Violence in the Media

  • Violence in music, on television, and in movies are a part of a pattern in society which keeps this country a high-violence society.
  • Other research indicates that media violence has not just increased in quantity; it has also become much more graphic, much more sexual, and much more sadistic.
  • Explicit pictures of slow-motion bullets exploding from people's chests, and dead bodies surrounded by pools of blood, are now commonplace fare.  Millions of viewers worldwide, many of them children, watch female World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers try to tear out each other's hair and rip off each other's clothing.  And one of the top-selling video games in the world, Grand Theft Auto, is programmed so players can beat prostitutes to death with baseball bats after having sex with them.
  • Busy parents who want to protect their children from media violence have a difficult task before them.  The CMPA found that violence appears on all major television networks and cable stations, making it impossible for channel surfers to avoid it.
  • Nightly news coverage has become another concern.  In spit of falling crime rates across North America, disturbing images of violent crime continue to dominate news broadcasting.  As news shows compete with other media for audiences, many news producers have come to rely on the maxim:  "If it bleeds, it leads".  Violence and death, they say, keep the viewer numbers up.  Good news doesn't.
  • As well, movie ratings are becoming less and less trustworthy in terms of giving parents real guidance on shows with unsuitable content.  PG-13 movies tend to make more money than R-rated films, and as a result, the industry is experiencing a "ratings creep":  shows that the Motion Picture Association of America would once have rated R are now being rated as PG-13, in order to increase box-office profits and rental sales.
  • In movie theatres, there is some control over who watches what.  But at home, there's little to stop children from watching a restricted movie on one of the many emerging specialty channels.  Kids may also have access to adult video games at the local video store.  In December 2001, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission reported that retailers allowed 78% of unaccompanied minors, ages 13 to 16, to purchase video games rated "mature".
  • To make supervision even more problematic, American children often have their own entertainment equipment.  According to the Annenberg Public Policy Center, 57% of kids aged 8 to 16 have tv's in their bedrooms, and 39% have gaming equipment.