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Effects of Media on Society

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"Media Violence - American children and adolescents are exposed to increasing amounts of media violence, especially in television, movies, video games, and youth-oriented music. By 18, the average young person will have viewed 200,000 acts of violence on television" (http: //

For the past thirty years, there has been a debate over violence is the media and whether or not that media violence leads to real-life violence. There are those who would say that yes, violence in the media has and will still lead to real-life violence and there are those who would say that no, the violence in the media does not cause real-life violence. The main concern on this issue of course the effect that the media violence has on children. Especially with the recent school shootings and a rise in violent crimes around the world there has to be something for people to point their fingers at and unfortunately the parent groups as well as others have chosen to point the finger at every single media format. The media formats in question here vary from television to music. From video games to websites and everything in between. There is only one thing that is for certain. This issue on media violence is not going away anytime soon.

"Don't you get it, bitch? No one can hear you. Now shut the fuck up, and get what's comin' to you... You were supposed to love me!!!! (Sound of Kim chocking) NOW BLEED, BITCH, BLEED BLEED, BITCH, BLEED, BLEEEEEEED!" (Source: From the song Kim, by Eminem). (

That right there is a prime example of violence is mass media that is supposedly desensitizing the youth of the world today. In this case it is the music industry that is under the microscope of its critics. The album from which that song came from went on to sell millions upon millions of copies in the U.S. alone. And in Canada where Eminem was bared from playing a concert on the grounds of his lyrics promoted violence the album sold 679,567 in 2000.

" The Universal Music Group , the worlds largest music company, lists Eminem, Dr. Dre and Limp Bizkit all of whom have been criticized for their violent and misogynist lyrics among its top-grossing artists." (

In defense of the music industry Marcus Strife writes, " In a time of modern witch hunts we need to work hard to prove that there either is or isn't a connection. People are too eager to point a finger and find sense and reason for a few horrible acts committed by angry teens. What people fail to see is that the people who commit these crimes are not inspired by music, rather indignation caused by family or school. No one listens to a song and then feels the urge to steal or murder. This concept is ridiculous and parallels the closed-mindedness and rash thinking of the plague, or ancient China's burning of the books. Fearful and sheltering parents have had a literal frenzy attacking music that teens use as a backdrop to their lives. (Teen-Violence and The Music : The Real Connection, Strife)

Marcus Strife concludes the argument of violence in music and the effect it has on people best with" There is no proof on either side that music contributes to violence, but for some reason parents feel content with conjecture and casual observations. On a subject that affects so many one can't make rash judgments. People need to think everything out and rationalize, not jump at the chance to point blame at something. There are other circumstances that must be looked at, such as criminal history, mental status, and family life.(Teen-Violence and The Music : The Real Connection, Strife)

"The Parents Music Resource Center reports that American teenagers listen to an estimated 10,500 hours of rock music between the 7th and 12th grades alone - just 500 hours less than they spend in school over twelve years."

"Entertainment Monitor reported that only 10 of the top 40 popular CDs on sale during the 1995 holiday season were free of profanity, or lyrics dealing with drugs, violence and sex." .

"A recent survey by the Recording Industry Association of America found that many parents do not know what lyrics are contained in the popular music their children listen to."

"In September 1995, Warner Music Group bowed to public pressure and announced it was severing its 50% stake in Interscope Records, home to Nine Inch Nails and controversial rap artists Snoop Doggy Dog and Dr. Dre. Rap artists simply turned to a different distribution network and their CDs continue to hit the stores with lyrics which glorify guns, rape, and murder." (

Video games are the most recent of all mass media formats to come under fire recently by parent's groups and other organizations and are being blamed for the school shooting at Columbine High School. "Senator Joseph Lieberman (1998) stated recently that, 'These games.... are part of a toxic culture of violence that is enveloping our children, that is helping to desensitize them and blur the lines between right and wrong, and encouraging some of the most vulnerable of them to commit violence"(Popular Video Games: Quantifying the Presentation of Violence and it's Content: Smith, Lachlan, Tamborini.).

There are many different views about video games and the effects violence has on society as a whole. Many feel that games are harmful and have no purpose but to serve as an unintelligent and wasteful entertainment. Critics say that video games take innocent young children corrupt them with the images of death and destruction. "For example, players in Grand Theft Auto 3 (the best-selling game ever for PlayStation 2) earn points by car jacking, and stealing drugs from street people and pushers. In Carmageddon, players are rewarded for mowing down pedestrians -- sounds of cracking bones add to the realistic effect. The first-person shooter in Duke Nukem hones his skills by using pornographic posters of women for target practice, and earns bonus points for shooting naked and bound prostitutes and strippers who beg, "Kill me." In the game Postal, players act out the part of the Postal Dude, who earns points by randomly shooting everyone who appears -- including people walking out of church, and members of a high school band. Postal Dude is programmed to say, "Only my gun understands me."

Yet there are still others that feel that video games are only an extension of humans' innate



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