Tuesday, September 23, 2008

School Shootings and the Media

Sorry for being a day late on this. Word is just now spreading that there was a massive school shooting in Finland today. As someone who studies media violence and particularly video games, i wonder how long it will be before the press mentions that the shooter played violent video games. It always seems to be a talking point with the press. Perhaps this time we won't hear anything about it, but my money says it will be mentioned.

This brings me to another point. Media violence is typically stated as an influence in these types of events. What is your view. Does violence in the media spark these type of mass killings. Give me reasons and arguments to back up your beliefs. What do you think is most responsible for these violent actions. Remember, two paragraphs please.


cheriem said...

I do not think the media (video games, violent movies or any violent media)is to blame for most of the violence that people do.

I played violent video games as a teen and even older... they simple relieve stress. If I sit down for a few minutes to watch TV, play video games or watch You tube, I actually escape from reality for a short period of time and relax. I do not think we can blame things like this for real life violence.
I have seen the bloodiest movies, war, scary, horror whatever and I repeat...it has never crossed my mind to ever hurt anyone.

It may be true that it makes different people react in different ways, but for me it does not change who I am or my actions.

I think that people are sick prior to doing those type of violent acts and anything may influence their judgement.

Torie Thacker said...

I do not believe that media violence plays a big part in violence, just like I do not believe that a celebrity getting pregnant is to blame for a 14 year old girl having a baby. I do not understand why people always blame the media for everything. Sometimes I just want to slep them across the head and ask, "Why can't people be responsible for their own actions?" That is the way I have been brought up and that is the way I continue to think. If I see someone shoot another person on television, it does not give me the urge to go shoot a person walking down the street. I know that what I am watching is not real.

I believe that a lot of blame can be put on parents. These days parents are always wanting to blame everyone else for their children's mistakes. If the children were brought up knowing that not everything you see in the media is true, there would be no problem. Parents do not want to take responsibility or accept that their children did wrong.

Kayla Roberts said...

I do not think media violence is the reason for shootings or any other bad thing that happens. There are plenty of people in the world who play violent video games but they do not pick up a gun and shoot everybody. Maybe it gives them a way to do it but I do not believe it is the cause of it.

Although I do believe you are responsible for your own actions, I think other people are somewhat responsible. Everyone that has done the school shooting was always a unpopular person, maybe nerdy, or someone that was not in the "in crowd." I bet most of these people were treated unfairly by other people. We do live in a cruel world, I hate to say it but it is no secret. People aren't nice sometimes. I think how we treat people plays a HUGE role in other peoples everyday lives. "Treat others as you would like to be treated" - I don't think most people live by this anymore.

Matthew & Ashley said...

In our society today it seems that noone wants to be blamed or take the blame for anything they or someone else does. In the case of most school shootings, the kids who commit these crimes give warning signs that something is not right. The signs, though are widely ignored and later brought up by parents, are there no matter how small they are. I strongly believe that violent video games and the like are no excuse or valid argument for these actions.

Parents should keep their children from playing these games at a young age and teach them what is acceptable behavior. That being said, parents are not the sole responsible party for what their children because the free will. A child takes in what their environment is but from there decides how they will act and must take into account what consequences can come. .

Sandy Ward said...

I can remember as a child watching the Three Stooges which most people would not think of as being violent. In later years my mother said that the reason she quit letting my sister and I watch them is that we would get very aggressive and try to do the “poke in the eye maneuvers”, hitting each other and basically mimicking what we had seen on television.

As many other people have said in earlier posts, I watch movies and series with violence in them, but it does not make me want to go out and hurt others. I own guns, but do not go out and hurt or kill people. So while I believe that media violence does create an atmosphere of aggressive behavior in some individuals, that ultimately it is not guns that kill, it is people who kill.

Caroline said...

Courtney Parham

I believe that media does influence some people’s actions but only to a concern extent. Many children play violent video games and never hurt another person. Other children may play really happy games but we don’t see them constantly smiling. Just because someone chooses a certain video game doesn’t mean that they will make a life-changing decision because of it.

I read once that someone that watches violent television believes violent things will happen to them. The article did not say that people watch violent television and immediately do violent things. The media portrays real stories to inform the public, they are not made up. With that being said, people are acting violently everyday and people want to learn about these things. The media plays the most negative stories for ratings and to inform the public. The media is trying to make money just like everyone else in the world so they are not to blame for the violence in the world.

Paula said...

How coincidental...? In my Psych & Law class we are studying Theories of Violence, and Albert Bandura's theory of moral disengagement and how our society is thick in the middle of it, with disregard for other persons, no consideration of consequences, or responsibility for actions. Plus, the ease of placing blame elsewhere.

The media is a scapegoat of sorts, with people being too quick to judge...hence the "no acceptance of responsibility" part, and people forget (or don't realize) that there might be many other factors that cause such violence.

