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The aim of this paper is to show basically how media affects our society and our behavior and this will be done through violence. This research is going to emphasize first the fact that we are all exposed to a huge amount of media and even if we think that we are not affected by it, this is called Â«the third person effectÂ», media has a wide impact on people and this will also be shown through some theories that will help us understand this phenomenon. The first step will be to understand how violence through media is changing our behaviors and also our perception of the world. In addition, being exposed to this content result in a deviant behavior, simply because as we are going to see humans learn from imitation and modeling. Secondly as we all know in order to provide a consistent paper we should also analyze the opposite point of view which is the fact that people need to be exposed to violence because it basically will help them to release their emotions. Thirdly, we will find some solutions that could be implemented in order to diminish the impact of violent content on people. We will also try to analyze some psychological effects that has all this violent content on our behavior because understanding the different aspects of this issue will help us come up with an thoughtful analyze at the end of this paper. After explaining some important points, i will apply the theories to my personal context which is the Moroccan one.
The first point of view is based mainly on statistics that is showing to us that people overestimate violence and this is related to media. The theory that demonstrate this effect was developed by George Gerbner and is called Â«cultivation theoryÂ» or Â«cultivation analysisÂ». The result of that analysis is: Â«Light viewers predicted their weekly odds of being involved in violence were 1 in 100 while heavy viewers said it they were 1 in 10 Â». Many other example are also given such as, heavy viewers were thinking that approximately 5% of the population were involved in some criminal activities when light viewers said just 1%. This theory is showing us that the more you are exposed to TV the more you will see the world as a mean world. In addition, another point that is reinforcing this mean world syndrome is resonance which is basically when you watch something on TV and you hear or live something similar in your real life, this make you trust more and more the media that you watch, you begin to think that it's real.
Understanding this part will show us that even if we think that TV has a limited impact on our behavior, you have to know that it is shaping the reality in which we live and this may not be only applied to violence but to all media content. A huge exposure to media may change your perception of things. However, once knowing this you may work on your-self to diminish the impact that it has on your life.
We can understand from this why Moroccans are creating a deviant behavior, it may be because we are exposed to a lot of external media that is why we are forgetting our culture in order to represent more and more the content of the media we watch. This can explain why the divorce rate is Morocco increased a lot this last few years and can also explain why we drink more and more alcohol in bars even if we live in a Muslim country. It is simply because we try to represent what we see on TV. But you have to understand that what we see on TV is biased, it is only the content that the persons that are creating it want to sell. We also know that violence has the power to sell, because watching violence sometimes will help people feel better and this is the next point that we will develop.
This will also lead us to another theory which is the social learning done by Albert Bandura, it basically says that children learn aggressions from what they see. The experiment that was done was that children saw a video in which a child was beating a doll and after they put the children into a closed room with a doll in order to see if the children would imitate the video. The result of this experiment was that the children imitated the video they witnessed;it is hard to generalize this theory because beating a doll doesn't require the same rage as beating a human being;however, we can say that humans learn from imitation and modeling.(Bandura,Albert). Lets think more precisely, we know that humans learn from imitation, now we have seen that a part of the population is overestimating violence and think that violence is everywhere, in addition, we know that humans cannot think about something they don't know. Then if we removed violence from our media at all, what do you think would be the outcome of this ?
I think personally that it would decrease the violence rate, in order to explain further my point, I m going to act as if i will commit a crime. First of all, i watch a huge amount of violence on TV and everywhere then violence becomes a common issue, and after my crime i will not feel as bad as a should this is a motivating factor that we have to take into consideration. Thanks to media, I also know that many techniques that will help me to not be caught by the police, such as finger prints, to wear a mask, and also if needed to change my license plate. My point is that i would never say this or even know if i wasn't watching NCIS each week on TV. Another important point, is that sometimes we tend to imitate our heroes, and sometime people overestimate their strength because of that. We also know that a person that knows all this and is overestimating violence outside can easily commit an act of violence. A study done by ONU women shows that Violence against women in Morocco is three times higher in urban areas than in rural areas. This can be understood as more exposure more violence, but we are unfortunately a little bit more skeptical and think that many other factors are behind this numbers such as the proximity of people and also the pressure that we experience living in a huge city such as Casablanca.
The second part of the paper is the opposite side of the debate, we are going to justified why people need violence in order to release their emotions and to purge their own violence into it. Concerning the issue of the root of violence and aggression, Freud and Lorenz, stated that humans have naturally a reservoir of aggressive energy within them. Knowing this we have to find a way that will help us release all this aggressive energy and this is called catharsis. Catharsis is the fact that people watch violence on TV in order to release certain emotions. As an example, a person would watch TV and say why they killed John he didn't do anything! More precisely it is when: Â«Â The execution of an aggressive action under certain conditions diminishes the aggressive drive and therefore reduces the likelihood of further aggressive actions. Â»(Sonja, 2008).
