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Does Media Violence Cause Violent Behaviour?

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Essay title: Does Media Violence Cause Violent Behaviour?

Does media violence cause violent behaviour?

Looking around at what we choose to surround ourselves with today, this writer finds it hard to put a finger on exactly where we the society stand on this so-called debate on whether media violence causes violent behaviour. I refer to two contrasting articles by esteemed writers in their field and seek to discover exactly what the big issue is.

On the one hand, there are psychologists, psychiatrists, politicians, parents, teachers and many others deeply concerned with the effects of violent media on young, impressionable minds and the future of society . On the other, there are media specialists and other academics who are in opposition to claims of negative influence of the media .

The ultimate question to be asked in this socio-psychological debate is a philosophical one - does life imitate art, or does art imitate life? It is my contention, first and foremost, that the so-called debate should be abandoned - the media may be a factor, though clearly and obviously not the sole cause of violent behaviour, and fair, unbiased and non-propagandist research should be conducted into the true relationship between the media and the embodiment of its effects on individuals in society .

The claims stating that violent media is dangerous to the well-being of society as a whole are ill-founded and far-fetched - each individual deals with experiences differently, each see through their own eyes, and there is an entire plethora of other factors and variables to be taken into account when analyzing the allegedly negative effects of media. Those who seek to slander the movies, music, and even the celebrities themselves and such of advocating negative behaviour - violence in particular - are simply mindlessly attempting to place the blame on the most obvious and widespread influence in our day and age . This is all in order to avoid the effort of actually digging through the messy ruins of this society and finding the true core of the problem .

Mass media is prevalent throughout our every day lives. It is part of our environment, and it is also a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide . One researcher questioned the effects on individuals and society of allowing economic criteria solely to determine mass media content. The conclusion arrived at was that violence sells, and so the corporate whores out to make themselves some cash supply the violence that is so highly in demand currently .

The research also shows that audiences love to watch violence and its consequences. If this is the case, then what is so wrong and anti-social about the media supplying it? Each individual has a healthy mind and a conscience to make decisions for oneself. If the individual is the one who enjoys and revels in such things as blood and gore and bits of people being hacked off, or loud, raging lyrics about how the persona hates his father for sodomizing him, then is it right for the media to be the scapegoat to suffer the blame for his own individual preference?

When it comes to human behaviour, there is always the nature versus nurture argument. Does that angry, sullen kid from across the street take pleasure in capturing innocent little birds and baby rodents and sawing their limbs off because he comes from a genealogical line of wife batterers, or because he gets beaten up in school and treated like a waste of space at home?

We are both made up of traits (or tendencies, perhaps) that are inherent in us from birth, as well as products of our environment. The researcher vehemently claiming that the media sows seeds of violence herself stated that right and wrong are no longer clear concepts, and then goes on to disparage the fact that the hero in the modern fairy tale is no longer clean-cut and straight-edge - he is not the Prince Charming of yesteryear, but rather rough around the edges with more than his fair share of bad habits and imperfections.

Again this begs the philosophical question. Is life getting more and more distasteful because the media encourages it, or the other way around? I contend that life has indeed gotten harder - the fight of this generation is a spiritual one, a battle of the inner selves, the search to find identity. Back in the day when there were grand armies to be enlisted in and

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(2009, 12). Does Media Violence Cause Violent Behaviour?. Retrieved 12, 2009, from

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