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Violence in the Media

Reann Ragoo
Professor Hansen
SSCI 306, Section 11
March 24, 2015

Abstract
This paper explores the effects that violent media has on teenagers. Violence and aggression can
be seen by what teenagers see in the media. Teenagers are most affected by media violence
because of the exposure to violence in television shows, movies, music videos and lyrics, and
video games. This paper talks about when teenagers look at movies or listen to music, it shows
them a sense of what violence is considered to be and they think it is okay to copy these and
make it into a reality.

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Violence is like sand at the beach; it is everywhere. Violence and aggression go hand in
hand. Aggression is considered to be shown through abusive language, assault on self and others
and violent threats to others. It is the physical aspect of violence. Violence is considered to be
aggression in action. There are many causes of violence such as violence in the home, frustration
that builds up, or violence in the media. Teenagers are most exposed to violence in the media
because when watching television or listening to music, there is majority of the time some sort of
fighting, usage of guns, or killing. There is no way to protect teenagers from violence in the
media because there is no control of what teenagers can watch or listen to when they are with
their friends or at school. . As difficult as it sounds, violence will always be around. People will
always be ignorant and senseless, which may lead to some type of violence. The age group most
affected by media violence is teenagers because of the exposure to violence in television shows,
movies, music videos and lyrics, and video games.
Exposure to violence in television shows and movies can cause a teenager to have
physical and verbal aggression leading to bullying, violence in schools, and participation in gang
related activities. Majority of shows and movies shown on television has something related to
violence. For example, the television series, The Following is about a serial killer who
communicates with other serial killers and forms a cult of believers following his every
command. This show portrays that killing is acceptable and when children are watching shows
like this it can make them believe that this can be a reality. In the article, Correlations of Media
Habits across Time, Generations, and Media Modalities, by Grace S. Yang states that
children may develop positive values and attitudes toward television viewing and adopt media
viewing habits consistent with those views (Yang et al, pg. 358). This study did an experiment

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on how long parents watched television and compared the results with their offspring watching
television. The experiment showed that children watched as much television as the parent did.
Out of 523 children and 335 parents, the mean of children watching television was 19.91
compared to parents who had a mean of 18.79 (Yang et al, pg. 8). This shows that when children
are allowed to watch a large amount of television, they can become influenced by what they are
watching and it can affect their behavior. There are also many movies that have a lot of violence
that can cause a teenager to want to copy the actors. At times the movies show a bad person and
a good person. Even though that is true, there is still violence. For example, in the movie,
Taken, a retired CIA agent seeks revenge to find his daughter who has been kidnapped. Even
though the CIA agent is doing something good by trying to find his daughter and keep her safe,
there is a lot of violence that occurs to make this happen. This just shows that even though there
are good intentions in movies, there will be majority of the time some violence behind it.
There is also an enormous influence of participation in gang related activities by
watching television shows and movies. For example, the television series, Sons of Anarchy, is
about a motorcycle gang that does not solve their problems in a peaceful manner. The characters
in this television show go to extreme methods to fix their problem such as having a pot of hot
soup with a severed head in it. Another problem with violence on television and movies is that
teenagers tend to bully other teenagers. There are many shows and movies that have bullying
which can cause teenagers to copy the actions of the actors and make it a reality. For example,
the movies, Mean Girls, is about a group of girls that are very popular in their high school and
they bully others to get their way. This movie shows violence in a different way other than
fighting or shooting, but it shows violence in a verbal sense. Teenagers are talked down upon and
made fun of everyday and movies like this just proves how it can affect teenagers who are the
ones being bullied.

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Music videos and aggressive musical lyrics can encourage sexual violence, the use of
weapons, and antisocial overtones. Music plays an important role in teenagers lives. Teenagers
are always around music whether it is in the car, at the mall, at home, and even at school. Some
teenagers use music as a distraction from personal issues whether it is at home or school. Music
is something that teenagers cannot get away from even if they try to. Music can cause teenagers
to become violent towards each other. In the twenty-first century, majority of the music contain
the use of drugs and alcohol abuse, violence towards women, graphic violence such as the use of
guns, and many more.
Music videos and aggressive musical lyrics can encourage sexual violence, the use of
weapons, and antisocial overtones. Music is around teenagers everywhere and it is very hard to
get away from. Some use music as a form of expressing themselves but not all music can express
the feeling in a positive way. Rappers discuss and promote violence in their music videos and
lyrics. They talk about guns, jail, gangs, selling and using drugs. This allows teenagers become
numb towards violence and crime. For example the song Bring your Whole Crew, by rapper
DMX states, I got blood on my hands and theres no remorse. This just shows how this type of
music teenagers listen to on an everyday basis. Teenagers who listen to this type of music not
only have no feelings to the violence by they imitate it. There are many sexual influences in
music videos such as sex. The R&B singer Trey Songz music is very sexual. Trey Songz music is
majority of the time are songs that talks about sex with a woman. Songz lyrics and videos are
very sexual and teenagers especially teenage boys listening and watching such videos can affect
their sexual behavior towards women in a negative manner. An example of Trey Songz lyrics is
from a song named Panty Droppa says, Nothing but your heels onAnd we gonna get it in
just like we shouldPut in the hole like tiger woods. This is just an example of how sexual the
lyrics can become and teenagers are watching and listening to music like this. The article, Does

