Do violent movies cause people to be violent? Violence is a very delicate topic and it raises the attention of producers, because they are affecting lives around the world, the movie producers see this as an opportunity to bump up their ratings by making violence more popular. Aiming to keep profits high, they target young adults through advertisements and keeping them informed with previews about what movies are coming up next. Research has shown different aspects of violence in creation by media sources, news, publishers, and even books written specifically based on the effects of violent behavior in movies affecting people’s lives. There are diverse ways in which to consider the rating for violent movies, and different laws are passed in every country regarding the age that people are able to watch a specific violent movie. At a young age children are more vulnerable to practicing what is filmed on the big screen. Arguments are seen in the public eye, as a way to stop the creation of violent movies and create or recreate stories which are suitable for the public eye to view without endangering their way of living in a normal society. This subject also answers to what is the cause for gun violence, drugs, gangs, attempted murders, and a large variety of vicious attacks in society. It is known that the mind acts as a triggering device which takes actions based on what images or information it has received. Negative information or images are processed through and give out a harmful response to the collector or to the people around him. Harmful, downbeat or depressing movies can change a characters view on things or can change their personality. It might bring back depressing moments in someone’s living or make them feel insecure about things in life, making them choose wrong options, doing drugs, mistreating their family, breaking laws etc. These are some examples of how people react to a violent movie, by identifying the argument based on reality.
On Children and Teenagers. According to research that is dated not only in present, but also in long passed years, violent movies tend to affect mostly children and young adults. Watching violent movies does not only affect the youngsters’ behavior and tendencies to violence, but it also causes lower grades in classrooms. In the article Adolescents who watch violent films get poorer grades in the classroom written by Richard Gray Science Correspondent for Telegraph.co.uk, Dr. James Sargent, a pediatrician at Dartmouth Medical Center and the scientist who led an investigation concerning effects of violent movies on children, says: “These are young adolescents who really should not be watching this type of adult material. Watching a lot of violent material seems to crank up their rebelliousness.” Violent movies disrupt sleep and leave children not so eager for hard work and concentration in classrooms, which automatically leads to a considerable drop in grades and accumulation and assimilation of knowledge. The same research also proved that students with excellent scholastic results dropped from 50% to 25% in grades. Other studies, though few of them, have compared various types of TV violence in United States, Japan, and Spain. Japanese television illustrates fewer physical of fatal injuries that the U.S. or Spain. Another study has shown that increasing violent expression of teenagers is directly linked to the violence on TV and movies in other countries. A child who is exposed to raging shows at ages 6 or 8 predicted aggression 2 years later among many boys and girls in the United States, Finland, Poland, and Israel. A new question rises: Why and how do children have access to headstrong programs? Who should be considered guilty for it? On Psychcentral.com, in an article entitled Movie Violence Can Overwhelm Children, by Rick Nauert PHD Senior News Editor, Keilah Worth, the leader of the study says:
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In Britain, no adolescent would be admitted to these movies unless they were 18. The R rating in this country is clearly not preventing our young people from seeing them . . . We know so much about the harmful effects of exposure to violent media content, but how much exposure children actually get has been largely ignored. Now, we’re learning more about the large numbers of kids seeing this material and who they are . . . We should re-think the current movie rating system, which has been in place for 40 years, and was designed when kids could only see movies in theaters. Ratings need to be more prominent on all movies, whether they are seen in theaters or purchased in the store, and we need clearer messages to parents. Pediatricians and child advocates should instruct parents to strictly abide by the movie-age guidelines and to closely monitor movie viewing.
Is the rating system responsible for it? Is it the government’s fault for not setting stricter laws? Or the parents are guilty for a not so strict supervision of their children? This question is yet to be answered. On one hand, the government is responsible for what is aired on TV and for the ratings in theaters. Movies rated-R, such as Scary Movie, which show a high number of extremely violent acts, should not be at hand for young adolescents. Although it is contraindicated for a person aged between 10 – 14 years to be able to attend such shows, according to Extension.iastate.edu, an average of 12.5 percent of an estimated 22 million children age 10-14 watched at least one movie that is rated-R, but has a higher level of brutality. Scary Movie was watched by an estimated 10 million children (48% of 10-14 year olds). As a fact, cartoons are 5 times more violent than most TV programs. On the other hand, the technology today is so easy to use, anyone can do it. Illegal downloads take place everywhere, so it would be easy for a youngster to get anything digital. Everything is as close as the push of a button. Although punishments for piracy are severe, children are irresponsible and easily impressed by others who do it. Internet downloads fall under the “jurisdiction” of the parents. Strict supervision of the child when using a computer is absolutely necessary, until the child reaches a proper age for him to know what is good and what is wrong for himself. Culture, religion, and the way a child was educated in the family are also important, but in a lesser manner.
