Does violence in media create violence in society?
There are always on going battles whether or not violence should remain in many different media products, one of the biggest problems/battle is violence in video games and if it is if not one of the biggest problems that creates violence in society.
One of the biggest gaming titles that would mainly represent this problem is the Grand theft auto series. The series of games all feature the same repetitive content such as killing for money, revenge or even just to help someone out. The latest GTA (GTA 4) has relations to immigration of foreigners coming over to America and to find the ‘American dream’ which is then portrayed through means of violence. This video game reality takes the player and places them in a world where anything is possible and where the player can use behaviour they wouldn’t usually undergo or even consider doing in real life due to horrific consequences. The game also features mini games that are not revolved around violence such as hanging out with the in game characters which become friends with the main character. These are based around real life every day activities families and friends would enjoy such as playing pool, bowling and darts.
The hypodermic needle theory is a linear communication theory and suggests that a media message can be ‘injected’ directly into the brain of a homogenous audience (An audience that all think and react the same). The theory suggests that being surrounded by certain topics will change the mood, how the audience reacts, thinks and behaves. E.g. being surrounded by a topic that represents and features sadness or depression will change the audience to becoming upset in a sad or even an angry way. A lot of people think that this is what happens when violence is involved, the violence becomes embedded within the viewer’s brain and then they subconsciously think that violence is the way to act in order to achieve goals easily and quickly.
The producers of the GTA series have based some of their characters around some of the behaviours and characteristics of their target audience, two good examples of this are GTA 4’s game side stories that cross over with GTA 4 these are, The Ballad of gay Tony and The lost and damned show both sides of the different life styles of two different characters that chose two different paths. One is the night life of the game, the fame and glamour of being a wealthy night club owner. The second is the choice of a rebel and not caring for the expensive things in life but caring about respect, brotherhood and making a statement against others that oppose the characters way of life.
The Ballad of Gay Tony features content that involves the games night life and the people that are attracted to bright lights, heavy drinking, drugs, fast cars, expensive clothing, the lives of the rich and famous and the sleaziness of life.
The lost and damned features content that involves rebellion against all things that are out lawed such as drugs, alcohol and weapons and shows the gritty and poor side of life.
Aged under 18
Males under 18
Females under 18
Males Aged 18-29
Females Aged 18-29
Males Aged 30-44
Females Aged 30-44
Males Aged 45+
Females Aged 45+
Top 1000 voters
IMDb users 13634 9.4
This demographic graph from IMDB shows that the main audience for this specific content is aimed at a male audience as over ten thousand voted and is specifically aimed at 18-29 year old males which nearly reach eight thousand. Whereas votes from a female audience are massively lower at all age groups, this shows that the content within in the game does not appeal to a female audience. This could be due to the overall games character and its consistent violence which sometimes is inappropriate or senseless. The game is a more male dominant based game and shows characters that are unkind towards women and treat them with disrespect, the game also shows that women are not trust worthy and can manipulate men into giving information or secrets by means of a sexual behaviour.
In researching about violence in video games that affect society I found an article which suggests that violence in society isn’t always based on the game being violent but the competitiveness of the video game. This features players competing against each other to complete an objective such as online gameplay or two player gameplay. Games that are very popular and have a very popular online competitive gameplay are the Call of duty series, which puts players in teams where they must compete against each other to win the round/game. This is done by selecting a specific weapon class which the player can use in online gameplay to try and defeat the opponent. Not only is video game violence a specific and major concern that is usually blamed for right away and sometimes the cause of violence in society but it is not always the case, there are many other reasons why people act violent or have a violent nature/behaviour in society. Some of these are believed to be the way some people are brought up as a child and has affected them over time, mixing with the wrong group of people at a young age and enter a state of mind that they think is ok when in reality it is against the law and is therefore hard to break out of because it is a constant habit, such as smokers finding it hard to quit because they have been doing it for years.
Link to article about video game violence and it’s affects: http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolpinchefsky/2013/05/08/yet-more-proof-that-violent-videogames-dont-cause-aggression/