To me, while there are certainly outside factors that contribute to this violence, the ability to choose a humane action over an inhumane one, is absent in the mental or psychological makeup of a person. Their mental processes are lacking.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that media violence is to be the total blame for violence such as school shootings, but I do think they can play a role. There have been several cases of school shootings where the kids doing the shooting were known to have played certain video games and became almost obsessed with the characters in those games and eventually started acting out those characters.

However, I also believe that there are other things that lead to this type of violence. Family life can be a factor. Social circles can be a factor. How they're doing academically can also play a part. Reading the signs can be difficult, but there are many different things to watch for. Parents and adults who work with kids, especially teens, need to watch closely before its too late.

Mike Tullis said...

The problem in modern society is the trend to always blame someone else. Personal responsibility is something that was forgotten years ago. Little Billy grows up and becomes a criminal that murders people, rapes women, and commits robbery. Oh no, he must not have had enough hugs as a child or gotten a pony for his 8th birthday. It's not his fault he's a complete psychopath. It's mommy and daddy's fault. It's because of the bullies in high school that gave him wedgies every day. The reason is there's always going to be someone who is disturbed enough to commit these horrible acts. Pick anything you want to blame. Games, movies, music, the neighbor's dog telling you to do it. There is always a need for humanity to understand the basic question of "why." That's why media gets blamed most of the time. It's the most accessible and easiest conclusion to reach to make Joe Public sleep better at night.

I play violent games all the time. If I have a rough day at work, it's relaxing for me to come home, turn on the Xbox 360, and shoot at people for an hour or so. It's called escaping from reality for a while. I know that it's a game. I also know that if I go out and climb a tower and start picking people off, I'm going go jail. Somebody who's going to commit acts of violence are going to do them no matter what external stimuli act upon them. I don't think Hitler was playing Manhunt 2 before deciding to go out to exterminate the Jews.

Anonymous said...

I feel that there is a correlation between media violence and violent events. Indeed, I too would not be surprised if there was a link between this shooter and some type of media violence. However, this is not to say that media violence is an excuse for such a heinous act. The excuse lies in the individual, not the bestseller at GameStop. One must be responsible for their own actions.

I have four older brothers who could probably open a video game store with all the video games that they own. Are most of them violent games? Yep. Would these video games ever drive them to violence? Not at all. There has to be some type of disconnect between what is real and what is not for the individual. My brothers would never harm anyone due to the type of environment our parents created for us. It is not fair to ignore the influence of media violence, but it is also not fair for media violence to be a plausible excuse for such a heinous act.

Jamayel Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jamayel Smith said...

I feel that the media portraying violence does give an influence in these sort of events but not of its entirety. Even though it should be seen as only entertainment it can be taken in a literal sense. But someone who is so impressionable shouldn't be watching it anyway which are young children and people with mental issues.The ratings of these explicit contents are for a reason and its up to parents to take control of what their children are viewing. Therefore, I feel that media does have an influence on behavior but it is up to the parents to intervene and take control.

What goes on in the media is not meant to raise a child. There are so many possible reasons for the actions that took place in Finland. The shooters could be very rebellious or had some sort of mental issue. At some point children no right from wrong but if it isn't enforced in the home by parental advisory then its not the media's fault but the parents.

Rani said...

I do not necessarily think that media violence is to blame for ones shooting rampage. I think the press picks that up because they have to blame it on something. I have watched violent movies and games, and I do not want to go and shoot up a school.

I believe the kids who participate in shootings have major issues. The family usually notices changes in their childs behavior, but not until it is too late. The world is a harsh and unfair place. Some kids are intimidated by other and do things out of the ordinary. I think kids do it out anger and after the job is done they can not take it back. Some even take their own lives because they think it is the easy way out.

Rebekah said...

I pretty much agree with everyone else. Media and video games are not to blame. The parents of these kids are to blame, or the kid's themselves are to blame. I think the parents are to blame because they should monitor their children. Where does a 14 year old get a gun anyway? Most likely from Daddy's gun cabinet.

If the parents are not keeping track of their kids it is their fault. Also, it is time to blame the kid's. They should be held accountable for their actions. Everyone is born with a sense of right and wrong; they are not using theirs. The kid's are to blame. They know what the consequences are when they perform this type of action.

Matt Middleton said...

Violence in the media such as video games and movies does not play a major role in these types of events. As with everything, there are rare instances where an entertainment outlet such as a video game or a movie can become an unstable individual's reality.

99% of the population that play video games or watch movies characterized by violence do so by taking their intent,entertainment, at face value. Along with many of my friends, I have played many violent games such as Halo. Many of these games induce competitive spirit and offer a means for a couple of friends to have a good time. That being said, there is a minute percentage of the population that is unable to comprehend that media violence is not meant to be brought into the real world. Obviously, there is a larger issue with these individuals responsible for these events than the media. Parents are always blamed in these situations but a majority of the time there is only so much they can do. We as a society must always place the blame with someone. The individuals that commit these acts just can't differentiate between right and wrong, no matter how much help people offer.

