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An Introduction To The Excessive Violence-A Threat For Our Next Generation

We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future. - Franklin D. Roosevelt (32nd U.S. President).

Youth are the eventual fate of our country; they are the new generation and always socially responsible. The role of youth is very important for the culture, for the society and for the future of our country. So, just as the role of youth is very important in our society, at the same time the presence of Media is also important in our culture and society, because only the Media helps to bring all the endless things that are happening in the world to every person.

The importance of media in almost every place, from television to Computers, from Mobile phones to Internet, we use media almost everywhere and for this reason media is constantly influencing us. But, the worry is nowadays the media promotes a lot of negative information (in the form of violence, illegal content etc.) and our youth generation is suffering the consequences. As a result they are constantly being negatively influenced by the media and leads towards criminality.

Sometimes violence which is promoted through television or video games, often affects their healthy and normal psychological development and they become involved in antisocial activities and later become known as criminals in the eyes of society (Karbi, 2018).

As per a Clinical Psychologist, Westendorf talked about how violent media affects young people. She said that there are researches which prove the media violence increases higher amount of negative aggressive thinking and simultaneously it also decreases in empathy and studies shown that violent teens are also associated in those boys or girls who are also violent; in simply it's a kind of peer delinquency and they become deviant and` it is also based on Sutherland's theory of Differential Association which explains that criminal behavior or criminality is the process of learning through association with other criminals. For example if one is constantly exposed to a criminal scenario, then this will create a greater chance for him to engage in criminal behavior (Ghilzai et al., 2017).

Different types of Media and their mode of promoting Violence:
  1. Television:
    Television contains both positive and negative effects; many studies have looked at the impact of television on society, particularly on children and youths. Here one thing is important to understand that not all shows are bad or promoting violence, but there are some Television shows showing the negative effects of exposure to violence, inappropriate sexuality and offensive languages.

    Television shows directly and indirectly affect the mental development of children and youth and also it shapes their behavior accordingly. For example: Our National Center for Biotechnology Information researched about the effects of excessive Television watching on children, as shown in the following (Impact of Media on Youth and Children):

    Excessive Television watching:
    1. Increases incidence of childhood obesity.
    2. May have a deleterious effect on learning and academic performance.
    3. Watching certain programs may encourage irresponsible sexual behavior.

    Raising a lot of violence on Television increases aggressive behavior, specifically on boys, even sometimes Television publicity increased higher suicide rate on youth.
    There are certain groups of youth, who may be more vulnerable to violence on Television, are youth from minority and immigrant groups, emotionally disturbed, patients with learning disabilities, youths who are abused by their parents & youth in families in distress (Impact of Media Use on Children and Youth, 2003).

    For example, in the year 2019, 12 years old teen Yash Mulick, found hanging from a ceiling fan in their one room tenement on New Year and his father Anil Mulick blamed it on various stunts shown on Television these days. He stated, My son used to watch television channels throughout the day. His favorite channels were the ones which showed various stunts (The Indian Express, 2019).

    A Md. Pediatrician Dr. Emma Raizman gave an interview about- Children's TV viewing affects behavior and she talked about the negative impacts on children and youth of watching violent TV shows, she added - teens imitate what's on TV. It's not only they are imitating it when they watch all these violent shows, it becomes their reality and in this way television constantly promotes violent shows and affects our youth and children (New Study - Children's TV Viewing Affects Behavior, 2013).
     
  2. Video Games:
    Video games are another popular and important tool which also increases a lot of antisocial behavior in youth. Not all video games are bad, some video games may help the development of fine motor skills and coordination, but there are some games, which affect the mental development of youth and children.

    There are some games which exploit antisocial themes, promoting killings, robbery and even some games are promoting rape or the main goal of the game is to rape a mother, her daughter or to rape a Native American women. There is also an ethnic cleansing game in which players can choose to gun down Africans-Americans, Latinos or Jews. After playing such video games children and youth are feeling more aggressive or sometimes they are starting to make louder noises, use inappropriate languages etc.

    According to American Medical Association's Council on Science and Public Health:
    The excessive use of video games increases gambling addiction and certain aggressiveness such as insults, threats, hitting, pushing, hair pulling, biting and other forms of verbal and physical aggression. Some studies have shown that video game use is associated with a decrease in empathy and other socially desirable behavior (Violent Video Games and Young People, 2010).

