Please note my extreme sarcasm in my title, I assure you I do not want to punch anyone, but it is an increasing anxiety for society that with exposure to violent video games, movies and television people are becoming more and more violent and aggressive.
This anxiety is particularly pressing with children, society is afraid that too much violent media can lead to the learning of aggression. Alfred Bandura conducted a “bobo doll” experiment to show that children could in fact learn aggression. Children participating in the experiment were told to watch a short video documenting a woman hitting a bobo doll, they were then placed in a room with a doll and left and of course they also began to hit the bobo doll because that is what the dolls are designed for.
In 2014 a teenager said to be ‘obsessed’ with the show ‘Dexter’ was jailed for killing his girlfriend. During this case the court was told that the teen, Steven Miles, had a fascination with horror films. He was also diagnosed with Autism and had told his family he had an alter ego called ‘Ed’ whom told him to kill someone. Psychiatrists agreed he was not psychotic but the reason behind ‘Ed’ was never discovered.
It has been shown that children to not become violent because of the things they watch or the games they play but usually because of family dysfunction, a parents marital breakdown, neglect or bullying from their family.
Society is also worried violent media will affect the entire population, In 2013 actor Jim Carrey distanced himself from film ‘Kick-Ass 2’ because in the wake of the ‘Sandy Hook Shootings‘, he could not support the large number of graphically violent scenes. Mark Millar, creator of ‘Kick Ass’ comic books responded saying “I’ve never quite brought the notion that violence in fiction leads to violence in real-life any more than Harry Potter casting a spell creates more Boy Wizards in real-life” he insists the movie focuses on the consequence of violence rather than the violence itself. Actress Chloe Moretz also commented “It’s a movie. If you are going to believe and be affected by an action film, you shouldn’t go to see Pocahontas because you are going to think you are a Disney princess. If you are that easily swayed, you might see The Silence of the Lambs and think you are a serial killer. It’s a movie and it’s fake, and I’ve known that since I was a kid … I don’t want to run around trying to kill people and cuss (in real life). If anything, these movies teach you what not to do.”
Obviously the media has an affect on us but it is up to us to decide how we handle it in our lives. Millions of people view violence in the media, it is entertainment or it is news, viewers do not consider to re-enact what they see. These violent tendencies reside within the personality of an individual, weather they watch violent media or not.