Marc said...

I do think video games can have something to do with the shootings at schools and campuses. The brutality in games such as Grand Theft Auto puts an emphasis on shooting people. It makes it seem like its a part of life. I think young children should not but allowed to play such games.

Even though the games may cause some of the problems, I think the parents are partly to blame. They should be more involved in their children's lives. It is a parents responsibility to make the child aware of right and wrong. They should monitor their behavior and if a problem arises, intervene.

Marc Hearst

Lee said...

I believe that generally video games do not influence violence. For example, I enjoy playing video games and watching a good action movie with a little violence every now and then. However, after watching I am not persuaded or feel the need to then perform a violent act.

I believe that violent video games do not influence those who have more violent tendencies. I believe that those people who are violent and perform acts, like killing another person, are mentally disturbed. However, I do believe that they are drawn to violent types of media. They want to participate in watching or playing these games because they enjoy doing those types of things in real life.

Lee Beard

heather b said...

I do not think media violence is related to massive crimes like these. Although there are many violent tings in the media nowadays I do not think it really has gotten worst over the years.If it was the media given out violent vibes in the past there were many other things that children ,ay have been influenced violently.
The way I look at this issue is that if someone is crazy enough to do something as bad as kill people in a school shooting then they are mentally ill and I think no matter what they have watched on tv they are still going to have the same thoughts and motives to do what they have planned.

Sabrina said...

First off let me say that we are dealing with a different breed of children. When I was growing up we didn't have all the violent video games or movies to watch. Do I think that the media is to blame; partially yes. Because kids are influenced by what they watch.

The media probably is going to cover this story and yes it may be blamed on violent video games, movies, etc. But it is the parents responsibility to monitor what their children watch.

Anonymous said...

I don’t think that it is fair to blame the media for violent crimes such as these. Do I believe that at times they encourage violence? Absolutely, but it is not the sole issue behind individuals who commit such horrible crimes against humanity. I think that a lot of things that people do can be traced back to their childhood and how they are raised. There are occasions where this is not true, but for the most part children are a product of their environment.

The media will more than likely blame violent video games or movies for this horrible tragedy. There is so much development in the early years of a child and again it comes back to how they were raised and the environment they spent most of their time.

Christen Reeves

Lynsee said...

I agree with others that media has no effect on people's tendancies to be violent. I have played violent video games for years, and I haven't killed anyone. As a matter of fact my favorite game is Grand Theft Auto (any one will do). I go pick up hookers, and keep them in car for a while spending my money. After they get out, I follow them and beat or kill them to get my money back. That is my favorite thing to do on the entire game. But would I do that in real life between my carpool and soccer mom responsibilities: NO. Is it completely hilarious and ironic? Yes.

People manifest their problems in different ways, and some are just a little crazy to begin with. I miss the good old days when people were crazy and nobody tried to analyze what horrible part of their childhood made them that way. Why can't people just be crazy anymore? America has lost itself in the endless pursuit of why, and forgotten how to just move on.

STACIES77 said...

I believe that parents should strictly monitor video games and other violent materials that children watch and interact with. Violent media is not solely to blame for violence, but it does play a role in the increased violence we see today! In my opinion, it desensitizes children to violence causing them to have no regard for human life, no regard of consequences, or responsibility for their actions.

Like I said, media is not the sole reason or responsible factor for violence today as there are other factors that contribute to violence. However, the ability to choose a humane action over an inhumane one is certainly desensitized by the media, especially in Hollywood!

William said...

Although I view the enjoyment of violent video games as further evidence of our moral decay, I do not solely blame them for acts of violence. Acts of violence are solely the result of their violent perpetrators. Besides, various types of media display scenes of violence. Prior to the gaming revolution cartoons such as the Roadrunner and Coyote were the prevalent forms of violence in mainstream media. At the time I do not recall any one blaming Bugs Bunny for violent acts of crime.

However, this does not totally rule out the fact that media do shape or reality and that violent acts represented in media can influence our behavior. One other respondent mentioned that The Three Stooges invoked her and her siblings to poke one another in eye. This is an incident of violent behavior that was represented as a seemingly harmless act. Although most players of violent video games recognize that this violence should only exist in the realm of virtual reality there is always the possibility that for others the realm between virtual reality and actual reality is somewhat blurred.

Of all the shooting incidents over the last few years there is one thing that all the shooters had in common- they themselves had never been shot. If I poke someone in the eye, after watching The Three Stooges, who feels the pain? If I kill thousands of targets while playing video games do I truly comprehend the pain these actual events could inflict on others? Most would say of course we understand the difference between virtual and actual realities. Again, for some this difference is not that clear cut.

For me the actual question here is not whether video games program us to kill. It’s why they are so popular? What does it say about our society when we indulge in these violent activities? Especially, when we allow our impressionable children and teens access to these violent indulgences.