MANY PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT TELEVISION VIOLENCE HAS A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON SOCIETY BECAUSE IT PROMOTES VIOLENCE. DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE? USE SPECIFIC REASONS AND EXAMPLES TO SUPPORT YOUR RESPONSE.
In this essay, I am going to argue the negative effects of television violence upon the society, and its role in the promotion of violence, especially among youth. I want to come across as a person who is a millennial and as a part of that league, I can surely say that the primary persuasion for violence instinctively arises from television. It is a common phenomenon of cognitive psychology that we learn through observation, and in practice, we associate ourselves with the mental image of that cognizance. (Lachman et al, 98). The fourth generation digital world has a unique impact on our lives, as our eyes are mostly glued to the screen and “searching” stuff. Most of the “heroic” characters in plethora of todays television series are outlaws, convicts who prefer violence, and deem themselves to be above the law. This type of inculcation consequently creates an image that compels us to imitate those characters and try to be like them. And resultantly we end up becoming a mirror image of those characters in the real society of our own.
With the boom in technological advancement, we have become very materialistic and have contributed a lot to promote a disregard towards morals, ethics, and preservation of our society. Most of the television shows portray an image of “money crazy” individuals, who disrespect their elders, seek instant sexual gratification, and are pleasure oriented bad mouths who disregard for the continuation of noble traditions of the past that had a focus on self-development and morals.Popular shows like Stalker (CBS), Hannibal (CBS), and even The Walking Dead (AMC) are not only portraying violence but also associating a “bright” side to it.
This inculcation of continuous violence and tragedies can have bizarre effects upon the psychology of developing individuals especially upon the minds of teenagers. The recent mass shooting in Florida by a teenage suspect named Nikolas Cruz—a NINETEEN-year-old boy who was responsible for killing SEVENTEEN students on 14th Feb 2018 is just one of many examples that compel the “disturbed” youth to go on a shooting spree to somehow satisfy their inner conflicts. This is merely one of the many augmenting incidents that are haunting our society day by day. The increasing amount of such tragedies have a direct linkage with frustration and disregard of moral values within our system.
As described by Sigmund Freud (regarded as the Father of modern Psychology) in his theory of Psychoanalysis (Sigmund, Marie 26) there are three levels of human mind, namely; conscious (our existing state of mind), sub-conscious (sub-state of mind upon which we have little control) and unconscious (the state of mind over which we have no control at all). Freud regards the unconscious state of mind as the most powerful force that “controls” our actions, emotions, and deliberations. We are not even aware of most of our involuntary actions that we commit. According to his theory, our motions are mostly carried out by inner energy called Libido. Libido is the energy inside our body that is usually an amalgam of suppressed desires and emotions. It keeps on adding up, like a balloon and eventually upon reaching maturity it bursts into actions—like a panic attack in emergency situation or a life-threatening scenario.
By keeping the above stated imminent theory in view, our actions are as per the stimulus of the continuous violence and negativity upon our TV screens. But at the same time our consciousness keeps telling us that it is wrong, so we kind of embed those feelings within ourselves. This embedded energy under our chest keeps growing until it triggers a real-life violent event or a psychological trauma. Our first and foremost action carries an intent to mimic that violent (crazy) character we had earlier watched on television.
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves” – Buddha.
Human behavior is an amalgam of complex factors and elements, but one cannot disregard the impetus of observation in our lives. Whether we take it within the ambit of science, psychology, or spirituality, we will find out that the coordination of mind and body associates the kind of information we receive and perceive. The violence upon television screens acts as a reinforcer in our lives and tends to make us do things that we would otherwise deem not to do.
From personal experience, the level of violence is not limited to our television screens. It has incorporated itself into a much broader range of ‘screens’ and mediums of screens. Like the application of internet (mobile phones, tabs, etc.) We can now watch TV shows directly upon our phones; hence this accessibility to technology is somewhat advantageous (when it is genuinely displaying a positive content) and disadvantageous (when it displays violence or other obscene elements). As discussed earlier, due to a significant impact of this exposure upon human behavior, the content to be displayed should be mitigated in ways that do not ‘promote’ violence or encourages younger viewers to indulge into such activities. The scope of ‘PG’ criteria should extend to MENS REUS (intention behind an action) and not just ACTUS REA (the action itself) of the content on screens (Perkins, Rollin 175). The problem lies deep within in justifying the content that promotes violence. Like for example; usually only the “bad guy” commits acts of violence, but the content glorifies the acts of violence by a “good guy” as well (to whom most of the younger audience looks up to) that is when they start to imitate and incorporate the acts of violence into their own lives. Such discrepancies must be looked upon, and appropriate amends must be made to avoid its harmful effects on our society in general.
Freud, Sigmund, and Princess Marie Bonaparte. The origins of psychoanalysis. Vol. 216. London: Imago, 1954.
Lachman, Roy, Janet L. Lachman, and Earl C. Butterfield. Cognitive psychology and information processing: An introduction. Psychology Press, 2015.
Perkins, Rollin M. “Rationale of Mens Rea, A.” Harv. L. Rev.52 (1938): 905.