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Essay on Media Violence: Censorship Not Needed

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Media Violence is a Menace, but Censorship Not Needed

  According to John Davidson's essay Menace to Society, "three-quarters of Americans surveyed [are] convinced that movies, television and music spur young people to violence." While public opinion is strong, the results of research are divided on the effects of media violence on the youth in this country. Davidson wrote that most experts agree that some correlation between media violence and actual violent acts exists, yet the results are contradictory and researchers quibble about how the effects are to be measured (271). Moreover, Davidson is not convinced that the media is the sole problem of violence, or even a primary problem. He points out that other factors, such as "poverty, the easy accessibility of guns, domestic abuse, [and] social instability" may have a greater impact on a child becoming violent than the influence of the media (277). Even though other forces may be stronger, media violence does have some adverse effects on the members of society. If senseless violence on television and in movies had no effect, it would not be such a hotly debated topic. What type of effects and whom they affect are the most argued aspects of the discussion.


One of the recent violent acts committed by minors was the massacre at Columbine High School. Later it was revealed that the murderers had listened to Marilyn Manson, played violent computer games (such as Doom), and watched The Basketball Diaries in which the lead character slaughtered his classmates and teacher in a very similar manner to the way the Columbine boys later did (Torr 14). Though the Columbine murders were horrific acts and were likely inspired by violent forms of media, they are atypical of mo...

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...nce. New York: Rosen.1998.

Gibbs, Nancy. "What Kids (Really) Need." Time 30 April. 2001: 48-49.

Males, Mike. "Why Demonize a Healthy Teen Culture." Los Angeles Times 9 May. 1999. Rpt. in Violence in the Media as "Teenagers Are Not Becoming More Violent." Ed. James D. Torr. San Diego: Greenhaven. 2001. 82-84.

Pollitt, Katha. "Natural Born Killers." The Nation 26 July. 1999. Rpt. in Violence in the Media as "Violence in the Media Reflects the Violence in Society." Ed. James D. Torr. San Diego: Greenhaven. 2001. 47-49.

Torr, James D. Introduction. Violence in the Media. Ed. James D. Torr. San Diego: Greenhaven. 2001. 13-15.

Valenti, Jack. "Violent Movies Do Not Make Children Violent." Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. 4 May. 1999. Rpt. in Violence in the Media. Ed. James D. Torr. San Diego: Greenhaven. 2001. 72-74.


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