Violence in the Media


For years the effects of violence and the media has been a controversial topic of debate. While some argue that violence in the media has no repercussions, others argue that it has a long lasting negative effect on people around the world, but specifically children. Within this debate there are many different sources of entertainment that are looked upon such as television shows, video games, movies, and even in the news. All of these sources seem to have an effect on people in general, however the effect leans more towards children. It has become evident that children are almost becoming a target by the violence for financial benefits through marketing. Many different researchers and research groups have studied the negative impact that entertainment sources have, and provided the information needed to help with the censoring and monitoring of violent publications. "We do not believe there is anything sexist or violent about the World Wrestling Federation. I think it's unfair of you to insinuate it when there are so many shows and so many different movies, and so many different social problems that really do contribute to violence in this country."- UPN president Dean Valentine, after a 7-year-old child in Dallas killed his little brother with a "clothesline" maneuver he had seen on a wrestling show (Gifford 30). Even with such sad displays of obvious evidence leaning towards violence in television affecting children and their judgment are still being considered as refutable and that there is no direct link between media violence and its effects on society. Violence has played a role in entertainment throughout history, but in the last 20 years incidents of violence in the media have increased and are concerning parents worldwide.
Violence in entertainment has been around since ancient Egyptians entertained themselves by re-enacting the murder of their god, Osiris (Violence 1). However the intensity of violence has progressed overtime and has been a cause for many legal suits against these portrayals. Throughout entertainment history there have been many changes that have provided the world with the more modern view of the entertainment world. In 1930, major film studios agreed to the Hollywood Production Code due to the growing concern on the content within movies. The purpose in this code was to regulate what type of violence could be shown on screen. In the 1960s the Motion Picture Association of America gave filmmakers a lot more freedom by relaxing the guidelines within the code. With fewer restrictions came bloodier deaths in movies after the invention of exploding capsules of fake blood. When the 1990s occurred graphic violence became such a regular feature in Hollywood films that filmmakers thought it was alright to use it to portray a comedic effect (Torr 21).
From the mid-fifties on filmmakers began creating low budget movies with crazy plot lines and obscenities to exploit the growing teenage market (Torr 35). While parents became glued to their new television sets, teenagers went out to the movies to explore their horizons. After the new regulations were passed the filmmakers were finding any way possible to appeal to the modern crowd, including the involvement of teen crime. When teen crimes became involved in the film industry many parents were outraged. The violent scenes by adolescents were thought to increase crime in adolescents. From these accusations came the overall consensus that all violent scenes in movies and on television are to blame for the rising rate of teens committing crimes. Parents and politicians tried in the past to make the media pay for their mistakes in influencing criminal behavior with legal suits.
Compared to how entertainment was portrayed in the past, there is much more violence out today than there was 50 years ago. Now, because of the television and internet, violence can now be shown to millions of people from the comfort of their homes (Gifford 7). Many studies have been conducted that indicate the changes in media that have occurred over time. According to one study, it was found that between 1993 and 2001 incidents of physical violence increased by 378 %, and television shows in 2001 averaged about 40 acts of violence per hour (Violence 3). There has also been much research that has shown that not only has media violence increased in quantity, but instead has become much more graphic, sexual, and sadistic. These incidents have doubled from 1989 to