    For example:
    After releasing The Grand Theft Auto series Video game in Netherland, increased juvenile crime records and the registered offences in 2012 to 15 committed by males aged 12 -18 years and 18 - 25 years in a time series analysis and this is the way by which Media hypnotized our youth and children and increases a lot of antisocial behavior and leads them towards criminality (Arias, 2021).
     
  3. Newspapers and magazines:
    Newspapers and magazines are other sources of Media and it also increases the likelihood of aggressive and violent behavior for both short term and long term. If you follow newspapers and magazines on daily basis, it is often seen that newspapers also promote violent news such as murder, rape, suicide etc.

    So, here the fact is � all the news are true but sometimes editors want to make the news more and more interesting and that's why they are making the news more violent than the actual news and this is how our youth society is getting influenced by degrees. Even magazines often promote unnecessary and sexually explicit images of various porn stars and many times those photos and that news affect our youth society. Because, many times they are involved in rape or capital offences. And also it has a devastating effect on their healthy psychological development, and they tend to be antisocial (Anderson et al., 2003).

    There is a research paper 'How Crimes, Offenders and Victims are portrayed in the Media' by Jessica M. Grosholz and Charis E. Kurbin which contains frequencies, percentages from the Newspapers and it is important to understand what types of crimes reported in the newspapers and how much violent news they are reporting?
Types of News   Frequency for Newspaper Percentage for Newspaper
Most serious crime type reported? Yes 71 100.0
State Reported? Yes 70 98.6
Offender sex Reported? Yes 51 71.8
Victim sex reported? Yes 55 77.5
Offender age Reported? Yes 42 59.2
Victim age Reported? Yes 40 56.3

The thousands of researches suggested that the way by which different types of crime news are being reported in the newspapers these days is very surprising because this news is represented in a negative manner. In this case a research study in United States has shown that juvenile crime rate has increased significantly after reading all these news and one of the major thing is � nowadays these news are really influenced youth in such a way by which they can't decide that, is this a true news or the news are altered because the constant exposure of negative information have impact on the brain and also consuming a lot of news can activate the sympathetic nervous system, which causes the body to release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and when a crisis happens then we are experiencing this stress response more frequently. So in this way one can understand how much news can affect the youth's brain (Impact of Media Use on Children and Youth, 2003).

4. Mobile phones & Internet:
Nowadays Mobile phones are so interconnected with our lives. Almost always we use Mobile phones everywhere, but still Mobile phones also promote violence directly and indirectly.

According to some research mobile-phones facilitate bullying and criminal activity.. Similarly the Internet is also connected to mobile phones and also it contains a huge portion of Media. Sometimes, the Internet promotes violence via social media platforms and there is growing evidence that social media affects youth and children badly. In case of cyber bullying cases: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have become a platform for youth violence (Weimann, 2010).

For example:
In October, police in Germany arrested a 14 year old boy who was accused of plotting violence at a synagogue or a mosque. So we can see that many teenagers are now convicted of various terror attacks but why?

According to the investigation, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) influenced a lot of youth from various countries to join ISIS and spread the terror. Even though there are around 1 billion Muslims under 30, ISIS leveraged age appropriate curated messages and platforms to entice youths from around the world by using various social media handles.

So, looking at this situation one can understand how the Media can be used as a violent tool and how it becomes a threat for our next generation and our society (NSI).

Effects of Media violence and its psychological consequences:
In order to understand the violence in electronic media, one question may appear: why and how violent media cause aggressive behavior? So, Violent Media causes both short term effects and long term effects.

According to the American Psychological Association, the violence in the media found a desensitizing effect and the potential for aggression on youth.
  1. Youth may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others.
  2. Youth may be more fearful of the world around them.
  3. Youth may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others.
(Kids and the Media)

In the year 2009, Mr. L. Rowell Huesmann published an article about The Impact of Electronic Media Violence and he explained various effects on children and youth after exposure of Violent Media, as shown in the following table (Huesmann, 2009):
 
