The relationship between violence on the screen and violence in real life is extremely complicated. But while the relationship may not be that of direct cause and effect, we must bear it in mind. Violent programmes may depress some people, shock others, de-sensitise some and encourage imitation by a few.” (BBC Handbook-Guidelines for T.V Producers Regarding Violence and Censorship) The media is all around us and for this reason I feel it is inevitable that it will have some sort of effect on us. Television is the most popular and accessible form of media; everybody has at least one television set in their home. It is also said to be the most vivid portrayer of the world. screen violence is a term given to violence seen in television programmes, videos and cinema; basically any violence viewed on a screen. What causes a problem when debating screen violence is how we define and measure violence, as different people have different interpretations of what is violent.
Some kinds of ‘violent’ activity are labelled as ‘violent’ others as ‘war heroism’. Everybody interprets and responds to the media in different ways. The ‘hypodermic syringe’ or ‘effects’ model is a theory, which concentrates on the negative effects of the media i.e. what the media ‘does to us’. The power is believed to lie with the media and terms such as ‘the mass media’ or ‘mass communications’ are often used to emphasise the size and scale of media operations. It believes in a passive audience and highlights certain groups of people as being more vulnerable than others are.
... how does medias portrayal of violence affect us as a whole? Is musics explicit lyrics and televisions raunchy and violent content ... expose themselves and are more violent on the silver screen. Ultimately sex and violence sells, and in this society ... effects of TV and media, has manifest itself into violence, criminal behavior and other unacceptable conduct. Although as stated previously, violent ...
Children, people who are mentally ill, women, and the working class are the named groups because they are either obviously vulnerable (i.e. children and the mentally ill), or exposed to the media much more than other groups of people (i.e. women and the working class).
I agree with this as far as children and the mentally ill are concerned because they have little control over what they are exposed to and are not selective viewers. However, the other groups mentioned are not as vulnerable, as they are able to decide for themselves what they watch and can create their own opinions about it. There are two key effects that this theory believes can be induced in an audience: Inactivity- the couch potato Manic activity- where the audience imitates what they have seen, i.e. copycat crime (often related to violence) There are of course problems with this theory. It over-simplifies and assumes that everybody is passive and vulnerable to the media, which obviously is a generalisation, and isn’t true. Many experiments have been set up over the years, to try and prove or disprove such theories of audience engagement.
One such experiment (which is now a much-criticised piece of research) was called the ‘Bobo doll experiment’, conducted by Bandura and Walters in 1963. It involved showing a group of children a film of adults acting violently towards a doll, and then leaving the children alone with the doll. The children were recorded acting in a similar way to what they had seen, which was said to prove that children copy what they see. The research was flawed in many ways. People (especially children) are often willing to please those conducting the experiments, and have a sense of what behaviour is expected of them. Also, a laboratory is a very different environment to the one in which we usually interact with the media.
The ‘uses and gratification’ model was founded in the USA in the 1940’s. It is one that disregards the pessimistic approach of the ‘hypodermic syringe’ theory, and instead focuses on the ‘active’ audience, an audience who is able to ‘use’ the media to its own advantage. The power here lies with the individual consumer, who is imagined as using the media to gratify certain needs and interests. In his book Media Analysis Techniques, Arthur Asa Berger provides a list of twenty-four things that the media may offer to do and what we as audiences may take from media products. The uses that I feel are relevant to this essay include: 1. To be amused 7. To find distraction and diversion 9.
The United States is run by a democratic government that has laws in place to ensure order and organization. However, there are certain people and groups that wish to compromise and profit personally from breaking these laws. According to Understanding Organized Crime (2007), organized crime can be defined by the members and the activities of a group. There are many crimes in which organized crime ...
To experience, in a guilt-free and controlled situation, extreme conditions such as love and hate, the horrible and the terrible, and similar phenomena. 10. To find models to imitate I feel that the last ‘use’ on the list above could have both positive and negative implications. Role models are useful as long as they are shown behaving in a positive manner. However, if a child saw Brad Pitt as a role model, and then watched a film such as Fight Club that contains very physical and violent scenes, he/she would think that if Brad Pitt is allowed to do it then it must be alright for them to do. Young children are not able to distinguish fiction from reality in the way that adults can.
The problems with the ‘uses and gratifications’ theory is it suggests that everybody is capable of understanding what they watch, which is flattering to an audience; we are more likely to want to identify ourselves as active readers. However it ‘pigeonholes’ everyone into one group and totally ignores the obviously vulnerable groups such as children. It seems to forget that people come from different backgrounds, have different amounts of knowledge about things and live in very different social contexts. “what we understand and believe about the television message is ‘influenced by our own personal history, political culture and class experience” (Philo) The ‘uses and gratifications’ theory and the ‘hypodermic syringe’ theory represent the two extremes of audience engagement with the media. What is needed is a theory that takes a middle ground between the two. One of the greatest concerns associated with screen violence is the idea that there is a connection between violent scenes in the media and ‘real’ crimes.
Crime and the Media Criminology 330 Crime and the Media The public depends on the news media for its understanding of crime. Reportedly three quarters (76%) of the public say, they form their opinions about crime from what they see or read in the news (Dorfman & Schiraldi, 2001). After reviewing five hours of reality crime television shows, one is left with a very dismal look on society and a ...
The term given to this idea is ‘copy-cat crime’. ‘Copy-cat crime’ is an idea associated with the ‘hypodermic syringe’ theory and the particular effect described as ‘manic activity’. This is when someone who has committed a serious crime is said to have been influenced and inspired by a media product such as a film. An example of this is the murder of James Bulger by two young boys. After the killing it ’emerged’ that they had watched Child’s Play 3 prior to their crime, and therefore the film was felt to be partly to blame. “The unthinkable sub-text to the murder of little James Bulger isKthe concern that we have created a generation of anti-social young people who have grown up with a television set as their best friendKwith video nasties, violence and sensational sex as the stuff of everyday life, in a world which offers little explicit moral guidance” (Mary Whitehouse- The Telegraph) A Clockwork Orange is another example of a film that has been linked to a crime. When it first came out, a group of men gang raped a woman in an apparent copy of a scene in the film.
The films maker, Stanley Kubrick, subsequently withdrew the film because he was annoyed at the critical reception it had received. This copycat effect is not just associated with serious crimes such as the ones I have mentioned. When the ‘You’ve been Tangoed’ advertising campaign was launched, one of the adverts in particular caused major concern. It showed men in orange suits running around slapping eachother around the ears and laughing about it. This was an advert aimed at children to make them buy Tango, however the effect that it had was to cause children to copy what they had seen (because it was shown as being funny and harmless), and slap other children around the ears. This became a problem as it caused children to suffer perforated eardrums as a result. This emphasises the idea that children are particularly vulnerable, and therefore products aimed at children should be very carefully considered.
S. Cohen carried out the first sociological analysis of a moral panic in 1972, about the Mods and Rockers; a panic about what was happening to British youths in the 1960’s. A moral panic is when everything is blamed on the media and society worries about people’s behaviour due to me ….
Throughout motion picture history, women have experienced more transition in their roles, as a result of changing societal norms, than any other class. At first, both society and the movie industry preached that women should be dependent on men and remain in the home, in order to guarantee stability in the community and the family. As time passed and attitudes changed, women were beginning to be ...