Media Violence: Effects on Youth
Media Violence: Is It Corrupting Our Youth? Ever since the Columbine massacre, there has been many people who blame video games for violence among our youth. In the past few years, it has become normal for all branches of media to depict violence as an everyday thing. Because a vast majority of children watch television or play video games, it is no wonder that adults try to make the connection between the two. Although the media can have an affect on kids, there are also a great many socio-economic factors involved in a child’s behavior.
This is the problem our society faces now that some people say the media can influence your psyche, perspective, and overall behavior, but so do your friends, so do your parents, so do your teachers, so do books. The real question is who is to blame? Movies, music, television shows, video games, none of these things actually make people commit crimes. Violence in the media and the real world rise in violence among children is not a cause but merely a coincidence. A person is an accumulation of their real life experiences.
Children do not turn into a crazed maniac after playing a computer game or seeing a movie with violence. The easiest place to obtain a mind for violence is from a home setting. Adults want to find an outside source for the growth in violence among children instead of taking the blame first hand. It is the parents, those actually responsible for this corruption, who try to suggest otherwise and negligence on the part of those who seek to find a different cause. Adults seem to steer away from the increasingly true fact that our whole American society is doing this to its younger generation, and not just the media.
To prove this, news reports after the Columbine massacre in which two troubled teens go on a murderous rampage, attribute the kids actions to a violent game called “DOOM”. The media is not the problem, because kids will act violent regardless. This tragedy was a result of a mixture of bad peers, bad home life, and the friendship of two people who had anger problems. The parents would have based their actions off of something else if they did not have games like “DOOM” to avoid scrutiny.
Many times kids have outbursts of odd or dangerous behavior that they know will get them in trouble, but instead of taking the blame, they attribute it to some other source, although in this case, it is the parents and news media who do this. An example of this type of behavior is the circumstances surrounding the famous Salem witchcraft trials, where young girls resorted to blaming their unholy actions solely on another person or the devil. These days, the “devil made me do it” and “witchcraft” excuse has lost its credibility.
Now people have to find something else to take the blame and what easier target than a violent videogame. It was not DOOM that made these kids do what they did, but a mental instability, a penchant for violent behavior, and other psychological factors that did. Sure, they can model their multiple homicides after their favorite video game or death metal lyric, but in the end, they still killed people because they were mentally unstable and antisocial. I firmly believe a greater fault in issues like these lay with the parents, as they are ones that are supposed to teach their kids right from wrong.
Later in the investigation, the attention did finally turn to the parents and what they did wrong, but the bad light that had already been put on those types of media has never vanished. With each of these types of cases, rarely do we ever hear of investigations of how these children were raised or what their environments they grew up in were like. A cause for the rise in violence is the fall in interaction between kids and their parents, which can create mental separation where the child does not feel important. This could cause kids to act out, mainly through violence, to get attention from the adults.
Parents need to step up their parenting skills and do what they need to do, instead of pointing fingers at everyone else. If these kids are troubled, anything can trigger violence and misbehavior. We have natural logics that develop to what is right and wrong and what is fact and what is fiction. One of the key factors in this development is the parents and other adults in the child’s life. Adults are more influencing to kids than TV shows and video games, so adults should take responsibility for how the child acts.
If parents seriously believe that violent media is doing this to their kids, then they should control what the kids can and cannot be exposed to. There are plenty of examples of how not to behave out there. It is up to each person and/or their parents to decide what is and is not acceptable behavior to emulate and fill his or her head with. At the end of the day, regardless of the outcome, we are responsible for our actions. If a person were to compare violence in youth here in the United States and violence in youth in the rest of the world, the person would see that there is little if any correlation between media and violence.
It is the people who raise the kids who corrupt them and not the media. Personal responsibility has been slowly eroded over the last twenty years to a point where people are no longer responsible for being morbidly obese or going on crime sprees and murdering people. Personal responsibility is not only a moral and ethical imperative for society; it is liberating and strengthening for an individual. This type of blame shifting is at the core of what is wrong with society today. People need to stand up, take responsibility, and finally make a change.