Violence in movies negatively impacts children

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Photo Courtesy of BagoGames//Flickr

By Mayumi Herrera

Powerful movies and programs often portray important concepts and ideas through visionary images, compelling scenes, and riotous sounds, all of which have a lasting effect on someone’s development and behavior. Though it may not be obvious, the media is often used for purposes beyond entertainment.

Today, with easy access to media forums such as YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram, advertisement is spreading more exposure and interest in movies and programs that depict violent content. While violent content on television, movies, and video games may seem intriguing to their respective audience, it perpetuates the normalization of everyday brutality.

For instance, “The Fast and The Furious,” series may appear to be about luxury cars and family loyalty; however, a closer look reveals violence is the only way out of trouble. The entertaining movie fails to show the true consequences of violence by portraying easy access to firearms and explosives, ultimately sending the message, that fighting is the quick fix and abusive behavior will be rewarded in the end.

The University of Michigan found that American children watch an average of three to fours hours of television daily, and The National Television Violence Study says 69 percent of all programming reveals violent content such as war, bombs, accidents, and guns.

While some would argue that children may understand that what they see in the media is unrealistic and not a part of the real world, everything a child sees and hears early in life will affect them somehow later on, whether fantasy or reality.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major effects of seeing violence on television can include: children becoming less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others, more fearful of the world around them, and them becoming more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others.

Extensive research done by the American Academy of Pediatrics finds that violence in media is one of the many causal factors that affects real-life violence and aggression. High levels of anxiousness, aggressiveness, and fear take over a child’s world causing him/her to think and behave abnormally. Violence in mass media evoke concerns regarding potential effects on individuals, most importantly children and adolescents.

Although violence is essentially a terrifying and dehumanizing concept, it is critical to recognize it in order to truly understand society and human nature because violence is a part of who we are. Humans are attracted to violence, therefore, movie directors and television show producers will continue to depict violence, regardless of its negative effects.

Let’s face it: we are a society that thrives off of violence. Therefore, it is crucial for parents to step in and guide their children in order to better understand the content they are watching. It is best if parents intervene and encourage a responsible portrayal of violence. Thus, parents must be attentive and actively engaged with their children’s interests in media entertainment.

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