Violence in the Media
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Today, media take a major part of our lives, shape our society and create reality. The Banning violence in the media is an efficient approach the government should take to handle the growing violence in our society. I argue that the US Government should make a law that bans violence in the media. The law needs to limit broadcasting of violence content at times and places that kids are likely to view, and enforce the use of personal code in TV which allows individuals to control the media they consume. There must be a link between the increase in violence in the society and the increase in violence in the media.
Recent studies revealed terrifying statistics regarding exposure to violence in the media. Before the age of twelve the average American child watches 8,000 murders and 100,000 other acts of violence (Kevin, 1994). There is a statistic base to believe that the increasing number of violent incidents and school shooting is associated with the increasing number of violent incidents in the media. It is clear that there are many other factors that can lead to youth violence such as violence in the family, poverty and violence in the neighborhood or surrounding environment. Although many researches failed to isolate the violence in the media and associate it with violence in reality, it must be one of its reasons.
There is still very little research about violent video games and violence in the internet and it is still too early to determine the long term effects of these new violence sources, but the fact that violent games and websites are popular among kids and young adult is worrisome. Violence in the media might not be the source of this acute problem, but it is one of its causes which can be restricted pretty easily by a government law. Moreover, violence in the media is translated by viewers as a model of conflict resolution. Heroes and ‘Good Guys’ use violence to achieve their goals and desires and are rewarded for their behavior. These characters become role models and reflect our society.
In other words, the media justify violent behavior and even encourage viewers to be aggressive in order to get their needs. When violence is seen as a legitimate way to solve conflicts, we become desensitized to it. This problem is even worse in lower-income areas, where kids are surrounded with real violence. These kids tend to stay home more often to escape street violence, and the TV shows provide them a shelter from reality. When these children watch violence on TV, they conclude that this is the only way to solve conflicts and achieve what they want. For them, the violence is everywhere (Leonard, 1992).
However, there are others who believe that violent media is good for kids. Gerard Jones and Melanie Moore (2000) developed a methodology to help kids meet their emotional and developmental needs by violent storytelling and Power Play. This methodology proved to be helpful and effective only when it is guided by professional staff. In my point of view, even if violence in the media can help some kids, under certain circumstances, the damage it is possessing is greater than the benefits.
Overall, Jones and Moore suggested an interesting way to utilize the violence in the media. Nevertheless, in their research, they guided kids and parents to use violent content to their benefit. I believe that without their professional guidance, using violence media can be more devastating than helpful for kids, who will end up imitating their hero’s aggressive behavior. Violating the First Amendment is the most convincing argument against government intervention. In my point of view, government law which bans violence in the media, is an exception to the First Amendment and in some way empowers democracy in our society.
Those who reject a government intervention claim that censorship of songs, art, shows or any other kind of entertainment media violates the First Amendment and the democratic principle of the freedom of speech (Freedom of Expression in the Arts, 2002). Because of the validation of this argument, the Congress failed to enact a law that would effectively control the violence in the media (Kevin, 19994). However, “obscenity” is recognized by the Congress as the only legitimate cause for an exception to the First Amendment.
Even though there is no legal definition for obscenity, it is the reason for banning sexual contents in the media. I believe that now it is time to define a legal terminology for obscenity, and depictions of extreme violence should be included under this definition. Nowadays, violence in the media is unavoidable regardless of one’s preferences and is available to all at anytime and anywhere.
Violence is in advertisement, movies and in TV shows and one cannot avoid it. Therefore, banning the violence in the media by enforcing a security code for violent contents supports the First Amendment and not vice versa. The major role that media play in our life is an established fact, and it is here to stay. Now, it is time to make sure that the increasing use of media improves our life instead of destroying. The only way to do so is by controlling the contents in the media. Therefore, banning violence in the media is the least that the government can do to fight the violence in our society.
Freedom of Expression in the Arts and Entertainment. (2002, February 27). American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved from: http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/freedom-expression-arts-and-entertainment Jones G. (2000, June 27). Violent media is good for kids. Mother Jones. Retrieved from: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2000/06/violent-media-good-kids-0 Kevin W. (1994). Media Violence and the Obscenity Exception to the First Amendment, William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal .Retrieved from: http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/wmborj/vol3/iss1/4 Leonard D. (1992, May 11). “Are Standards For TV And Film Possible?” panel discussion at Harvard School of Public Health, Massachusetts, Boston. Retrieved from http://0-library.cqpress.com.library.ggu.edu/cqresearcher/