Kids, Violent Entertainment and Violent Behavior

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For those who wonder at the incidence of violence among school-age children, consider the following idea:

Kids learn by example and by repetition.

The abundant violence depicted in television programming, movies, music, and video games provides values and behaviors for kids to model and practice. More than that, they offer opportunities for kids to witness or practice (via video games) violent behavior without consequences.

Frequent exposure to portrayals of violence desensitizes kids to the impact of violence. Violence then become acceptable, perhaps even expected and “cool”.

Oddly, examples of compassionate behavior, wisdom, and intelligence are far rarer in the  entertainment  media than those of violence, foolishness, and stupidity.

Thus, examples of violence predominate, and the coincident trends are evident in our news.

Those who would beg off the implications of such simple observations by citing the absence of scientific studies have failed to exercise their intelligence or powers of observation. They are excuse-makers. Like the tobacco industry, they deny or disavow what observation and reason reveal.

Where did such excuse-makers learn to rely upon external authority in place of their own powers of observation and exercise of intelligence? — indoctrination or cultivation of self-responsibility? Such persons think of discipline in terms of punishment, rather of cultivation of desired attributes. “Violence is just human nature and can only be controlled by punishment.” Others simply assert their right to business-as-usual because it brings them profits: “Not my responsibility.” “First-Amendment Rights!” They ought to remember that the success of a democracy depends upon the wisdom of the populace. A third group is simply intellectually lazy or undeveloped; they promote the standard slogans: “Fight poverty.” “Fight AIDS.” “Fight family violence.” Fight this, fight that. By speaking figuratively, this way, they reinforce the standards of violence in our society — and perhaps they have failed to recognize the necessary difference between fighting conditions and establishing desirable conditions.

If all kids are exposed to the same media, why do some kids become violent and others not?

A fair question.

Some reasoning leads us to the idea that some kids are predisposed to violence more so than others. In general, males, more than females, are predisposed to physically violent behavior, as evident in the games they adopt, most of which involve dominance or some form of violent behavior. Among males, some are more irritable, more aggressive, less self-controlled, and less sensitive to the consequences of their actions — whether because of temperament, family and social experience, immaturity, or poor health. They act out — and they don’t feel much. The casual cruelty of which children and adolescents are capable is well-recognized, isn’t it?

Many adults value this imbalance between the impulse to take action and the capacity to experience the results. It is a necessity for a soldier — and also the soldier’s sacrifice. For society in general, it is a state of disease. In that state, individuals need violence and extremes of sensation to feel much of anything. Many also drink alcohol to avoid feeling. In an actual sense, they are split personalities — the product of a split-personality culture.

Nonetheless, without examples as to how to act out, kids would not choose the extremes of violence about which we hear in the news; they wouldn’t as likely think of them — and if they thought of them, they would be less likely to find extremes of violence satisfying, rather than saddening or horrifying.

Violence is trivialized in the  entertainment  media — TV and movie  entertainment , music, and video-games. Even  news  has ceased to be rigorously newsworthy and has been reduced to the level of  entertainment . (Of what value is it to the broadcast audience to know details about traffic accidents and crimes? Is this actionable information? Never mind the public’s oft-proclaimed “right “to know; does the public need to know? Do we want to know? Do we benefit from knowing?)

Violence in the mass-media is the “tobacco” of  entertainment . It should be regulated, and more healthful options should be promoted.


Source by Lawrence Gold

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