Gerard Jones has written for many comic books such as Green Lantern, Batman,Spiderman and The Incredible Hulk. This writer see fantasy violence as a positive influence on childhood. He said: ï½«I think it has helped inspire some people to real-life violence. I am going to argue that it's helped hundreds of people for every one it's hurt, and that it can help far more if we learn to use it well. (Jones, 2000). This is showing that even a huge exposure to violent media can be sometimes beneficial for you, and also for impressionable adolescent. Violence on TV can be seen as a Therapy.
As Moriarty said according to the Times Los Angeles: Violent drama has been the hallmark of every major civilization since the Greeks. It is not a disease. It is an immunization
against the disease. we have also the example of Cris Cornell that said after disbanded his heavy metal group : "If you think of visceral music and aggressive music, it takes the place of actually going out and shooting somebody in the head. It gives you a chance to release those dangerous impulses without hurting yourself or anyone else." (Cornell,C)
The next point of this paper will be, having all these information also knowing that violence is good for humans and that our behavior can be affected by it, What are the solutions that can be implemented?
We must have access to violent content in media, nevertheless, this doesn't mean that we should be overexposed to it, and since the majority of exposure occur at home we can limit the access to violent content then we will have the control over the behavior of our children and of our selves. In order to be successful, parents should regulate the media content, in addition, they must also discuss with their children about the content and to help them differentiate the real life and the fantasy one. As it is mentioned in the book Handbook of children and the media : "when dealing with fantasy depictions,the most typical cognitive strategy seems to be to provide an explanation based on the unreality of the situation"The major problem is :How they are going to do that if they are not aware of this issue ?
And then come the last point but not the least, which is to develop media literacy for all people.This point is more an utopia, it said that we should simply develop the awareness of people about violence in media,however, this is applicable for developed country, I think personally that as Moroccans we have some more important issue to deal with such as education in our country. And increasing the literacy rate will have an impact on this issue because people will develop more their critical thinking and will differentiate more the real life than the fantasy one.
As a conclusion, lets summarize our findings. People are influenced by the content received through all kind of media and this is proved statistically and psychologically. This problem is resulting from the dominant mainstream, those who create the content are shaping it this way simply because that's what the usual person would like to watch, more drama. This content could have two different impacts on the person, it can sometime affect you directly or indirectly, an indirect example will be once drunk you will tend to overestimate your strength and would like to act as Jason Statham and you are certainly going to get beaten. The opposite side of the debate is simply saying that we should watch some violent content that will help us feel less violent and develop our creativity because we are simply creating another dimension, we have to be careful and keep what is fake in our imagination but how could we secure this thin barrier between imagination and reality? And this is the most important part, after our propositions that are to limit the amount of violent content at home and to develop our media literacy, we should come up with something specific to Morocco. Because we don't have as much violence in the Moroccan channels that in the external ones, I personally think that we should relate this concept to religion, having experienced that through the Â«Holy monthÂ» in Casablanca, i have the feeling that even if we are not literate and we tend to be crazy sometimes as all humans the most powerful mean that we have to use and develop is religion. Religion is helping us to differentiate the good things and the bad things and it is also stated in the Coran that we must not hurt anyone. As the others country will try to develop their media literacy, we will try to use our religion in order to fight against violence and this is how we use religion. Of course I am not implying to forget education in our country because to my mind education is the remedy of many problems, but I think that at this stage, we can start using religion. Imagine a campaign that is based on the unity of all Moroccan through religion through the real values of our country, that are help the people around you and they will help you in return.
The last time I saw a aggression in Casablanca, no one moved to help the victim and this is not the Morocco that I knew where a stealer had to run faster then a hundreds of people.
In order to summarize as in all issues in life there is no right or wrong, we have simply many persons that are trying to understand and to explain what is happening nowadays, and as the world in changing faster and faster, it becomes more and more difficult to explain these phenomenon, this paper has as a purpose to collect some information that helped us shape our point of view concerning this major issue. Removing violence on TV will not help at all because the producers will not sell their movies and consumers will not be simply happy. Letting violence media content be spread all over the world can also have negative impact on people. As we all know everything in life in excess can become a disease; we are just trying to balance the impacts in order avoid living the anarchy. Next time instead of insulting someone, personally, I will think twice and I hope that I will not fall into this world violence that I have to say is so appealing sometimes. We should give the example as educated people and we all know that the most difficult thing to do in life more difficult than kill someone is to excuse and apologies.
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Sonja, G. (2008).Â Communication reception and effects Â» media and violence, media effects theories. Retrieved fromÂ http://www.communicationencyclopedia.com/public/tocnode?id=g9781405131995_yr2012_chunk_g97814051319958_ss9-1
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