, Research Paper
Over the years, media violence has increased dramatically in our society and aspects of media like newspapers, TV, films, videos, Internet. Violence, along with sex and drugs, are examples of moral panics . Moral panics are when society cannot accept or adjust to vast changes, or when groups of people or a new type of behaviour is seen as threat to society. In these circumstances single issues can quickly become the focus of panic .
Recent moral panics in the media include explicit sex, video-nasties, drugs and violence and have raised many moral panics amongst society, and voiced mainly by parents, the government and individual pressure groups. For this essay, I will use media violence and its moral panics.
On the front page of the Southend Standard (a freely distributed newspaper for Southend residents) published on the 11th of February was an article about a comic book series that is widely available in Southend Library. The comic contains detailed drawings of deviant sex, drug abuse, extreme violence and gore. Local politicians are urging the boss of the Southend Library to remove this and other comic series similar in taste because this kind of material is not acceptable in our society, especially for 12 year-old children. The article appeals to pressure groups, the Southend Bourgh Council and parents, informing them of the negative effects on child behaviour that may arise from reading these images.
Voices should be welcomed in our society because it shows our concerns in that we as an audience decide on what is decent and acceptable to everyone. The voices are there as guidance and as a sense of direction to prevent dishonesty in society that may effect it in negative behaviour.
I believe that children are most vulnerable to the effects of explicit material, for they are young, innocent and trustful towards the media because they cannot easily define by themselves the difference between right and wrong, or how to act in society. Targeting violent material at children is taking advantage of an inexperienced consumer.
The audience can be split into two separate groups, passive and active. Children fall into the passive audience as they are ever-changing, they absorb the media, they are easy manipulated by it and react to it in either a negative or positive way.
I believe there is a possible link between violent films and behavioural patterns.
For example, the Jamie Bulger s case, where two children killed brutally murdered Jamie Bulger, after watching the film Child s Play 3 classified with an 18 certificate. Investigations concluded that because of watching this violent horror, where a child s toy is brought to life, the two children were inspired and carried out the death of 2 year old Jamie Bulger. The film has been directly accused for manipulating and provoking individuals to commit brutal crimes of violence.
Cartoon animations are famous for their violent content. For instance Tom & Jerry, created by Fred Quimby is about a cat and mouse who are constantly enguaged in combat with each other. Tom chases Jerry into the kitchen, Jerry hides behind the door with a frying pan in his hand, and throws it at Tom, leaving an indentation of his face. This is humerous to audiences not just children, but adults as well. I believe that it is the way that it is shown and the fact that Tom and Jerry are both fictional characters in a make-believe world that makes them unbelievable, acceptable and humerous. Other violent cartoons include: Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Cow and Chicken, Batman, Ghostbusters, and the Ren and Stimpy Show.
Computer games have become the centre of attention recently. Unlike films and still images, video games provide a new experience, where you the audience are the hero of the game, because you control the protagonist. With the arrival of new technology come video games with a high degree of detail, creating a new sense of reality. This in turn can be accused for deception and manipulation, as you are lead to believe that what the hero does it what is acceptable in society.
The Internet is another source of harmful and explicit material for children. It is ever-growing from the past twenty years it has been running, and provides a wide variety of content, all of which may be accessed by a single click of a button. Through recent moral panics raised by the public, security software is available to buy which prevents children from accessing illegal websites (where illegal means inappropriate and unacceptable material such as pornography).
We have to consider the background of the child, and not just the media effects. The child may have come from the slums of a city, where violence is as high as poverty, or he/she may have only a single parent, or even a badly treated orphan. The child feels that he/she is rejected and unloved with no-one paying attention to him/her, so he/she tries to grasp attention by committing acts of violence.
It is not fair to say that when you watch a film, you will become a violent criminal, it is the type of person who watches the films and the way they react to the film. There are children that have never seen a violent film but have committed a crime, and there are children who constantly watch violent films and are not affected by it.