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Exposure to Sexual Hip-Hop Music Videos Influence the Sexual Attitudes of College Students,
by Michelle Kistler and Moon Lee did a study between girls and boy and their sexual attitudes
after either watching high sexual content music videos or low sexual content music videos. In
this study, the authors took a sample of 59 males and 136 females and split them up into two
groups. The first group consisted of 64 students which 17 were male and 47 were female and
were assigned to high sexual music videos. The second group was the low sexual music videos
and consisted of 63 students which 23 were male and 43 were female. At the end of this study, it
showed that males who watched the high sexual music videos had a mean of 3.57 than those who
watched the low sexual music videos with a mean of 2.68 and did not affect females (Kistler et
al, pg. 7-15).
Music videos and its lyrics is something that teenagers take for granted and does not
realize the negative effects and should pay more attention of what they are surrounding
themselves with. The article, Hit Me Baby: From Britney Spears to the Socialization of Sexual
Objectification of Girls in a Middle School Drama Program, by Laurie Schick talks about the
language that is in the song and what it is portraying to young girls. In the music video, Britney
Spears is dressed with short provocative clothes with her hair in pig tails portraying a sexy
school girl role which shows young girls that it is okay to dress like that and it will get the boys
attention and notice them.
Teenagers spend an exorbitant amount of time playing video games. All video games are
not violent, however, teenagers are indoctrinated with violence and anger while spending large
quantities of time in front their videogame rather than exerting energy outside while socializing
or even playing sports. Many teenagers today are spending large amounts of time playing video
games that has some sort of violence. Teenagers today tend to see that there is nothing wrong
with violent video games. With all the advance technology that video games have today, it is

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becoming more and more realistic. Video games such as Grand Theft Auto promotes violence in
teenagers at a young age especially teenage boys. Teenagers are exposed to drug abuse, gun
violence and bad language when playing violent video games which can lead to aggression. The
article, Aggressive Outcomes and Videogame Play: The Role of Length of Play and the
Mechanisms at Work, by Marina Krcmar and Kenneth Lachlan talks about how to length of
play for video games can lead to aggression. The authors compare in the article television
violence and video game violence. In the article, it talks about how video game violence is worse
than television violence because violent acts occur more frequently in video games rather than
television. This study contained 153 students which 92 were males and 61 were females. The
students were put into pairs and each pair was randomly given one out of the four different times
to play a violent video game. The game that was chosen for the students to play was named Max
Payne, which was about a police officer who is seeking revenge for the murder of his wife and
child. Surprisingly, the students who played the violent video game between 10 to 15 minutes
had a mean of 2.72 and was considered to be the time where the most aggression occurred
(Krcmar et al, pg. 7). This shows that violence in video game can cause aggression in the
beginning of playing video games and not necessarily for a long time. According to the article,
The Effects of Profanity in Violent Video Games on Players Hostile Expectations, Aggressive
Thoughts and Feelings, and Other Responses, by Adrienne Ivory and Christine Kaestle states
that aggression is defined as behavior intended to harm another person who has motivation to
avoid the harm (Ivory et al, pg. 2). In video games aggression builds up because when playing a
violent game, the purpose is usually to kill as many people in a time limit which can lead to
violence and becoming physically and verbally violent.
Violence is everywhere teenagers are and they cannot get away from it. Violence in the
media is something that parents should be more careful in letting their teenagers watch and listen

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to because it can affect their daily lives in a negative way. The age group most affected by media
violence is teenagers because of the exposure to violence in television shows, movies, music
videos and lyrics, and video games. The media should lessen the amount of violence because
when children are watching television and listening to music, it can affect their behavior and
thinks that having violence is not a big deal. These are just some of the reasons why violence is
something that may never be reduced. With all the different types of violence and ignorant
people, decreasing violence seems difficult.

References
1. Kistler, M. E., & Lee, M. J. (2010). Does Exposure to Sexual Hip-Hop Music Videos
Influence the Sexual Attitudes of College Students?. Mass Communication & Society,
13(1), 67-86. doi:10.1080/15205430902865336
2. Ivory, A. H., & Kaestle, C. E. (2013). The Effects of Profanity in Violent Video Games on
Players' Hostile Expectations, Aggressive Thoughts and Feelings, and Other Responses.
Journal Of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 57(2), 224-241.
doi:10.1080/08838151.2013.787078
3. KRCMAR, M., & LACHLAN, K. (2009). Aggressive Outcomes and Videogame Play:
The Role of Length of Play and the Mechanisms at Work. Media Psychology, 12(3), 249267. doi:10.1080/15213260903052257

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4. Mller, I., & Krah, B. (2009). Exposure to violent video games and aggression in
German adolescents: a longitudinal analysis. Aggressive Behavior, 35(1), 75-89.
doi:10.1002/ab.20290
5. Schick, L. (2014). 'Hit Me Baby': From Britney Spears to the Socialization of Sexual
Objectification of Girls in a Middle School Drama Program. Sexuality & Culture, 18(1),
39-55. doi:10.1007/s12119-013-9172-7
6. Yang, G. S., & Huesmann, L. R. (2013). Correlations of Media Habits Across Time,
Generations, and Media Modalities. Journal Of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 57(3),
356-373. doi:10.1080/08838151.2013.816711