“There is far more violence in the reel world than in the real world.” – Brad J. Bushman
Some claim that the content shown in the media is merely the reflection of society itself. Therefore, according to this premise, the violent behavior depicted in the media is a consequence of how society is structured and how everything works in real life. When we read the news or listen to the radio, we might get the impression that there is some truth to this claim, since a lot of what we hear is murder, robbery, rape, bombs, etc. but the statistics tell a completely different story. As cited in the Journal of Psychology from the University of Iowa, by Brad J. Bushman and Craig Anderson, according to film critic Michael Medved (1995), the claim that the entertainment industry merely reflects the level of violence in society is a lie.
If this were true, then why do so few people witness murders in real life but everybody sees them on TV and in the movies? The most violent ghetto isn’t in South Central L.A. or Southeast Washington D.C.; it’s on television. About 350 characters appear each night on prime-time TV, but studies show an average of seven of these people are murdered every night. If this rate applied in reality, then in just 50 days everyone in the United States would be killed and the last left could turn off the TV.
I believe people do not really stop and think about these issues as much as they should, I believe that when people listen to claims such as “violence in the media is a reflection of society“, instead of analyzing that statement and seeking statistical evidence that supports that claim, they merely think back and see if they can connect recent events or things that they have seen or heard recently with such statement, and therefore, accept it as universal truth. But how does media violence really affect people? Can it really cause aggressive behavior? Or is the opposite true? That media violence can be good for emotional relief. Alfred Hitchcock is quoted as saying “One of television’ s greatest contributions is that it brought murder back into the home where it belongs. Seeing a murder on television can be good therapy. It can help work off one’s antagonism.”
According to the authors of the journal, hundreds of studies have been conducted analyzing the effects of media violence in behavior, and, despite some claims that violence in the media can serve as catharsis, the scientific evidence is compelling: viewing violence increases aggression. It is important for the public to be educated, and to be aware that media violence does indeed increase and provoke aggressive behavior to some extent. Parents ought to discourage their children from consuming violent media, because even if exposure to violent content has an effect on only 1% of the population, out of tens of millions, it is indeed a very considerable number, and it takes only one person to bring chaos and destruction as evident in recent events at school shootings or the killings in Norway.