The Media Violence Debate

Topics: Reality television, Television program, Television Pages: 11 (3484 words) Published: November 7, 2012


Television and video games are favorite ways teenagers spend their leisure hours. Parents and teens themselves have wondered about their effects because of numerous concerns raised with regards to the negative influences that these form of entertainment bring. Many of today’s children grow up with a television at home or even in their own rooms and there have been studies dedicated to the analysis of their impact of a young child growing up to adolescence. Young children are heavily influenced by television and video games, many of which are educational. While there are fun educational shows and games that benefit educational development for young children, the choice of video games and television shows are different when they grow up to be teenagers. This is when the problem begins. The negative influences of television and video games are aplenty. Flipping through the channels would surely show situations of violence, sex scenes and explicit conversations, alcohol and drug use, cursing and verbal obscenities, bad body image reflections, and more. Visiting a games arcade would not only hurt one’s ears because of the noise of gunshots and obscene shouts from the games played, but also expose one to bloody and highly violent ways of killing people. These situations can affect teenagers differently.

With some good things that can be learned from many television shows (documentaries and educational shows, for example) and video games (motor skills development), the negative effects of these forms of media outweighs the positive ones. This paper aims at discussing the effects of media particularly on the debate that has been going on with the ill-effects of media violence. Moreover, it provides a bird’s eye view and analysis on the influences of media violence especially on children.

Relevant Research and Authors

Featured in The Guardian on June 2001, Rushdie's “Reality TV: A Dearth of Talent and the Death of Morality” has caught the attention of many moralists who agree on Rushdie's idea and views on the prevalence and existence of reality TV today. Rushdie has presented so many points in his essay that I fully agree on. First, reality television shows are hard to avoid. Their ratings are a proof how people patronize these kinds of shows. Look how many millions of texters would send in their votes for their favorite “American Idol.” The success of many reality shows in the 1990's made way for networks to think of more programs – the weirder, the better because people had the tendency to watch reality programs that exude the abnormal. Moreover, these reality shows that feature people who have no talent at all, such as MTV’s hit Jersey Shore, contrast to wholesome programs in the past and yes, some modern ones, that showcase celebrities with real talents or programs that are worth our precious time.

Marshall McLuhan is not known by many but to those who are into the field of media, he is considered to be the first father and leading prophet of the electronic age. This Canadian born writer and critic wrote mostly on the topic of understanding the effects of technology as it is related to the popular culture and how this affected and influenced man and its relationship to one another and to the community as a whole. The phrase “the medium is the message” was started by McLuhan and stood to mean the form of a medium is embedded in the message itself thereby forming a correlation on how any message is being understood thus influencing change as time goes by. McLuhan (1964) asserts that “that a medium affects the society in which it plays a role not only by the content delivered over the medium, but by the characteristics of the medium itself.” Furthermore, he emphasizes that any newspaper article or television program does not have any content at all unless the people or the society reacts...

References: Earles KA, R Alexander, M Johnson, J Liverpool, and M McGhee. 2002. "Media influences on children and adolescents: violence and sex". Journal of the National Medical Association. 94 (9): 797-801.
Greenfield, Patricia Marks. 1984. Mind and media: the effects of television, video games, and computers. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
Halloran JD. 1975. "The Mass Media and Violence." Forensic Science. 5. 3: 209-17.
Kamalipour, Yahya R., and Kuldip R. Rampal. 2001. Media, Sex, Violence, and Drugs in the Global Village. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
McLuhan, M. 1964. Understanding media; The extensions of man. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Rehnstrand, R. 2005. The longitudional effects of media violence (television and video games) on violence in children into adulthood. Starred paper (M.S.)--St. Cloud State University.
Rushdie, Salman. 2001. Reality TV: A Dearth of Talent and the Death of Morality. The Guardian.
Tate, E. and McConnell, K. 2001. The mass media and violence from McKie, Craig and Benjamin Singer, (eds.) Communications in Canada Society, 5th edition. Toronto: Thompson Educational (TEP)
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