Violence in the Media


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Many video games, television programs, adverts, films and
music lyrics depict different forms of violence. Some people feel that
there is too much violence exposed in the media. Many studies have
made the claim that the media is responsible for much of the violence
seen in the world we live in. However, people have choices and
responsibilities we cannot allow ourselves to blame it on other things
such as the media. The violence seen in our media has an impact on
both adults and children. Since children are also exposed to various
forms of media, there has been additional concern for how they process
and think about the violence they see, read or hear. Excessive
exposure to media violence can also affect people in many ways as they
can become disturbed and develop serious fears of being victimized in
real life. Nevertheless, the entertainment industry and those in
favour of the media argue that censoring these images or music will
not solve the problems of a society, which is already violent.

Many areas of the media contain violence in different forms. There are
four different types of violence shown throughout media-actuality,
realistic fictional, choreographed and comic. Actuality shows the
public images that have not been enhanced, altered or composed. These
are mainly shown in TV news and newspapers and have stirred various
opinions of its necessity to be shown. People feel that it is
unacceptable to show these kinds of images, as some scenes can be of
those in agony therefore pointing a camera on them is disrespectful.
However some actuality images are less harmful as it may not be an
extreme act such as tackles in football matches. Realistic fictional
is when violence is acted out which can potentially happen in real
life. This may be unacceptable to people as it can be influential and
seem as exciting therefore there are temptations to copy it.

Choreographed violence in the media are images that have been
rehearsed and planned out, these are often found in films and cause a

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bit of debate. It may be seen as acceptable for it is just a film and
shown for entertainment purposes but many may feel that it can be very
influential as images like men holding a gun can seem pleasurable.
However, these images can be acceptable up to a point and may become
intolerable for younger audiences. Comics are images that are normally
found in newspapers and magazines. These don’t have great influences
on readers and is not a type of violence, which cause a lot of debate.
It is mostly seen as entertainment and is accepted as enjoyable
sketches for there is not much temptation to copy it because it is
clearly shown as unrealistic.

Media do try to have some control over what people can see. The BBFC
is an organisation that regulates and classifies the content of the
film, which are shown in cinemas and released in videos. It puts a
certain age limit for the film and may ask for the film’s distributor
to make changes in the form of cuts. This may be material considered
to extreme for a certain age group such as sex, violence, drugs and
swearing. The British Broadcasting of Film Classification was set up
in 1912 and there were two rules for classifying films: no
representations of Christ and no representations of nudity. In 1915,
the policy of the board was summarised by T.P. O’Connor who had been
appointed president. He laid down forty-three grounds for film
censorship and the rules covered areas such as nudity, sex, violence
and political issues. However society has changed and these strict,
cautious rules were drawn from the board. Nevertheless, there are
forms of violence that the bbfc are cautious about such as sexual
violence, glamorisation of weapons and ill treatment of animals and
children. They are also concerned about the emphasis of the process of
violence and the details of criminal techniques.

The watershed is set up to protect younger audiences from being
influenced and it is what can legally be shown before nine o’clock on
television. This is said to not have been doing what it is purposely
built for as children are still up at night and are watching the
television. However, there is only a certain amount of things that the
media can do to help protect children from influential images
therefore it is parents/guardians responsibility to make sure that
they are not watching things that there are not meant to.

Violence can be effective, harsh and disturbing. Some argue that going
through uncomfortable, unpleasant experiences through what we see is
how we learn to make decisions. It makes you think although it may use
the idea of horror to make us feel lucky and appreciative.

Violence in the media can be misinterpreted and have different effects
on people. Moral panics occur when the media blow subjects out of
proportion, which can create redundant commotion within the public.
This encourages scares, which can cause the public to become fearful
and act upon this. Showing and telling the news can be seen to be more
horrific than the actual thing. However, some people feel that graphic
images should be exposed. The media should not hold back as the public
need to know what is going on. The media is the one that give us the
truth.

There have been many studies conducted on the effects of violence on
the society. The effects theory suggests that people’s characteristics
and background will determine how they interpret the violence shown in
the media. It suggests that children are more fragile towards the
violence they are exposed to because of their young age. Violence in
the media excites children but the more they see, the more they need
to excite them. This results in them being less shocked by real life
violence as violent behaviour soon becomes to be seen as normal on
screen. However, violence in the media can sensitise people to the
effects of violence for these images can be so shocking that it can
put people off violence and make them more aware of its consequences.

