Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pro or Con?

The question at the heart of this topic is: "Does media violence lead to real-world violence?" In this case, the "pro" side believes that violent entertainment causes violent behavior, while the "con" side believes that it does not.

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PRO
The "pro" side believes that studies have irrefutably proven a link between aggression in children and violence in the media. They claim that violent media glorifies and justifies morally questionable acts, and may teach children not to solve problems through peaceful means. In the case of video games, critics go so far as to claim that the games "program" children to kill by allowing them to simulate their crimes over and over again in the virtual world before taking the violence into the real world. Overall, violent media is said to give children unrealistic views of the world, and make them more fearful than they should be by giving them the impression that the world is a dangerous place full of murder and mayhem. They highly recommend that parents pay close attention to what their children are exposed to and regulate it to prevent any negative impact.

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CON
The "con" side, however, believes that other factors contribute to violent behavior much more than fictional scenarios. They frequently cite that millions of people enjoy this kind of entertainment on a daily basis and yet exhibit no violent behavior in the real world. Also, they feel that experimental studies on the effects of media violence have been too flawed to draw accurate data from, since many fail to take into account critical variables and are concentrated mainly on younger children, not adolescents and teenagers. They also feel that the "con" side overlooks outside factors like pre-existing mental health problems, depression, dysfunctional families, and relationships with peers.

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For this paper, I will be arguing in favor of the "con" side. The evidence for the "pro" side is somewhat shaky, as many studies only measure short term aggression, and not long-term criminal behavior (although some studies do). The "con" side presents a better argument--one which encompasses many different variables that contribute to situations as difficult to fathom or explain as school shootings and killing sprees. The "pro" side over-simplifies it by placing all the blame on the films, books, television programs, and games that millions of average people are exposed to every day.

Attempts to demonize violent media are not a new trend, and yet media violence is still prevalent. If the public didn't want it around, they would have stopped paying for it a long time ago. In addition to violating the first amendment, censorship of violent media would be illogical. Millions of people see these "corrupting" images every day and haven't gone out and killed their neighbors. Other factors have to be to blame, which is what I seek to prove with my paper.

5 comments:

  1. I completely agree with your argument. Violence doesn't come from watching gory t.v. shows or playing violent games on your PS3. People that exhibit violence after being exposed to this corrupting media have other factors to blame for it.
    I am looking forward to reading about your individual arguments.

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  2. I definitely agree that arguing the "pro" side of this argument could prove difficult. You already have a few good points, such as that if the public truly could not handle the violence existing in the media, they would have stopped paying for it, and that censorship of the media is not only illogical but unconstitutional. I am interested to see your arguments on this side of the issue.

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  3. People have different opinions but i'll go with the con side because there is no reason for violence thoughts to display themselves in action more than the aggressive thoughts caused by frustration in non-violent media. It's really up to the viewer to decide what to watch. If you don't like television violence, they say, and then turn off the TV. That simple.

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