“On April 20, 1999, two teens went on a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 13 people and wounding more than 20 others before turning their guns on themselves and committing suicide,” (Staff, history.com.) One theory for their behavior is due to to the violent games they played and the Goth culture they were a part of. Although this theory has not been proven, it is a theory that I seem to believe the most. Benedict Carey from the New York Times thinks they were “video gamers who seemed to be acting out some dark digital fantasy.”
Violence is seen on a daily basis ranging from public places like schools to the private life at home. While many people disagree that entertainment such as video games, television, movies, and music do not have a negative effect on children, others like Alice Park from the Time website seem to believe otherwise. Alice believes that “television, movies, and video games have been a popular target for senseless acts of violence…not to mention metal music and goth subculture, [are] partly to blame,” (Park, Alice).
Alice also talks about a study led by Craig Anderson to answer the question about the correlation of violent video games and aggressive behavior. During the study, 3,034 boys and girls in the third, fourth, seventh, and eighth grade were asked about their video game habits and were “also given standardized questionnaires designed to measure their aggressive behavior and attitudes toward violence.” Overall the violence rates seemed to have decreased as the years went by. As they took “a closer look at kids who played more hours of violent video games per week [they realized the] increases in aggressive behavior and violent tendencies, compared to those who played fewer hours a week.” Anderson concluded the study by saying “What this study does is show that it’s media violence exposure that is teaching children and adolescents to see the world in a more aggressive kind of way.”
Today video games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty are frequently played in American homes, including mine. I am a witness to seeing my little bother and boyfriend get so engaged with these games, it seems like they are literally fighting. My six-year-old cousin and his friends are also aware of these games and will act them out.
I myself engage in violent TV shows like Law and Order Special Victims Unit. The violence appearing in this show can be labeled as torture because the detectives are hurting the suspects to get information out of them. Below is a clip from the most aggressive detective on the show, Stabler. In this clip you can see him put his hands on many of the suspects. He also humiliates them and lets them know that he is in control of them. Many times throughout the show, his colleagues and chief tell him he has an anger problem that needs to be fixed. Yet, throughout all his out lashes, he is still allowed to work as a SVU Detective. This makes it seem as if his behavior were allowed. The sad part is that these fictionalized shows have to be inspired by something, and in real life, cops and detectives are violent and unfair.
Through all these different forms of media teaching us how to be violent and aggressive, we are learning and putting this information into action. Society as a whole has drawn up new ideas of what is just and what is unjust. Even between my mother’s generation and my generation, the difference in our aggressive behavior is clearly portrayed. While I find violence acceptable under circumstances that can threaten my life or my family’s life, my mother believes we should never “drop to that level” under any circumstance. It is evident that the media is teaching todays generation that violence is okay, therefore suggesting torture under the right circumstances is acceptable.
Benedict, Carey. “Shooting in the Dark.” <i>The New York Times</i>. 11 Feb. 2013. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/science/studying-the-effects-of-playing-violent-video-games.html>.
Park, Alice. “Little By Little, Violent Video Games Make Us More Aggressive.” (2014). <i>Time Inc</i>. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. <http://time.com/34075/how-violent-video-games-change-kids-attitudes-about-aggression/>.
Staff, History.com. “Columbine High School Shootings.” <i>History.com</i>. A E Networks, 1 Jan. 2009. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. <http://www.history.com/topics/columbine-high-school-shootings>.