Controlling Adolescents' Exposure To Violence In Media

2522 words - 10 pages

The debate about violence in media, such as video games, has been going on for years now, however, there is no definite answer on what to do about it. Should adolescents be able to differentiate between video game fantasy violence and real life? Is it partially the parents’ fault for not controlling their access to these games? Perhaps there is more to it than just the scientific side of things. Adolescents should be able to differentiate violence in video games from real life and be able to recognize patterns in gender role and age. In turn, adults should be held responsible for what the adolescents play by controlling access to this media in the first place.

Adolescents should be able to differentiate violence in video games, and any kind of media, because of the examples that their parents and elders set for them. If a researcher were to perform a study on the effects of media on adolescents, most people would find that the adolescents that the media does affect negatively probably have other problems contributing to their perceptions. These problems can range from a hostile household, to poor examples the parent or parents give, and even to mental illness. If most adolescents are shown a game like Mortal Kombat (made by Capcom ©) they will be able to differentiate that it is in fact only a game. Mortal Kombat does explain why each fighter is fighting and puts profiles in their games for the characters purposely. These profiles delve into the backgrounds of the characters and their origins. The game also has fantasy elements such as different realms, which makes it obvious that the adolescent should be able to distinguish that it is only a game for enjoyment and that they should not go out and repeat what they saw the characters doing to each other.

However, studies have shown that media does create violence in adolescents. Researchers state that, “the most frequently cited mechanism by which the games can result in aggressive behavior is the social learning theory” (Sherry 413). The researchers go on to argue that since game players are rewarded for performing violent acts in the video games adolescents may transfer this to the outside world. Another mechanism researchers cite for the effects of violent video games is the general arousal method. This method says that the highly violent games provide the arousal that is necessary to become more aggressive (Sherry 413). These arguments are valid and open up the controversy on video game violence, which has been going on for years.

“Video games have been a pan of American life since the 1970s” (Bushman and Funk 1). Around the late 1970s video games were becoming more advanced. This is around the time that the first violent video game came out. Parents started to become concerned about the themes their children would grasp from these games. However, it was not until 1992 with the release of Mortal Kombat (Capcom ©) that the debate really escalated (Bushman and Funk...

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