To Be Or Not To Be I’ll Ask The TV

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We all know that the media plays a major role in influencing our everyday lives, from the clothes we wear, to the places we go, even down to the people we vote for. (I mean if this was not the case than advertising wouldn’t even exist), But to what extent does Media play a role in shaping who we are as individuals? and at what point do we seriously stop blaming people for their own actions and start passing blame onto the media for its influence and or ‘control’ over those individuals?

In today’s world there are some who perceive the media to be a medium of unethical mass control and domination, this grim perception of the media is created by the concepts of The Media Effects model and The Cultivation Theory. These concepts suggest that mass media has a powerful and direct effect on audience behaviour and that prolonged exposure to negative media results in high levels of desensitisation.

What’s wrong with this idea is that it is often miss interpreted, misguided or one sided and almost always forgets to take context into account. Take The Columbine Massacre for example; It was almost too easy for News outlets everywhere to focus the blame for the entire event on violent music and video games for the sake of a good story.  As David Gauntlett states in his article ‘Ten Things Wrong With The Effects Model’ “The Effects Model tackles social problems backwards”, This was case with Columbine, as while the media was blaming violent games and heavy music for the massacre, they weren’t asking questions they should have been from the start such as; what sort of social environment were the killers brought up in? and what mental state were they in at the time of the killings?

The idea that violent video games lead to real life acts of violence is a very one sided opinion that disregards the idea of context. While it’s true these games do desensitise people from violence, the violence is set within a fictional context and does necessarily mean the people who play them are desensitised in real life. Yes, the columbine killers played Doom, and yes they committed  terrible acts of violence, but what the News does not take into account is that thousands of people play Doom every day and have never even committed a single crime. That is the problem with the Media effects Model, it only takes into account part of the story and not the full picture, therefore resulting in a misguided or one sided point of view.

Doom-2-screenshots-3

Context Is almost always disregarded

Context Is almost always  disregarded

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3 thoughts on “To Be Or Not To Be I’ll Ask The TV

  1. Really interesting post and the video you linked was really thought provoking! Manson definitely had some great things to say.
    As I play games myself, I can’t help but roll my eyes out of my skull every time the video game violence = real life violence argument crops up. It’s almost funny that history has repeated itself here. I’m paraphrasing a little, but when the Newtown Shootings occurred, the media was quick to start blaming Mass Effect – simply because the shooter (and his falsely accused brother but that’s another story) ‘liked’ the Mass Effect page on Facebook. It’s a joke.

    Thanks for the read!
    – Kath

    • Thanks Kath, I also play games myself
      Mass Effect especially, it’s my favorite. I hate it when the media blames the gaming industry for acts of violence. Mass Effect is a game that is constantly re- enforcing a notion of peace and doing right by humanity (as well as other races hehe), it in no way promotes violence or massacres for that matter. It just frustrates me because people blame these games without actually playing them. If they played Mass Effect they would know its alot deeper than just a two dimensional, blood thirsty shooter, its all about morals and consequences.
      Yeah I can talk about this all day haha

      thanks for the comment

  2. Pingback: Communicating Impressions | Little Digitales

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