Sex and violence in media refer to depictions of aggressive and violent behavior that particular characters direct at their colleagues in a media story, play or material. Those characters portrayed can be human beings or animals, cartoons or real visual objects. The general public tends to concentrate more on the graphic aspects and intensity of a scene in determining its degree of violence. However, children’s cartoons have the highest frequency of television violence, but the public does not view them as violent. It seems that the affectively positive aspects of humor or animation qualify such depictions as violence. Therefore, media violence entails both graphic explicit and the extent to which it harms the viewers.
The communication media today portray and reveal too much explicit content. Technological evolution has brought a lot of harm to the human sexuality than before. Today, there are numerous ways of accessing these erotic contents. These include print media, social networks, internet, films and music.
Print media such as magazines and newspapers today publish a lot of explicit materials than before. Besides, there are sexy magazines that are printed and sold to people in the black markets. Even though not legalized, they operate secretly and sneak them to their customers. They publish nude pictures, sex styles and provide tips on adult human sexuality. Many teen girls depend on magazines for information regarding sexuality, fashion and designs. Children/teens openly discuss sexual issues such as sexual health, teen pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
Films are yet another category of media that portray sex and violence to people today. There are a lot of uncontrolled sites that offer pornographic content. Adolescents watching movies theaters, and later on the same movies are aired by TV stations. The same contents are also available for them in the video tapes. Even though most of these movies are R-rated, they contain more frequent and explicit portrayals that induce sexual behavior. The TV channels mostly show sexual activities between unmarried couples who are often under the influence of drugs. Such characters end up showing their nudity to their viewers. (Simpson 127)
Social sites such as facebook and twitter are arenas of sexual exhibition. Users of these sites enjoy posting and commenting on nude images of themselves, their friends or edited images that are internet generated. These images are accompanied by very violent messages or pictures. Today, children have access to these sites at very tender ages. Facebook and other social media are technological advancements that came into existence in the early 2004. During my childhood, such advanced internet sites did not exist. Besides, there was limited access to internet enabled electronic gadgets such as tablets, i-phones and simple mobile phones. Even if they existed, they were very expensive and not everybody or households could afford them. Perhaps one could only access the internet through computers. Furthermore, those computers were not much advanced and could hardly support mobility. As I mentioned earlier, today there are millions of electronic gadgets that can access the internet at the go. They are also very light and pocket friendly that people can carry them everywhere and reach their services wherever they want to. (Williams 3)
Music is another communication medium that portrays a lot of explicit content. Most of the lyrics sung today are full of sexually appealing words. There are just compositions narrating the artists/artistes had sexual intercourse and made love with other people. The worst of all is their video shots. Some of these songs are better to listen to than watch. Artists and artistes show nude images shot under low light. The videos also involve sexual moves which are seductive and very appealing to the youths in specific. In fact, today many youths do not enjoy much of ‘decent’ video clips as they do to the explicit content. Renowned artistes worldwide are very comfortable exposing more than three quarters of their bodies to their fans as they their romantic lyrics. When I was a child, music was a mere composition of very organized words and phrases that often relayed good messages to their listeners. Furthermore, music sought to entertain members of the society in a very decent manner rather than cause sexual arousal. Artists and artistes took their time composing lyrics that could be listened to by all members of the society without causing any shame.
Negative effects of media sex and violence on children
Video and internet games also have adverse effects to children. Exposure to violent games significantly leads to increases in real-life aggressive behavior. Game players are less likely to display ‘helping’ behavior and empathetic responses. Gaming is likely to increase the tendency towards aggressive behavior, particularly in the adolescent age group.(Gentile 5)
Social sites have also been used by hackers to prey of children. They are imposters who use very unsuspecting glamorous images as their profile pictures. Overuse of sites such as facebook and twitter has negatively impacted on the users’ health. This has promoted anxiety and depression leading to more psychological disorders. Those children also become more susceptible to future health problems. These sites can also be distracting especially to the children’s education. This is because many teens cannot avoid temptations to check of facebook during lessons. Whenever this occurs, they withdraw their concentration from class and this leads to adverse effects on their learning. (Williams 2)
Audio and video music has induced several violence and sex oriented problems to the youths and children in specific. Music form of entertainment powerfully engages the children’s emotions. This ends up commanding a greater percentage of their behavior because they tend to imitate what they watch on those videos. Artists/artistes in many cases stream very violent motions together with their lyrics. As the children enjoy the songs, they are also exposed to this violent scenes and they latte on tend to imitate what they watched. This has led to many cases of aggressiveness, homicides and assault. Furthermore, music videos relay certain themes; have sexual explicit and violent acts mainly targeting women. They also portray drinking and drug abuse as fashionable and the glamorous. These may have a significant behavioral impact through making teenagers to approve of premarital sex, drug abuse and drinking.