Why do children do it? Why are they so desperate about watching violent movies? Some think that this is a ritual, some king of passage from a child to a teenager or from a teenager to an adult. Others believe that it is pure rebellion against parents and society, which is caused by violent movies (this explanation tends to be circular so some doubt its validity). In any case, what we know is that we must not encourage and we should prevent (if possible) children from watching high-ranked in violence movies, letting them lead a normal childhood and develop themselves as beautiful, well-rounded individuals. There are several problems that have draw questions upon themselves. For example: at what age should be children allowed to start watching violent movies, rating brutality in movies, which movie would be suitable for what age or the existence of “good violence”,. The term “good violence” appeared in 1960’s, when TV channels broadcasted racist violence against African Americans. Some people believe that this is not violence, because it was released under the title of “news”. Others believe that no matter why is out there, is still violence. The topic is still argued by the two sides, and it would probably be debated a long time from now. But there has been reached a compromise concerning film ratings:
YMaterial – is suitable for all audiences, no violence; Y7Material – is suitable for older children, may contain fantasy violence; GMaterial – is suitable for general audiences, very little or no violence; PG – Parental guidance is suggested, may contain some violence; 14 – Parents are strongly cautioned, could contain moderate amounts of violence; MA – Mature audiences only, contains material not suitable for children; In addition to this rating system, all of the television shows have sub-ratings. The sub-ratings include “V” for violence, “S” for sexual situations, “L” for explicit language, “FV” for fantasy violence, and “D” for suggestive dialog. These ratings help parents limit what their children watch. (suite101.com pg2)
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How parents can help. There are many and different ways which a parent can use to get to his child, and control, in one way or another, what the kid is watching without letting it seem like a total control, which most teens and young children hate. Some examples would be: media-free bedrooms for the children, common TV areas and family TV time, lack of free and unsupervised Internet access, suggesting a change of channel when the scenes become violent, discussions concerning the subject et cetera. A parent can also use Internet to research movies and their ratings so they will know what to let their young ones watch and what not. A different approach may be needed for different persons but the key is perseverance. As a parent, you should not give up when your daughter or your son finds new ways to watch whatever they want without you knowing. There is always a solution for these problems.
On adults. Any differences based on sex or race? The effects that violent movies have on adults are not as researched as those on children and teenagers, probably because as the time passes by and a person already formed his or hers personality, it is hard to change that personality through an exposition of violent moving pictures. Recent studies have shown that the impact on adults does not differ from one person to another based on race or cultural provenience, proving equality and offering a good starting point for any race, but also removing myths that said some cultures are more violent than others. On the other hand, there is, or better said, was a difference between genres. Since women began being treated as being equal to men, aggressive behavior had increased in female society. In recent years, violent female characters appeared in movies, and it became more acceptable for a women to act freely and violent. However, compulsion will increase in both genres as long as brutal models are shown and promoted by the media. Even though this kind of movies affect adults too, it is hard to deny one’s access to them. For example, a patient in a mental institute is suing United States because of the desire to view movies that contain violence, suicide and nudity. The patient, Larry Filliung, has strangled his girlfriend and was found not guilty by reason of insanity is requesting a change in rules, because the institute controls which movies can be viewed in groups and which not. Filliung’s lawyer, Mark J. Heyrman, says that people like his client will one day be released and that “sheltering him from controversial topics does not help him reintegrate into society.”
CRITICS AND CRITICISM
Movie critics have a compared a multitude of movies to real life incidents, or better said tragic events. By drawing parallels between those two, critics have reached the conclusion that many terrorist attacks have their roots and draw their ideas from violent American movies, such as Independence Day or The Siege.
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