The media presents violence in different forms on a regular basis and this violence has an impact on the attitude and behavior of the viewers. The physical and psychological impacts are great and a number of individuals raise concerns about the way in which violence impacts the attitude and behavior of children and adults who view violent movies. Both cartoons and actions movies display a heavy presence of violence. Children in particular, tend to act out these violent scenes on a regular basis. Over the years the level of aggression, the use of guns, and bloodshed has increased dramatically and the release of new action films brings a more intense form of violence, more bloodshed and more ways to create violent acts in the society. The reality is that violent movies bring violent changes in actions and personality of many individuals and in turn increase the level of violence in the society. Arguably, people should view television with caution and children should not be allowed to watch violent movies. But, the increase in violent films has reached the point that if violent films were removed from the media, then there would be nothing left to watch.
Movies often tell a story about the events in the society, but one cannot truly say that the level of violence in these films is a true reflection of the violence in the society. Nevertheless, violent movies will impact the psychological nature of even the most emotionally stable individual. While films are designed to entertain the society, not everyone see the positive entertainment in these violent films. The animated and action films in particular have become violent epic tales of sword fights, guns and martial arts which all result in death, maiming, and bloodshed. Where does that leave our children? There is no doubt that children will practice what they see in these movies because there impressionable minds are overrun by the heroic figures in these films. The truth is that televisions have become the replacement for parenthood as parents are often too busy to spend time with their children. But instead of offering positive values and attitudes for individuals to emulate, television has become the international framework for the violence in the society.
Films are often rated according to the level of action in these films, yet children and even adults have come to accept that Superman, Batman, and the Power Ranger characters are violent actions. Children often imitate the actions of their superheroes and carry out acts of violence against their peers. Adults too, becoming violent as a result of the violence that is displayed in these films. Carnagey research proves that violent media create physiological desensitization towards violence and violent actions, (Carnagey 180) because of their “automatic aversive emotional response to scenes of violence,” (Carnagey, 180). Of course, not all viewers will act out the violence that they experience when watching these films. The violent events surrounding the opening of the Batman sequel, “The Dark Knight” shows James Holmes as the perfect example of this adverse effect on one’s emotions as Holmes killed at least ten individuals as he portrayed the sinister, Joker “who encourages anarchists to take over Gotham city,” (Pearson, 2012). The events, according to one of the eyewitnesses Chris Ramos, “was a scene straight out of a horror film," (as cited by Pearson, n.p).
On the one hand, one may argue that individuals must learn to separate movies from real life. But according to researchers, the constant exposure to violent films “have demonstrated that exposure to violence on television can cause increases in aggression,” (Carnagey, p.179). The violence that arises from viewing these films comes through cognitions, arousal and affective pathways that lead to the dis-integration of values and in the society. Interestingly, the violence is these movies are not just physical acts of violence through the use of high powered weapons. The term includes the verbal violence that comes with the use of indecent woks and the emotional abuse that lead to physical abuse against women. Although some producers will censor the profanity in these movies, they are yet to censor the physical fights, the bloodbaths and the excessive use of high powered weapons. In fact, a number of movies teach individuals how to make these weapons of destruction and of course, children gravitate towards these weapons and shoot at their peers and their educators at school. With the changes in media technology come the changes in the types of films that are produced. Hollywood directors create new films that will reflect the actions in the society and therefore draw viewers to the screens. As a result, no one can hide from the violence that exists in the media. There is no doubt then that the violence in movies will impact the lives of individuals in the society, but the question remains: Should there be limits and guidelines to the amount of violence in movies so that the effect of such will lessen?
Movie directors are responsible for the amount of violence that is produced in films. Yet, the senseless killing of men, women, and children in these set into motion many maniacs in the society to kill and destroy. Some individuals may watch them and not become violent, while there are others who suffer from forms of psychotic behaviors and these movies will undoubtedly increase their desire to become violent. When one looks at the violence in Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, one sees the extremity of the violence that Hollywood directors include into a simple comic book story. Most individuals today grew up seeing the hero in the Marvel series as one who saves the innocent victims. But, this revised edition shows Captain America saving the world even as he carries out acts that takes the lives of innocent bystanders. What does this truly say to the society? Individuals will look on and conclude that one can be violent if one can justify the act.
In conclusion, the society has become the haven for regular violence as violence is in the home, the schools, the streets and recently the church. Do we really want violence on the television networks that were designed to entertain and keep individuals relaxed? Televisions should provide a means of escape for the violence in the society. Televisions should be a place where individuals can relax and drown out the sorrows of a hard day’s work. But, sadly, this is not likely to happen as television offers the highest level of violence that the society is exposed to in modern times. The government should therefore find ways to force film-makers to reduce the level of violence in these films. Arguably, violence sells, but the reality is that the society is not ready to ‘sell’ the lives of innocent children and adults who are victims of the psychotic individuals who wish to practice the violence that they see on the television. Therefore, the government needs to increase the laws on censorship and force movie makers to rethink the amount of violence that they put in films.
Carnagey, Nicholas L., Anderson, Craig A., & Bartholows, Bruce D., Media Violence and Social
Neuroscience - New Questions and New Opportunities, Association for Psychological Science, Volume 16—Number 4. 2007. Web, 6 July, 2015
Pearson, Michael, Gunman turns 'Batman' screening into real-life 'horror film,' CNN. 2012.
Web, 6 July 2015