Donate
Menu

Do Now #58: The Effects of Violence in Media

| January 19, 2013 | 29 Comments
  • Share:
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Email
from PBS video What Next: Violence in the Media

screenshot from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2


To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDEdspace and end it with #KQEDDoNow

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.


Do Now

Is there a link between aggressive behavior and the portrayal of violence in the media? Do movies and/or video games make us violent? Does video game violence affect us differently than movie violence? Please respond to any of these questions.

Introduction

Mick LaSalle, the film critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, seems to think so. In his article Violent Media Poisoning Nation’s Soul, he argues, “The interaction between real-life and movies is complicated. Some will claim that movies influence behavior, even as producers will invariably insist that movies only reflect society, as though movies were some unobtrusive aspect of culture, unnoticed by the world. The truth is that movies and society influence each other in ways that overlap and are therefore arguable. But clearly something seems to be going on, and something is in need of changing.”

He acknowledges that there may not be an immediate causal connection, but in this piece describes his “epiphany” after the killer in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado dressed as a Batman villain gunned down people in the “The Dark Knight Rises” audience last year. The film didn’t cause the killing. But there must be a connection. Dark movies that glorify carnage associate these images with pleasure in the minds of theater-going audiences. Gratuitous slaughter becomes cool.

“… it did seem to me that the soul-crushing chaos of the film – ultimately reflected in what happened in Aurora.” LaSalle, 1/2/13

Many entertainment writers disagree. Christopher Ferguson at Time maintains that it is irrelevant that James Holmes chose this screening as the venue for his killing spree. Batman had nothing to do with it. He argues in a Time Magazine story Don’t Blame Batman for the Aurora Shooting “The wishful thinking underlying this impulse is that if we could get rid of those cultural influences, mass homicides would go away……”

CinemaBlend’s Katey Rich agrees. In her post entitled Don’t Let Anyone Blame The Dark Knight Rises For The Colorado Tragedy, she quotes Anthony Lane The New Yorker, “no film makes you kill”. “That goes double for what happened in Aurora. Leave the art out of it, and focus on the ways to actually prevent something like this from happening ever again.

Resource

Watch What Next: Violence in the Media on PBS. See more from After Newtown.

PBS video What Next: Violence in the Media – Dec. 12, 2012
Is there a consensus about violent media and violent behavior? How should parents respond to what their children see? An in-depth analysis on the culture of violence in the media.


To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with@KQEDedspace and end it with #KQEDDoNow

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.

We encourage students to tweet their personal opinions as well as support their ideas with links to interesting/credible articles online (adding a nice research component) or retweet other people’s ideas that they agree/disagree/find amusing. We also value student-produced media linked to their tweets like memes or more extensive blog posts to represent their ideas. Of course, do as you can…and any contribution is most welcomed.


More Resources

KQED News Fix post San Francisco Film Critic Mick LaSalle on His Call For Less Violence in Films
It’s a rare moment when a San Francisco Chronicle Columnist finds common ground with the executive director of the National Rifle Association. That happened this month when Chronicle film critic Mick LaSalle put out a call to stanch the flow of cinema carnage. Wayne LaPierre of the NRA made a similar appeal just weeks before. Both were responding to the Dec. 14 massacre of school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Explore: , , , , , ,

Category: Do Now

  • Share:
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Email

About the Author ()

Maxine Einhorn is from London and has lived in the Bay Area for 12 years. She has worked in adult education in London,UK, for over twenty years as a tenured instructor and department manager. She has an MA in Film and TV from University of London and has taught, moderated and appraised academic work in film studies and media literacy at undergraduate and college level. She runs the ESL/ Post Secondary project at KQED which offers media-rich resources for and created by ESL educators.
  • Pingback: Friday in AP | Ms. B's Class is Online

  • Pingback: Friday in AP | Ms. B's Class is Online

  • Bailey B.

