Statistics in the US show that, the rate of violent crimes had dropped by 15% since 1999, but the number of young violent American is on the rise (US Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2001). This can be blamed on the effect that programs on television, electronic games and movies have on culture. Repeated exposure to entertainment violence and real life experiences are believed to alter the behavioral and cognitive processes of a person. Re-current exposure to violence in society may cause feelings of fear, depression, and anger. Children are the most affected in cases where they are exposed to violence because they are not in a position to regulate their skills of controlling emotions. Prejudiced emotional regulation is likely to influence aggressive behavior in a child.
Violence on all forms of entertainment media is one of the key contributors to violent behavior and consequently a culture that is violence oriented. Movies, internet, video games, and television are forms of media through which violent programs are channeled to youths and children. Violent actions like murder, shooting, stabbing are portrayed in these channels. The young generation gets damaged cognition and adapts an attitude that is based on violence. Some music videos have violent actions and lyrics that make the listener to adopt the culture of violence. A good example is hip-hop and crunk. These music genres “glorify” the use of drugs and violence in society. Violent videos alter the cognition and behavior of a person. The player has to participate in the game and success means adopting a certain violent behavior and the reward is presented as fun. Re-current use of violence leads to the development of a culture that has distorted behavior and negative cognitions. This implies that the human mind is desensitized on what is fun and violence, and the result is distorted moral evaluation. The movies reflect culture as a thing that is incomplete without violence. This is what has made the young and children to adapt to violence because they are used to it and cannot live without it (Strasburger & Wilson, 2002). The other effect of such programs and videos is that they tend to see everything as “fun.” This entices them to make the fun practical by literary putting into practice what they saw on television of in the video games. On the receiving end, an innocent person looses a life or gets an undeserved jail term.
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In the last few years, several influential games have been released to the public. These include Grand Theft Auto, a game that displays racism, violence and has sexual innuendos. Manhunt exploits crimes, and killings. In this game, a person assumes the role of the hunter and the rewards depends on the way the player has “killed” at the end of the game. The other game is Left Behind where a Christians use lethal force to convert people into Christianity. This game is a show of religious bias, violence, and even instances of war. In JFK Reloaded, the player tries to recreate the route that the assassinator’s bullet took to get to John F. Kennedy in 1963. Other games that emulate sexual violence and molestation include Battle Raper (produced By Japan’s Illusion), Custer’s Revenge, Mystique, and Philly Flasher among others (Kohler, 2009).
Some of the most controversial issues surrounding video games is the way some children take the “game and fun” attitude and use it in real life. Most of these games require a person to sit on the couch and play. Lack of physical exercise has contributed to an obese population. People ought to recognize that most of these games espouse violence, sexism, child molestation, religious bigotry, racism, and all the wrong vices in the community (Wartella, O’Keefe & Scantlin, 2000). Repeated watching or participation in these video games or programs has resulted to criminal behavior. For instance, a game like Manhunt is responsible to the 2004 killing of Pakeerah Stefan in Britain, The killer; Warren LeBlanc used a claw hammer (similar to that used in the game) to kill Miss Stefan. LeBlanc’s mother admitted that the son was an ardent player of the video game. One astonishing fact about this killing is that, LeBlanc was Stefan’s best friends. Perhaps it was a case of fun applied in real life. This led to the withdrawal of the game from most of the stores in the developed nations.