Excessive television viewing has several psychological effects on the teenage viewers. It can lower the limbic development leading to anxiety. It also kills the imaginative ability of children and they can hardly create interesting stories but only duplicate what they had watched on TVs. Television violent scenes also teach children that they can only solve their problems through violent methods. This makes them look down upon the social consequences of violent behavior and they go ahead to commit crimes by hurting others. For instance, if a child watches a hero successfully use violence in solving a problem, he or she is likely to use violence in real life situations to find solutions to his or her problems. (Williams 1)
TV programme that a child frequently watches determines his or her degree of aggressiveness in the future. Therefore, watching aggressive television is associated with aggressive behavior. This is because television and aggression feed off each other. Children who persistently watch a steady amount of television violence connects it with realistic situations. Such children also tend to identify themselves with the violent heroes. Finally, children tend to reproduce the contents that they watch on television in their environment whenever there is need. This is imitation of what has been learnt from the content viewed from the television screens. The problem comes in when a child does not discriminate the contents chosen. Many children rush into copying content from the TV shows without any little knowledge of their consequences. (Sampson 167)
Negative effects of media sex and violence on Adults
Like children, adults are also consumers to various forms of media sexual and violent materials. They not only consume but also produce them for their consumers. Many adult people have turned out to be predators waylaying and preying on teenagers in the media.
Adults who watch violent films are likely to suffer from aggression as well. This aggression effect is facilitated by the realism and the identification with violent characters. Viewers glued to such films have emotional effects that play a role in the encoding aggression in adults. Memory rehearsal and fantasizing about aggression strengthens the storage of aggressive content in the long-term memory. This enhances the retrieval of these aggressive scripts from the memory whenever a social problem emerges.
Fear is another side effect of exposure media violence. The fear can either be short-term or long-term. Many adults who watch horror movies may not have enough courage to compose themselves soon after the show. They keep on remembering the horrible scenes. This can lead to an illusion of fear that they keep on imaging that bad things would happen to them. Persistent fear can lead to behavioral emotional upset. Furthermore, some adults find it difficult to make decisions when facing dilemma. They do so in fear of being very aggressive and making more mistakes than finding solutions.
Adult women who expose themselves in the media often face rejection by their families, friends and the society at large. Their nude pictures are insults to their family members and those whom they are very close to. It is true that at times they find themselves in the public platform without knowing, but in most cases they give their consent for the publications.
Problems of sex and violence media portrayal need urgent mitigation before they go out of hands. Even though it’s very difficult to totally eliminate it from our midst, a lot can still be done in an attempt to neutralize its negativity. To achieve this, all the members of the society must involve themselves. Parents, school administrators and the media providers should take the first step against this menace.
Parents should freely discuss sexuality with their children especially during the pre-adolescence stage. They should let them know and understand their body parts and their functions. This would help reduce curiosity among those children. Parents who do not feed their children with that necessary information are risking their children’s lives because the children will seek those answers elsewhere. This is the true cause of indecent information that children and youths share in the social media. Again, parents should have parental control in all their electronic gadgets at the disposal of their children. This will help in controlling their access to dangerous websites that offer indecent materials such as pornographic violent movies. Parents should also constantly monitor what their children access and consume from the internet and other forms of media.
At school, the high school administrators should put in place measures that totally bar the use of electronic gadgets such phones and tablets. In doing so, they will be creating a high quality environment for reducing sex and violence. Teachers should concentrate on identifying the most common forms of violence and sensitizing the students towards such violence. The teachers should also react reliably to them in time before they get out of hand. However, schools should introduce these violence reduction measures from the early grades throughout the school curriculum. In the end, the whole school community will embrace these measures and sex and violence on the media.
Children and adults addicted to sex and violence in the media should go for proper guidance and counseling. This will help them recover from the harm that they have gone through. This counseling can be either online or face to face. Face to face counseling can be done by special youth groups or religiously oriented organizations which can provide help to those needy individuals. On the other hand, online counseling is internet based. Today, many counseling organizations offer online services because it provides more solutions to youths’ problems than face to face counseling. This luck of one on one communication can help naïve victims to express themselves better. This is because some victims especially children can fear facing adult counselors and hence fail to give them some important information willingly.
Finally, youths and children should often seek help whenever they sense danger while using a particular media. They should also avoid responding to suspicious requests from the ‘so called’ online friends. They should relay such information immediately to the persons managing those sites, their parents and teachers. They should also sign up into websites they understand well. Where there is doubt, they should seek guidance in time to ensure that nothing goes wrong at all. Adults should also avoid indulging into suspicious online financial deals, movie sites and porn related sites. These sites are addictive and they may end up suffering throughout their lives.
In conclusion, communication media is can offer both good and bad impacts on their users. Parents must therefore, follow keenly what their children consume from these various forms of media. They should device parental controls to guarantee their children’s future. On the other hand, adults should choose wisely what to associate with from the media. They are mature enough to make their own sound decisions and should not become victims of circumstances.
B, Simpson. Children and Television. New York: Cntinuum International Publishing Group,
Gentile, D.A., & Anderson, C.A. Violent video games: Effects on Youth and Public Policy
Implications. thousand oaks: sage, 2006.
Peter, A. Andersen and Myron W. Lusting. “Communication Monographs.” Regional patterns
of communication in the United States: A theoretical perspective. 02 June 2009:
Williams, Ray. “Psychology Today.” 2 March 2012. Is Facebook Good Or Bad For Your Self-
Esteem? 28 January2013