    Video games and movies do not physically make you go out and hurt someone or cause violence. Although they do not make you go out and hurt someone, they do give you ideas of how to hurt someone which can result in violence. Games and movies may show you things and make you want to go out and try to do these things which can result in someone getting hurt or maybe even death.

  • Bailey B.

    Video games and movies do not physically make you go out and hurt someone or cause violence. Although they do not make you go out and hurt someone, they do give you ideas of how to hurt someone which can result in violence. Games and movies may show you things and make you want to go out and try to do these things which can result in someone getting hurt or maybe even death.

  • andrew dove(west jeff)

    i dont think violence in media affects people they just try to use it as a excuse to get off for the bad things that they have done.

  • andrew dove(west jeff)

    i dont think violence in media affects people they just try to use it as a excuse to get off for the bad things that they have done.

  • Victoria T (west jeff)

    Video games have been very popular among many age groups. Most of the best selling video games involve some type of violence in them. In my opinion, children who are playing these violent video games will be affected negatively by these characters that they see in these games. The children will think it is normal to carry guns, fight each other, and perform violent actions that are shown on the video game. At a young age, children are easily influenced. If the child plays these violent video games on a daily they will gain influence from the character in the game and idolize them. These popular video games will affect the lives of these gamers in a negative way.

  • Victoria T (west jeff)

    Video games have been very popular among many age groups. Most of the best selling video games involve some type of violence in them. In my opinion, children who are playing these violent video games will be affected negatively by these characters that they see in these games. The children will think it is normal to carry guns, fight each other, and perform violent actions that are shown on the video game. At a young age, children are easily influenced. If the child plays these violent video games on a daily they will gain influence from the character in the game and idolize them. These popular video games will affect the lives of these gamers in a negative way.

  • Katherine H.

    I do think that violence in the media does negatively affect kids. Its a proven fact that kids imitate what they see, so if violence is rampid in the media,kids will eventually think its okay. The influence of the media on today’s children is uncanny, so we should watch what we allow our children to see.

  • Katherine H.

    I do think that violence in the media does negatively affect kids. Its a proven fact that kids imitate what they see, so if violence is rampid in the media,kids will eventually think its okay. The influence of the media on today’s children is uncanny, so we should watch what we allow our children to see.

  • kristiana c.

    i think that video game violence is more affective then movie violence.there is a link between the two because the things you do in video games can cause you to want to do these things . video games violence and movie violence dont affect me at all but maybe to younger people it may affect them. it all depends on you and your mind set.

  • kristiana c.

    i think that video game violence is more affective then movie violence.there is a link between the two because the things you do in video games can cause you to want to do these things . video games violence and movie violence dont affect me at all but maybe to younger people it may affect them. it all depends on you and your mind set.

  • Abraham Tsegaye

    No I don’t think that there is a link between aggressive behavior and the portrayal of violence in the media. I’ve played video games, and watched plenty of violent movies growing up, and I feel no impulse to be violent at all. I think video games violence are funny and just a way for people to have fun. I know for a fact when thousands of people die in a video game, people laugh and think it’s cool. When the the children in the school’s in connecticut were killed everyone was hurt and moved. Showing people have hearts and video games wouldn’t make them more violent.

  • Abraham Tsegaye

    No I don’t think that there is a link between aggressive behavior and the portrayal of violence in the media. I’ve played video games, and watched plenty of violent movies growing up, and I feel no impulse to be violent at all. I think video games violence are funny and just a way for people to have fun. I know for a fact when thousands of people die in a video game, people laugh and think it’s cool. When the the children in the school’s in connecticut were killed everyone was hurt and moved. Showing people have hearts and video games wouldn’t make them more violent.

  • Richan M.

    I think there is a link between agressive behavior and portrayal of violence in the media. A lot of crimes try to portray video games. Some people take it as just a game, but others take it literal.

  • Richan M.

    I think there is a link between agressive behavior and portrayal of violence in the media. A lot of crimes try to portray video games. Some people take it as just a game, but others take it literal.

