DoesViolence Movie Lead Teenagers to Crime or Violence?
Whatis the impact of violence movies on real life violence or crime?Experiments done in the laboratory in recent years have shown thatteenage exposure to violence movie increases aggression. Today, theargument is more prevalent since we are constantly surrounded withdifferent forms of media, for example, televisions alongsideincreasing number of reports of violent activities around the world.Televisions that show violent movies are often the main areas offocus every time this argument is brought up. Sociologists, in recenttimes, are known to lean towards the issue that what is shown on themedia is the exact reflection of what is happening in the society,rather than blaming it on behaviors, which have been establishedalready in the society. There are also those who believe thatviolence movies result into violent behaviors in most of theteenagers. However, the purpose of this paper is to argue thatviolence movies are not a reason for violence or crime amongteenagers, in the real world.
Tobegin with, in Burton Graeme’s book “Media and Society”, heargued that research that has been done before suggest that teenageview of violence movies could be related to aggressive behaviorduring their adult life. The argument from this standpoint is notconclusive since the evidence provided is not enough given that therange of social influences does not produce such kind of an effect.Wedding et al. (101) argued that violence movies in teenage lifeinfluences their lives in a number of ways by claiming that it makesthem to be violent however, this is not the case since there aremany arguments that are against his line of logic.
Whilesome could argue that since a violent criminal activity has beencommitted by a teen who claims to have been influenced by a violencemovie he or she had watched before, the argument fails to hold anywater since not only he or she had watched that movie before but alsothat could not be the sole reason why he or she did it. Again, thisargument encourages another question do those who watch violencemovies violent people? Or does exposure to violence movies make themviolent? If at all the answer is yes for the first question, then itmeans that violence movies shown in the media is not the cause totheir violent behaviors in the real world. This is because by thetime of watching, they were already violent before they were exposedto it. If the answer is no, for the first question, which is morelikely, then there must be other reasons for the teenagers to want towatch violence movies. Tyron (45) says that these reasons could befor enjoyment, the thrill of being frightened, or the shock theyreceive from the movie. Again, if the answer is no for the secondquestion, then it remains obvious that the reason has to be unrelatedwith other causes that could make the teenagers violent, apart fromwatching these violence movies.
Secondly,when this argument is brought to the mainstream, violence movies isoften the focus of the debate. This may be because of the increasingnumber of teenage violence cases that have been blame on violencemovies, in recent times. O’Connor & Katy (56) noted a certaincase that happened in the United States in 1999, whereby twoteenagers had killed 12 others. They blamed their violent nature on aviolent movie they had watched earlier, and that they had spent aconsiderable amount of time watching, before the massacre took place.This situation takes us back to the same question: does an individualwatch violence movies because he or she is violent or does theviolence movies make them violent?
Psychiatrydrugs have been known to have a huge impact on the violent nature ofa person in many notorious violent cases of mass murder that havetaken place in cinemas and in schools. According to the same reports,Tyron (69) also found out that shooters of the Columbine High School,for instance, were involved in some sort of drug abuse at the time ofthe shooting, since some prescribed drugs had been found with thebelongs of a Virginia-based Tech Shooter. The massacre in theColumbine School is notoriously blamed on too much view of violentcontent in movies. However, the fact of the matter is that shooterswere found to be on some psychiatry drugs that are known to haveviolence effects and homicide related behaviors, which showed thatthe drugs, rather than the believe that it is due to violence media,is to blame for the shooters’ behavior (Nagle 70). From this case,it should be observed that it is not because of the violent contentin movies that caused the shooting but effects of the psychiatrydrugs, even though the perpetrators were exposed to watching violencemovies, therefore, violence movies does not cause aggression andviolence behaviors.
Itis unfair to say that violence movies cause violent behaviors in reallife. This is because there are vast majority of teenagers thatenjoys watching violent television programmes and horror films but donot engage atrocities, even though there are a few others who areinfluence with the content they view (Tyron 88). It is also not theright thing to do to connect with every single act of violence to thecontent with violence that is shown on the television.
Anotherargument that supports a sense of violent behavior could be earlyexposure to violence at an early age, and not the violent contentconsume from the movies. The argument could be that, if a person isexposed to real life violence around him or her at a tender age, forinstance domestic violence abuse, this could be a negative impact onthe teenager’s behavior in the adulthood (Wedding et al. 120). Amore negative impact to a teenage is the exposure of a large amountof violence content on the television, which may create a certainnegative attitude in his or her later life. O’Connor & Katy(63) says that this kind of people could view violence around them asnormal occurrences, and thus accept them as part of life. Even thethen president of the United States, Bill Clinton, once said: “Themore the teenagers observe violence, the more they become numb to thedeadly negative impact of violence” (Tyron, 87).
Fromthis, it is evident that the children while growing up will seeviolence around them as a normal thing in life, if they are exposedcontinuously to either the violence in what they see on thetelevisions or in real life. It is also true to say that violentteenagers may turn out to be violent, not because of what they saw onthe televisions, but what they are used to in real life. Again, itdoes not necessarily support the argument that violence in moviesresult to violent people in real life, rather it is arguable to saythat violence movies contribute acceptance towards violent behaviorsif there is continued exposure to it, both in real life and in themedia (O’Connor & Katy 65). It is true to argue that exposureto violence also has a positive impacts when a person is exposed at ayounger age. This could deter the person from engage in violentbehavior in later life since they could have realized the consequenceof violence.
Fromthe about view, it is easy to vehemently argue that the evidence forviolence movies producing violence cases in real life is inadequate.Tyron (121) cites Buckingham in his book “The Media and Society:the Critical Perspectives”, states that: “Despite years ofresearch, proof to connect between television violence and behavioralaggression is weak at its best…”
Ifit was the case that violence movies triggers violence in real life,then it could be logical to say that the rate of violent crimesshould therefore be in line with the amount of television violence.And as violence, in all the forms and shapes continue to increasewith the amount shown on the television the amount of violenceshould therefore rise with the trend. Again, Wedding et al. (89)noted that the levels of criminal activities are observed to havereduced in recent times the amount of violence movies is still high.This supports the idea that violence movies are not the reason forincreased violence in real life, even when the cases of crime andindividual violence are frequently blamed on the violence shown onthe television.
Itis also important to discuss reasons why teenagers turn out to beviolent, even if it is due to unfortunate circumstances or poorupbringing where violence are acceptable whether due to the use ofpsychiatric drugs or psychological problems that have side effects,which include aggression, the thoughts of terminating lives,homicidal and suicidal tendencies, or due to exposure to violencemovies. According to Nagle (101), it is possible that violence moviescan influence already violent person to commit violent activities,even though sociologists are quick to argue that televisions does notdevelop new violent behaviors that have not been established in aperson or the society already.
Inconclusion, the argument is hard to be answered with a simple yes orno. it is therefore more sensible to suggest that in certain cases,violence movies may trigger violence cases in real life due toconstant violence exposure could easily disrupt any form of naturalaversion to the issue. From this, it should be noted that mainstreammedia may be obsessed with putting blame to teenage violence on theamount of violence movies they watch. Complete lack of awareness thatthe distressing and violent images shown on movies may presentnegative impact on the individual as the same exposure to other formsof observable media. This shows that even the media outlets do notbelieve violence movies triggers violence tendencies in real life.Instead, they are known to create a scapegoat to appease theconsumers to these violence movies who may want a cause and answer toincreasing amount of violence in teenagers.
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