Tag Archives: Consumption

Violence in the Media – Does it Create Violence in Society

Violence in the Media – Does it Create Violence in Society

Some can argue violence amongst people can originate anywhere; I’m interested in how media can have an affect on people’s behavior and the theories behind this.

 

Uses and gratification theory aims to understand why people choose to surround themselves with specific media products to satisfy their desires.  There are many reasons why you watch what you do or play the games you enjoy, it could be for several reasons, relaxation, escape, diversion, social interaction or companionship.  It relieves you into the elements you enjoy.

 

GTA4 is a popular game in which the user controls the main character completing violent missions involving bombs, guns and fighting.  It diverts the user away from their usual life to indulge in behavior they wouldn’t normally do, it feeds the violent side of the player without them actually causing harm.  The series ‘Misfits’ (S2E4) based an episode around the idea that violence in video games would be extremely dangerous if it were real.  This plays into the copycat theory, that people will be influenced and copy what they see.  Debates about people surrounding themselves with violent games and television programmes have risen.  Media exposure of violence is increasing and has reduced its ‘shock’ factor; the news broadcasts dangerous situations, which grab our attention, as instinctively we want to be aware of the dangers surrounding us.

 

The news shows bomb attacks when they take place and they send a strong message around the world.  This sends messages to the passive audience taking in the information that violence can achieve a result.  The television show ‘24’ features agents (the good guys) torturing terrorists for information, this once again is stating a message that violence gets results.  The show has the heroes performing these horrible acts which also says it must be an ok thing to do for a good cause.  The audience passively takes the message in; the next step is violent video games like GTA4, which encourage violence to further the characters story.  The player will be consciously choosing to cause this fantasy violence. Active consumption of media is when the message donates a response from the audience.  With the news broadcasting terror events copycat criminals have followed most recently with the Boston Bombings.  It was reported that the two brothers involved had been following extremist groups online, viewing the videos they post.  Even the execution of the terror threat was something similar to a Bond film, dropping the bag and disappearing into the crowd.  Being undetected and achieving their end result is what is then broadcast.  Fear that this attack could be copied in the UK, security was heightened for the marathon.  This feeling of being unstoppable is similar to the latest Iron Man film with the terrorists sending a message “you’ll never see me coming”.  This also relates to video games as you can restart or add cheat codes to be invincible and some say this is giving a very negative thought process not only to those the game is aimed at, but youngsters growing up surrounded by violence achieving results.  This can promote unhealthy ways for children to be brought up, being influenced on social situations by violent media.  That being said many teenagers play and watch fantasy violence and it serves well as a talking subject bringing social groups together with similar interests.

 

The hypodermic needle model suggests that media messages are being directly injected into the passive audience, which incidentally will be influenced by it.  When surrounding yourself with images, sounds and colours that represent success your more likely to be successful, seeing these positive things will subconsciously put you in a better mood.  Some say this is similar with violent media, seeing it all the time will put you in a subconscious state of mind that this is the way to act in certain situations.  How people interpret actions seen within media products can also affect the desired outcome.  GTA4, some could say that it allows players to act in ways they would never want to in reality, feeding the need for excitement in the game.  Other say it is setting an example for people to follow about the way the world works, thinking that violence will always get you the desired results.  Reception theory expands on this discussing how people evaluate what they see and read.  Basing a film or text on your social surroundings and environment different people will interpret things differently.  The original message therefore can have mixed interpretations as to what it means, in depth readings into the type of language used and others taking it at face value.  Poetry often has this type of effect where the poem may mean one thing at face value but another when broken down and analysed.  The poem ‘Nothings Changed’ by Tatamkhulu Afrika.  Cultivation theory examines the effects of watching television over a long period of time and becoming immersed in the fictional world.  People model their clothing and hair cuts on those they admire on screen and so copying elements from the shows incorporating it into their own lives.  GTA4 covers many different types of criminal activities within the game but shows them in a positive light which copycats may be inclined to repeat.

 

An online poll showed that 20% of people believe media is to blame for violence in society and 80% say it’s not. (http://www.debate.org/opinions/does-the-media-cause-violence)

 

In the 1960sProfessor Leonard Eron began a study following 856 third-grade children in America.  This study lasted for 22 years and concluded that males brought up watching violence on the television were more likely to commit crimes as teenagers or adults.  An American news paper also reported on the subject on the topic of video games, discussing how they promote killing and violent behavior as that is the task required to reach the next stage – rewarding the player for that behavior.  Films and television shows show off violent behavior as the necessary action however many have reported about the fact the consequences for brutal actions are rarely shown.  These media products remove the reality from violent actions and brutal behavior making them less significant to the individual in the real world.

 

On the other hand it’s argued that media is blamed for violence in society, television news simply report on the actions that will generate viewers and that can’t be blamed for encouraging others.  Media products simply reflect or report on violence and not influence the original act.  This is not to say that media as a whole has no influence over audiences, advertisements tend to generate more business for a company hence the continuing growth in the industry.  Purchasing a different drink at lunchtime is only a minor alteration however violence is caused from a change in emotion and attitude, which media alone can’t create.

 

Some say that games, films and books take the user away from reality to experience a world different to our own.  We all live to experience, or we are just surviving.  These media aspects provide this different experience and admittedly people have used similar methods seen or followed extremist videos as inspiration however these were not necessarily the influence but could be seen as a provoker.

 

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Media Effects Theories

The hypodermic needle model is when people get constantly injected with content on a daily basis, whether the content is pointless or not is another subject. Most of the time time some of it is pointless whereas other parts of it are not. It’s in a similar fashion to a doctor injecting someone with a needle.

Uses and gratification involves how people use content in a different way and how people are gratified by content in a different way. Reception theory is how people receive content and cultivation theory is how people cultivate content. Cultivation theory can also be does the content a person consumes fit into popular culture. Passive or active consumption can involve people passively ignoring content or actively engaging with content.

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Possible questions my group could use in the critical responses/approaches unit.

This survey is to obtain responses about what the majority of people are into the most. This demographic information will be taken from a focus group of 16-19 year old media students, as that is our target audience for this project. It is also to obtain biological information too such as their age, gender, eye colour and hair colour. This will help us determine things such as what ages are into what different things, what are females into that males aren’t and vice versa and what people with that hair colour and/or that eye colour are into.

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How Science-Fiction Has Changed: ‘Star Wars’ Romance Video 2

Now this second video is drastically different to the first one. This one is on the video game ‘Star Wars: The Old Republic’ rather than on the film ‘The Empire Strikes Back’.

Suddenly interactivity is involved, the relation to the characters is still there but in a slightly different way, as you the player are making the decisions now and it makes you feel more emotionally attached, connected and driven by it.

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Audience Profiling & Quantitative Audience Research

In order to define what group of people go into what socio-economic group on the socio-economic scale we need to determine their socio-economic status first. With the question examples in my previous posts I have covered genres, ages, gender and looks so far. But no it’s time to get to the very core of it all, deep within people’s mind sets and tap into their psychology of why they do certain things and why they watch, use and read certain things. Also their personalities come into it too.

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