Media, not to blame

Some people believe that the violence we witness, especially younger generations and teens, can influence us to commit acts of violence ourselves. Games like Call of Duty, or movies such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, both show the ruthless slaying of human beings. But that’s where the debate sets in. Does showing a slasher movie or playing a war game decrease the moral boundary and make it easier to dehumanize and then inflict pain upon a person for no reason?

Video games are rated E to Adult, each respectively rated for game content and age appropriateness. Movies are rated G to Adult, and are rated for the same criteria. Rated M games are supposed to be for people ages 17+, and Adult-rated games for audiences ages 18+. But, with that noted, I’d like to point out that Call of Duty is a game, rated M, that is dominated by people under 17. Also, R-rated movies are watched by close to all ages, either with or without parental consent.

English teacher Cole Deike has some thoughts on the issue: “Children are more susceptible than older people, and they are more prone to listening to the social media more than adults and parent-figures. The younger an individual is when exposed to the violence, the more dangerous it is for them to be influenced. On the other hand, though, they are just games, and as long as the child has learned a moral boundary, it’s their choice if they choose to be influenced and act on it.”

On another view, what about the older people and the influence thereof? It may not be the age that makes a person more susceptible to the increasingly violent games and media. It may be the maturity level, the level of functionality and possibly mental illness that plays a major role. Take the Aurora shooter who used the new Batman movie as a way to terrorize and kill many people. Did that have anything to do with the media? Or was he just a victim of mental illness and irrational thoughts? Are there others out there, watching, playing and committing violence because the media has lowered moral standards and have made it easier for a person to dehumanize and therefore “justify” unnecessary violence?  Or are we just choosing to let the media influence us and then use that as a means of justification?

Video games are just that: video games. From Pacman to Lollipop Chainsaw, they’re still a means of entertainment, and the violent content is up to the player and his/her preferences for fun. Lack of morals is the basis of unnecessary violence and the willingness to commit them onto innocent people. Games and movies are just what they say they are: movies and games. If parents deem a game or movie too violent or graphic for their kid, that’s their choice. It’s not just to say that the media has a dominant influence on the populace and can be a reason for the increasing violence and local terrorism. It can be a factor, but the idea that the media is the only reason is ignorant. It alone is not solely responsible for the violence. The upbringing, past, mental illness and being a victim of violence all play their parts in the physical aggression of this generation.

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