All over the world, violence became prevalent, and the rates of its occurrence seem to grow daily. Suicides and homicides became two of the major death causes among American teenagers. It is a rather strange tendency, but nowadays more and more people are dying from shooting and violence. Even the total number of patients with pneumonia, cancer, and AIDS combined cannot surpass the number of murders that occur annually. If we divide the overall number of deaths by 365 days, we will see that almost 90 people die daily from suicides and homicides (Karatzogianni 16). Additionally, the number of violent deaths is twice as big as the number of unintentional and other deaths combined. Regardless of the variety of factors that may be perceived as the premises of violent behavior and adverse outcomes, the existing evidence claims that the problem of increasing violence rates is inextricably linked to the exposure of violence in different sources. Mass media is one of those sources, and this connection should be carefully approached and meticulously researched.
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There are numerous media sources that are available to adolescents and grown-ups all around the world. The studies show that a regular American adolescent spends almost eight hours daily being exposed to video games, music, television, the Internet, and other possible sources of entertainment media. On a bigger scale, interaction with different media sources is considered to be the most prevalent daily activity among adolescents. Sleep is the only activity that surpasses it. Further research in the area presented evidence concerning the fact that an average contemporary teenager will spend almost ten years watching television by the time they will be in their seventies (Rifon et al. 102). The exposure to different types of media may occur through radios, computers, portable information sources, and video game consoles. Regardless, television is still the most preferred method of media consumption among American children. On the one hand, it is safe to say that every other year the number of adolescents that watch television tends to zero. On the other hand, the time spent on the Internet and the time of use of mobile devices are growing unconditionally. Even taking all of this into consideration, there is little evidence concerning the influence of mass media on human behavior.
The idea of the connection between the real-life aggressive behaviors and violence promoted by mass media first appeared in the middle of the last century. The phenomenon of this relationship is being studied up to this day. There are numerous reports available (general statements, mental health evaluations, and healthcare conferences) that confirm the existence of the relationship between real-life violence and the exposure of the public to it (Arif 42). Not so long ago, even FBI supported this claim and named media violence one of the critical risk factors. Later, media violence was found to be a significant indicator of adverse outcomes even among grown-ups (previously this phenomenon was viewed as an issue which impacts children and adolescents only). One of the most shocking pieces of evidence was provided by the Federal Communications Commission. This unit emphasized the presence of a so-called violent programming initiative that is intended to increase the occurrence of aggressive behaviors among those who watch television daily (Arif 69). In order to reach this verdict, a team of trained professionals reviewed more than 2000 of bibliographic entries including the articles which explicitly exposed the negative influence of media violence on the television viewers. The most prevalent outcomes included bullying, spoiled sleeping pattern, causeless depression, and a variety of manifestations of aggressive behavior.
I believe that the future of this issue is rather foggy. Media sources that currently rule the “online world” are rather unlikely to abandon their current tactics and policies regarding the display of violence. The key reason for this is the rating of the telecasts, bloggers, and media companies that dwell on ubiquitous violence and make it seem a rather common routine. Apparently, these days, the younger population is exposed to a huge array of information which does not bear any informative value. Moreover, there is a problem of easy access to the prohibited and relatively unacceptable content. It becomes popular among younger populations, and mass media providers do not seem to care much while they are trying to accomplish public coverage of the events that will raise authors to the top of the ratings. Violence is viral, and I think that we should pay more attention to what goes on around us and bring back humanity.
The duality of the issue of violence in the media should be perceived as one of the most serious problems of the modern world. Often, it is the media that dictates fashion and shares with people the information they want, not have, to see. Overall, this may lead to dreadful consequences because, in the pursuit of popularity and rating, information moguls can forget about the large-scale impact on the population both inside and outside the given country.
Arif, Amna. Influence of Electronic Media in Escalating Aggressive Behaviour in Children. Anchor Academic Publishing, 2013.
Karatzogianni, Athina. Violence and War in Culture and the Media: Five Disciplinary Lenses. Routledge, 2012.
Rifon, Nora, et al. Advertising and Violence Concepts and Perspectives. Routledge, 2015.