Media violence can be used as way to release tension and desires
through identification with fictional characteristics and events.
According to the catharsis theory, watching violence is healthy
because it allows viewers to drain their anger and aggressive impulses
into harmless channels. It can reduce subsequent aggression as it
leaves the viewers uplifted and less likely to act violently among
themselves.

The TV news has been in many debates as some argue that they show too
much graphic images. An example of this is the recent incident in
Beslan, which had caused a lot of controversy as people had strong
feelings of what was appropriate to have shown and what had stepped
over the line. Many images of young children, bleeding in agony and
crying out for help had been covered in the news. This had stirred
strong emotions as people had thought it was disrespectful and its not
any of the publics businesses to be looking at these images. Having a
camera pointed at someone after going through something extremely
traumatizing and being at a low point leaves the victim with no
dignity and their moral rights are taken away. However, these were
providing visual knowledge to people about what is going on in the
world. The constant reports from the TV news not only affect victims
but the hostage takers. Media were helping the hostage takers to
publicise their cause and they became dependant on them to make their
cause known. Rolling news is a source of rawness and provides a window
on the real world that other media are unable to match. On the other
hand, it can be seem as deceiving and unnecessary. Footages of the
same thing are shown over and over again and it can become unreliable
to some viewers as wrong, limited information is transmitted in a
cycle. Reporters become too caught up in their work and don’t think
about what they are doing. Many reporters and photographers are more
concerned about their job status than the moral rights involved.

During the happenings in Beslan, reporters began to reflect on the
effects of rolling news. Peter Conrad argued against rolling news and
the amount of graphic images shown. Nick Pollard wrote an argument
responding against Conrad’s views. Peter Conrad has said it is “not to
be trusted” as it crates emotions for us “rather than transmitting
facts.” Nick Pollard thought that Conrad has “rubbished the whole idea
of live news”.

Advertisements depict forms of violence to help publicise products,
issues and artists. The media uses violence in advertising to attract
male audiences. Companies such as Siemens, Addidas and Mitsubishi all
use various types of violence such as the cave man mentality, the new
warriors and heroic masculinity, to sell their product. The cave man
mentality use male icons from well-known history, e.g. ancient
warriors which represents masculinity in advertisement. These show
that being aggressive is part if their nature, therefore the
advertisements associates and fulfils these needs of being brutal
which presumably existed throughout time. These advertisements
influence the idea of male dominance as a biological fact. Another
type of violence used in advertising is the use of military or sports
figures to make the product look more masculine. This is aimed at
young boys and adolescent males and portrays an image that violence is
suave and tolerable. These images are generally shown in adverts for
common male products such as deodorant, trainers and hats and become
presented to consumers with aggressive and violent images of manhood.

Playing violent video games like manhunt can increase a person’s
aggressive, thoughts, feelings and behaviour in actual life. Excessive
display of violence can influence a more destructive approach to
others and will encourage people with the tendencies to violent
behaviour to take that extra step. However, although video games can
be extremely violent, it can be hard to connect this violence in
reality. The content of various video games may offend many people but
the violence shown is of a negative light. Video games do not show
violence to be acceptable or enjoyable. Nevertheless, video games can
still urge people to become aggressive due it violent scenes and
therefore there should be stricter censorship to protect influential
children. However, it is argued that most violent games are rated 18,
it is up to parents under the age of 18 to make sure that they are not
getting hold of these games. Violence can not only be blamed on video
games, it is also lack of parenting, if it wasn’t for video games
there will be something else to blame.

Song Lyrics are known to promote violence. Many artists use ideas of
violence and use aggressive tones in their songs. Bands such as black
eyed peas have demonstrated their opinions about this, and they have
expressed it through the song, ‘Where is the love?’ as its lyrics say,
‘wrong information always shown by the media, infecting the young
minds faster than bacteria.’

Media surrounds us and has an impact on everyone’s lives in different,
big or small ways. The violence it contains still and may always be a
big topic of debate. It is difficult to have the right amount of
violence shown for everyone as each person has different points of
where the line should be drawn.


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