Media Violence:A Threat To So. Essay, Research Paper
A Threat to Our Society
Violence is everywhere in our society today. It is in the sports we watch, the schools we attend, and even in many of our personal and domestic relationships. The question then becomes: what is causing all of this violence? Certainly, there are a number of factors and the blame cannot be pinned on one source. One factor which must be examined, however, is the media and its influence on young people. Several incidents have occurred which prove, at the very least, that media violence is something that must be considered a threat to our society.
One of the signs of media s influence on children appeared in a study conducted by television researchers, Bandura and Ross. A group of children were divided into Groups A and B. Then, different videos were shown to each group. Group A saw a video of a girl hitting and kicking a doll. Group B saw a tape in which the same girl held a tea party with the doll. Later, the children were placed in rooms with an exact copy of the doll. Group B played nicely with the doll, whereas the children in group A played with the doll very aggressively ( The Effects of Television Violence ). This is one of many studies which link observed violence with aggressive behavior in children. Simply put, children imitate what they see.
Further proof of this behavior appears tragically often as a result of professional wrestling. Professional wrestling has turned into one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Organizations such as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) make millions of dollars by selling violence to children. The WWF s Monday Night Raw program is consistently the top show in its time slot and other programs, such as Thursday Night Smackdown, Sunday Night Heat, and their pay-per-view events, also do consistently well. A recent survey by the WWF showed that 93% of Smackown’s adult viewers watch with their children while 91% of Raw is War and Heat viewers watch with their children ( WWF Entertainment ). On top of that, these companies make millions every year off of toys and merchandise sold to children. Children, however, may try to imitate the moves they see, not understanding the skill involved and the consequences of performing it incorrectly. In one case, for example, a baby-sitter placed a wrestling pay-per-view video in the VCR and left for a short time, allowing the six children to watch the video. She returned and found the infant stomped to death by a 4-year old boy. In another case, a 12-year old attempted to perform a move called the Jackknife Powerbomb on his 19-month old cousin, killing the toddler ( Wrestling with Death ). Even older teens may hold backyard wrestling matches, which are very dangerous and often result in injury. Some of the stunts involved include hitting opponents with chairs, jumping from a roof onto another person, and attacking others with sharp objects.
Children and teenagers, however, are not the only people to be affected by media violence. Adults may also be affected by it. One study by David Phillips, after highly publicized prizefights, The more publicity, the more the increase in subsequent homicides (Aronson, p. 269). Even more interesting is that after black boxers lost, more black men were killed and after white boxers lost, more white men were killed.
Certain adults may also be influenced by movies. In one case, the family of a woman sued the makers of the movie Natural Born Killers after a woman in the family was shot and paralyzed. The shooters shot her and killed a businessman while re-enacting scenes of the movie after watching it several times ( Family Blames ).
Violence in the media is a threat to our society. It grabs children when they are young and pulls them in, and teaches them violence is a productive means of solving problems. It projects violence as cool and causes children to want to imitate what they see. Certain programs, such as wrestling, both glorify violence and use it as a constant means of solving problems, something which no child should be exposed to. Even adults may be susceptible to the influence of the media. Either way, people get hurt and lives are destroyed. There is a problem in our society. Media teaches the opposite of what parents would like their children to learn. However, parents are also at fault for allowing the television, video games, or other outside influences to become as much of a role model for children as they are. Either way, our society has a serious problem, and something must be done about it.
Aronson, E. The Social Animal. New York: H.W. Freeman and Co. 7th Edition. 1995.
The Effects of Television Violence. N. pag. On-line. Internet. 13 March 2001. Available WWW: http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/5676/home.html.
Family blames Natural Born Killers for encouraging victimization of woman. 9 March 1999. N. pag. On-line. Internet. 18 March 2001. Available: http://www.media-awareness.ca/eng/news/news/three/movie.htm.
Post, Jonathon Vos. Open Questions on the Correlation between Television and Violence. 12 March 1995. N. pag. On-line. Internet. 12 March 2001. Available: http://www.magicdragon.com/EmeraldCity/Nonfiction/socphil.html.
Wrestling With Death. 19 January 2000. N. pag. On-line. Internet. 14 March 2001. Available: http://www.courttv.com/onair/shows/crimestories/q_z_episodes/wrestling_with_death.html
WWF Entertainment Reports Third Quarter Results: Revenues Increase 13%, Earnings Per Share of $0.24 Excluding Start-Up Costs of XFL. 15 February 2001. N. pag. On-line. Internet. 18 March 2001. Available: http://www.wwfecorpbiz.com/invest/r_b_finance.html