Short term effects Long term effects
a) Priming: It is the slow reaction which causes the changes of the distractor stimulus to target stimulus.
E.g. The sight of a gun is inherently linked to the concept of aggression.
a). Observational learning  It's a Behavioral perspective which includes learning by simply watching behaviors of others but sometimes it affects negatively.
For example: Children can learn aggression, negative behaviors due to the constant exposure of violent content.
b) Arousal It helps to enhance memory for high priority information. So, high arousal generates from violence and makes dominant responses tendencies.
For example: Immediately following an exciting media presentation and such excitation transfer could cause more aggressive responses to provocation.
b) Desensitization: Long term socialization effects of the mass media are also quite likely increased by the way the mass media and video games affect emotions, it can also trigger a range of anti social behavioral characteristics on children and youth.
For example - Repeated exposures to negative emotional response can lead a child to become desensitized.
c) Mimicry: It includes imitation of specific behaviors, which can be viewed as a special case of the more general long term process of observational learning.
For example - If children observe violent behavior, they are prone to mimic it.
c) Enactive learning: Children are constantly being conditioned and reinforced to behave in certain ways, and this learning may occur during media interactions.
For example: Players of violent video games are not just observers but they are also actively participating in violent actions, and are generally reinforced for using violence to achieve their specific target which is very much desirable for them.
There are multiple risk factors present which are able to affect short term as well as long term changes in the behavior of children and youth and if we can't control our children for watching violent media then they may become aggressive and tend to be more aggressive in nature.

Discussion:
It is a very debating question because a lot of research reveals an extensive presence of violence in modern media influences many children and youth to spend more amounts of time consuming violent media. Nowadays many researchers believe that reducing exposure to media violence will successfully reduce aggression and violence.

Though Media also has positive effects such as, Media helps to teach youth new skills and it can be a great way to generate their interest towards outdoor activities and sometimes watching informative and educational shows improve academic performances (Positive and Negative Effects of Television on Children, 2019).

But still we cannot ignore its negative effects on youth because they are more susceptible to peer pressure, low self esteem and can easily be motivated by negative behavior. So if they are controlled from the beginning what they see and what they don't see, instead of watching violent shows or playing violent video games, showing them good positive programs, educational and sports programs because these will reduce the amount of aggression among them. This is how we can reduce the juvenile crime rate in the future and we can lead our youth society in a better gmail.comdirection (Violence - The Effects of Violent Movies on Children and Teens, 2013).

So from now on we have to raise our voices because after all youth are very important for our society and if we can't maintain them properly then our society will not exist in future and similarly we have to stand against various media platforms and make them understand that not to promote such things which will create a negative impact on youth and children and there can be no better way to make their future better.

References:
  • Anderson, C. A., Berkowitz, L., & Donnerstein, E. (2003). The influence of Media Violence on Youth. SAGE Journals
  • Arias, A. (2021, March 10). Do violent video games turn us into violent people? THE BRAG. https://thebrag.com/violent-video-games-and-women/
  • Baycroft, L. (2013, April 8). www.slideshare.net. https://www.slieshare.net
  • Ghilzai, S., Alam, R., Ahmad, Z., Shaukat, A., & Noor, S. (2017). Impact of Cartoon's program on Children's language and Behavior. Siena Journals, 24.
  • Huesmann, R. L. (2009). The impact of Electronic Media Violence:Scientific theory and research. The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the society for Adolescent Medicine.
  • Impact of Media on aYouth and Children. (n.d.). National Center for Biotechnological Information.
  • Impact of Media use on Children and Youth. (2003, May-June).
  • The Indian Express. (2019, January 7). Express News Service. https://indianexpress.com/article/cites/pune/my-son-died-trying-to-imitate-stunt-from-television-show-5526004/
  • Karbi, M. A. A. (2018). The Impact of Media on Juvenile Delinquency in the care of Abu Dhabi and Fujairah - United Arab Emirates. European Journal of Education, 11.
  • Kids and the Media. (n.d.). American Psychological Association. www.apa.org
  • New Study - Children's TV viewing affects behavior. (2013, February 19). YouTube
  • NSI, M. (n.d.). Teen terrorism inspired by social media is on the rise. Here's what we need to do?
  • Positive and negative effects of Television on Children. (2019, June 03). YouTube.
  • Violence - The effects of violent movies on children and teens. (2013, November 22).
  • Violent video games and young people. (2010). Harvard Medical School.
  • Weimann, G. (2010). Terror on facebook, twitter and youtube.
Written By:
  1. Ananya Kanjilal &
  2. Krupa Nishar

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