For many years, researchers and professionals have tried to find out whether or not the portrayal of violence in various media causes real violence in the society. From the point of view of psychology, it has been proved that violent media has a significant influence on children’s psyche. For example, “a 1998 survey of more than 2,000 third through eighth graders in Ohio showed that increasing hours of television viewing per day increased led to the increasing prevalence of symptoms of psychological trauma, such as depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress” (Cantor, 1998, p. 24). Nevertheless, what are the mechanisms of this influence? There are only few researches, which reveal the main techniques of violence in the media, which has a direct influence on human beings. That is why the research problem – “Does the usage of special techniques in the portrayal of violence in various media cause violence in society?” remains rather actual.
It has been proved that there are some ways of violence depiction, which might influence viewers. According to Comstock, Paik, and Murray, they are:
· The main characters of violent media are depicted as heroes who are rewarded or remain unpunished for their actions.
· There are no consequences portrayed, such as real emotional and physical pain, remorse, or legal consequences.
· The perpetrator’s motivation is to cause injury or harm.
· There is a lack of critical explanations or non-violent balancing events (Comstock & Paik, 1991; Murray, 1994).
What are the consequences of it? Firstly, viewers of violent media begin to accept violence as acceptable or even desirable notion, and aggressive action is for them justified. Secondly, vulnerable viewers who are provided with a false depiction of the reality of violence may be more likely to engage in violent behavior as they are unaware of the real consequences of it. Finally, violent images can act as a trigger for the viewers who are predisposed to aggression (Brown, 1996).
Nevertheless, the theory without concrete examples cannot fully reveal the research problem. Let us analyze the influence of violence in advertisements for children. The study, which has analyzed advertisements in Australian children’s magazines Total Girl (female-oriented) and K-Zone (male-oriented) from 2004 through to 2010, has revealed that a total of 9.8 percent of the advertisements contained at least one act of violence. Violence is mainly depicted in the advertisements for video games (11.5%), toys (5.1%), DVDs (1.3%), and oral hygiene products (1.3%). The concrete techniques to influence the psyche of children are violent images and verbal calls for aggression. For example, the majority of images in the advertisements of computer games portray throwing, punching, pushing, and tackling. The texts in them are the following, “Zombies are nothing to be afraid of. Especially, after you’ve beaten them silly with their own arms. Choose your weapon. Pick your battle” (Baxter, & Perkins, 2012).
In conclusion, violent media has a direct impact on children. The main reason is special techniques used in it. In general, they are a presentation of perpetrators as heroes, depiction of no consequences, creation of false motivation, and the lack of critical explanations. The study conducted on Australian children’s magazines has revealed that violent media is a common notion in children’s advertisements. The main methods to depict it are violent images and verbal calls for aggression.
In my opinion, that a lot of media viewing causes psychological disorders and depression. Especially in the children.
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