Does media violence condition teenagers to “enjoy” the thrill of the chase, the annihilation of the “bad” guy, or is it becoming a conditioned method of desensitizing and glamorizing violence as an acceptable way to solve problems? Do violent media games reinforce to boys who are being sexually abused and physically beaten that violence is an appropriate method of expressing anger?
In an issue of Time magazine, the video game Killzone 2 was promoted by saying: “This oughta be the best first-person shooter on PS3…the graphics are so vivid, they’re practically hallucinatory.” When I checked it out on the Internet, one site said, “I liken the campaign’s intensity to a good multiplayer shootout in that there’s rarely a moment in which your life is not in danger.” I don’t understand why people get so excited about engaging in simulated violence, but corporations are gearing up more and more to make it as “real-life” as possible. Why isn’t there a national discussion on the potential harm this causes?
I think about my brother who was physically beaten and emotionally abused the whole time he grew up. One day he showed me his hand-carved knives he proudly displayed in picture frames on his bedroom wall. The largest one he called “Baby Doll.” It sent chills up my spine.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated: “The strength of the correlation between media violence and aggressive behavior found on meta-analysis is greater than that of calcium intake and bone mass, lead ingestion and lower IQ, condom nonuse and sexually acquired HIV infection, or environmental tobacco smoke and lung cancer – associations clinicians accept and on which prevention medicine is based without question."1
Adult survivors of child abuse need to start speaking up and demand that a national discussion on media violence needs to take place about its impact on society. It is not okay to consistently glamorize and eroticize violence as if it were normal behavior for people to emulate. Just like the financial institutions, the media corporations’ methods of self-monitoring have not worked.
The world of “entertainment” is becoming more and more a non-safe zone for families. Only by speaking out for healthier depictions of human interaction will we make an impact on our world on what is sent out over the airwaves, sold in video stores, and presented on cable on a daily basis.
1“Media Violence Policy Statement,” The American Academy of Pediatrics, 2001