Violence in the Media Violence has been a part of society ever since the days of the caves men, but only recently has television lifted its ban on the graphic depiction of violence. American children and adolescents are being exposed to increasing amounts of media violence, especially in television, movies, video games, and youth-oriented music. Video game violence, children's cartoons, and music lyrics have become increasingly graphic. In movies, action films depict vivid precise murders, rapes, and assaults; with each sequel, the number of deaths increases dramatically. Although media violence is not the only cause of violence in American society, it is the single most easily remediable contributing factor. It is these social networks that present the linkages between individual's socialization and their actions.
Violence in the media can be seen through a sociological perspective, which is the cultural transmission theory. It states that deviance is transmitted through socialization. Since the media is a major agent in socialization deviance could therefore be a result of the violence on today's screen. Media is extremely important as an agent in adolescent socialization because it is this stage that prepares adolescents for roles they will have as adults. It can also be detrimental in previous stages because a 6-month-old infant spends an hour and a half in front of the TV per day. Violence plays an enormous role in influencing people's cultural deviance, which is transmitted through socialization also.
Through cultural deviance, by watching more violent television one can see that aggressive tendencies along with other misdemeanors will increase. This is all because it was exposed at a time when socialization was most vulnerable. There are many Psychological concepts that contribute to people's deviance such as their personality, containment, and also through learning, which is observation of others. Television violence influences behavior through observational learning, by reducing social constraints, and by arousing aggressive tendencies. External social control is the attempt of others to control one's behavior, however, it may not be just control but also influence. Although the viewer may not blindly mimic violent acts portrayed on television, although it is all possible, many factors can contribute to what dictates a viewers actions.
One method by which the media may promote violence is through imitation. Imitation includes more than simply applying a crime technique the criminal learned by watching television. Fictional treatments of crime can inspire and empower potential criminals. Every hour there are 9.7 acts of violence on T.V. and another 21.3 alone are cartoons.
As children watching the competition the coyote had with the roadrunner from Looney Tunes, which always resulted in a violent attempt from the coyote to stop the roadrunner, does not teach that in a sense competition can be healthy. Instead it turns to violence as a way of getting what you want and overcoming obstacles you may have. On most violent programs criminals are shown in jail after committing a crime, which helps to teach young children about the consequences of violence. In Kohl berg's Moral Stages of Development he says that it is in the pre conventional stage that people begin to judge what is right and wrong based on consequences and rewards or punishments. No one suggests that television is the sole cause of violence and crime in society. Although it is a factor it is only because that half of the violence on television is a reflection of our society, we see this through our nightly news.
Another contributing factor however is the violence on the entertainment screen. Television / the media can appeal to the best in each of us or to our worst impulses or weaknesses. This is an example of the control theory, in which everyone experiences pulls or pushes towards various kinds of deviance. Violence being a push of course.
The media here is an outer control system because it is very influential to the forces of socialization. Of course, not everyone who watches a Rambo movie or its television equivalent becomes a criminal but there is however a cause-and-effect relationship between media violence and real-life violence. The harm of violent television is felt most by the already vulnerable segments of the population. Although there have been many proposals to decrease the amount of violence on television, no one has suggested that there should be no violence on it at all. There should be less violence on the screen and in entertainment items overall, and they should most importantly not be glamorized. However over all, in order to decrease violence and get it off the screen, violence in society must also be lessened because that is what is the news today..