is rapidly becoming more prevalent and more recognizable in youth culture. That being said, shootings are not the only source of violence in the new youth generation. Fighting, gang activity, and other organized violence is quickly increasing in number and severity.
The most intimidating factor of this massive increase in violent behavior is that nobody really knows why it is happening. Youths are simply becoming more violent. Researchers in child psychology are trying to find the leading causes of violence, but simply cannot—a child or young adult can easily have his or her mind influenced by a number of outside factors. One's peers may make any measurable change in how a child behaves, leading the child to act in a more violent or aggressive manner to fit in. A youth may be influenced by his or her environment, whether it is poor and obtrusive enough to lead the youth to begin making poor lifestyle decisions or positive to the point the youth begins rebelling by lashing out. Witnessing violence first-hand may also have a lasting effect on a child, in some cases going as far as to give the child a permanent personality disorder.
News authorities constantly fill the airwaves with stories of youths committing heinous, harmful acts against others—whether they are fights, violent sexual crimes, or even murders. These violent events are usually taken at face value, but when people ask why, the news almost always pins the blame on violent forms of media. With violent lyrics in music, video games with violent themes, hyper-violent horror and action movies and more, entertainment media has been under the microscope as a primary factor in causing violent behavior in youths for years. Ever since the Columbine shootings in 1999 and the subsequent blame being placed on the video game DOOM and heavy metal artist Marilyn Manson, the news media delights in...