  • http://mallorieswork.weebly.com Mallorie F

    In video games and modern media, violence is highly present and some people believe that the media is the cause for such violence in the United States. In the United States, there is a high crime rate, with the situations similar to that of reality. I believe that the person playing the games interprets the way they want. I play video games occasionally but I do it as a stress reliever. I also enjoy watching action movies because the movement of the actors and film directors amazes me. There are some instances where the actor of the horrible crime blames their actions of media, for example the shooting of 2012 in Colorado during the premier of “The Dark Night Rises”. I believe that the film industry and virtual gaming industry will never stop making the films and games the way that they are now in modern times.

  • http://mallorieswork.weebly.com Mallorie F

    In video games and modern media, violence is highly present and some people believe that the media is the cause for such violence in the United States. In the United States, there is a high crime rate, with the situations similar to that of reality. I believe that the person playing the games interprets the way they want. I play video games occasionally but I do it as a stress reliever. I also enjoy watching action movies because the movement of the actors and film directors amazes me. There are some instances where the actor of the horrible crime blames their actions of media, for example the shooting of 2012 in Colorado during the premier of “The Dark Night Rises”. I believe that the film industry and virtual gaming industry will never stop making the films and games the way that they are now in modern times.

  • mia h

    Violence and the influence of it from movies i believe affects people.Viewing it , seeing it everyday repeatedly will put a damper on you.

  • mia h

    Violence and the influence of it from movies i believe affects people.Viewing it , seeing it everyday repeatedly will put a damper on you.

  • Jordan

    I am a freshman in college and in my English class we’ve been talking a lot about pop culture and how movies, TV shows, etc. influence us. We watched Colin Stokes on TEDxTalks and he spoke about how children movies may influence our opinions of male and female roles in society. I enjoyed reading this article because it definitely goes along with what we have been talking about in class. My own personal opinion is that violence in media will not cause someone to go on a murder spree. People that are linking those two together, I think, are going to an extreme to try and find an answer for all these devastating events. People who are mentally stable will not mix the line between reality and fantasy, but I do believe media can influence people’s opinions and actions on a much smaller level.

  • Jordan

    I am a freshman in college and in my English class we’ve been talking a lot about pop culture and how movies, TV shows, etc. influence us. We watched Colin Stokes on TEDxTalks and he spoke about how children movies may influence our opinions of male and female roles in society. I enjoyed reading this article because it definitely goes along with what we have been talking about in class. My own personal opinion is that violence in media will not cause someone to go on a murder spree. People that are linking those two together, I think, are going to an extreme to try and find an answer for all these devastating events. People who are mentally stable will not mix the line between reality and fantasy, but I do believe media can influence people’s opinions and actions on a much smaller level.

  • jose

    I think that movies and video games don’t hurt anyone out in the world except people who have problems.

  • BigDaddy

    I know video games depend on the person. If someone with a violent past plays call of duty then he’s likely to be violent. But if a non-violent person plays call of duty then their not going to be violent.

  • emran

    Video game violence affect us more than movie violence because in video games it feels like it is u in the game you control the player and you do everything in the game. In movies it shows murders or other thing but people wouldn’t go and kill people randomly to make them feel good.
    -E.S

  • SM

    I believe that having a violent video game doesn’t make us violent because in some people there are a brick wall beetween were we know whats right and whats wrong.

  • Linda

    I think that movies have more impact than video games because movies make people become criminals

  • Young butter

    I dont think games or movies would mess with someone because its really just a game and how would you get the resources and the guns.

  • Zak

    Everyone has a choice in how they act in their own life. .Serial killers and rapist don’t base their actions on things they see on tv. They base their actions on how their life prospers. Their are millions and millions of kids who play violent video games and they have never shot up a school or had physical altercation probelms. If violent video games DID cause behaviour problems, then we’d have a world filled with uncontrollable criminals running amok, destroying property and causing harm to people. Since we have not descended into anarchy as a result of the existence of violent video games, the answer is clearly NO video games do not make us violent.