U.S. & World

Media violence 'unchained': Multiple studies show kids are adversely affected by violence in entertainment, news


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  • Jarracine New Bedford, MA
    Jan. 27, 2013 10:53 a.m.

    I believe that if a person is meant to be abusive or violent they will be, the responsibility is on the violent person, study's don't prove anything but what they want it to be, there are plenty of opinions out there, if we go with the study then cartoons, westerns, comedy and even sports like the Superbowl will be questioned, the majority of people who watch theses things are not violent, I believe background checks should be done Nationwide, also if anybody you know has a violent tendency should be reported if they are in possession of a firearm. Just saying. The NRA should reconsider many positions that involve murder of innocent people, unless they still like blood on their hands.

  • davidctr ,
    Jan. 15, 2013 1:36 p.m.

    Myth No. 9: Video games are the real culprit.
    “Some reports indicate that the Newtown killer was a fanatical video-game player, and liked such especially violent games as “Call of Duty.” No studies have proved a strong link between these games and actual violence. This isn’t to say that the games aren’t perverse and repulsive: I don’t allow my children to play them. But you can’t shoot up a school or a movie theater with a video game. Blaming video-game makers alone for such complicated and incomprehensible crimes is a cop-out.
    What do all these misconceptions add up to? Simply that we aren’t even close to having a serious conversation about protecting ourselves from death by gun. I wouldn’t mind having a national debate about the morality of the Second Amendment in the 21st century. But we’re not even having a serious debate on the margins.” “Debunking Nine Myths of the Gun-Control Debate”, Bloomberg.com

  • davidctr ,
    Jan. 15, 2013 1:32 p.m.

    Example of Gun Control:
    “New York lawmakers were preparing to approve the toughest gun control law in the nation and the first since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, calling for a stricter assault weapons ban and provisions to try to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill who make threats. Under current state law, assault weapons are defined by having two "military rifle" features, such as folding stock, muzzle flash suppressor or bayonet mount. The proposal would reduce that to one feature, including the popular pistol grip. The language specifically targeted the military-style rifle used in the Newtown shootings.
    Current owners of those guns will have to register them.
    Private sales of assault weapons to someone other than an immediate family member would be subject to a background check through a dealer. New Yorkers also would be barred from buying assault weapons over the Internet, and failing to safely store a weapon could lead to a misdemeanor charge… The legislation also increases sentences for gun crimes including the shooting of a first responder that Cuomo called the "Webster provision.” Huffington Post

  • davidctr ,
    Jan. 15, 2013 1:28 p.m.

    No For example, Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, and Wyoming do not require any license in order to carry concealed weapons in public places, but there are laws in these states prohibiting concealed weapons in certain places (e.g., in Alaska it is not permitted to carry a weapon, concealed or otherwise, into a bar or tavern).
    “The Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004, but H.R. 6257 introduced June 12, 2008 sought to re-instate the ban indefinitely as well as to expand the list of banned weapons. The bill ultimately died in committee. New York, California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Connecticut, and New Jersey and several municipalities have codified some provisions of the expired Federal ban into State and local laws.”
    The United States has about five percent of the total world population but residents of the United States own about 42 percent of all the world's civilian-owned firearms. In 2009, according to the UNODC, 60% of homicides in the United States were perpetrated using a firearm.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2013 12:14 p.m.

    Really? Yet another editorial atacking Terinitino. Amazing.

    "guns are regulated. Try go go buy a gun. They will.do a background check on you. Also, you will not be able to get a full auto like an AK47. Switzerland has higher gun ownership than the US,"

    RBB, neither of these statements are true.

    "I would much rather infringe the first amendment rights of Hollywood by further restricting violent movies than take away the rights of law abiding citizens to own guns."

    That's what I love about conservatives. For as much as they bleat about freedom, they really have no clue what freedom really is.

  • Rural sport fan DUCHESNE, UT
    Jan. 14, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    Beverly...you are absolutely incorrect in your comment that the "only" difference between our country and the rest of the European countries is access to guns.

    For instance, in some European countries, kids can drink at 16, but can't drive until they are 18. And in many European countries, violence is actually higher than in the US...it just usually involves knives or fists.

    Violence isn't a uniquely American problem, nor is it caused by video or the media or guns. It is a HUMAN problem, and until families start teaching their kids how to act, and getting help for the one's that cannot control themselves, it will remain a problem.

    davidctr...you are also wrong. Gun control is NOT the real issue here, and would do nothing to stop criminals or the insane. It might make it harder for them to use guns, but then...that also makes it harder for ME to use a gun to defend myself.

    The REAL issue here is our changing culture, and how families are failing to raise their kids right.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2013 9:40 a.m.

    Article: "When Osborn realized everyone else in the theater that day was guffawing at violent content she found appalling, she made a decision: no more going to movie theaters."

    Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water. The statement is unclear as to whether Osborn gave up movies entirely or just the public theater-going experience, but either seems an extreme response. While watching movies at home has some advantages, there is something to be said for the communal experience of watching a film in a theater. Besides the technical advantages (big screen, professional sound), there is the collective emotional response. Even if nothing is vocalized, there are the barely audible gasps and the shifting in seats and other signs of audience reaction. Sure, there are cases where someone may be significantly out of sync with the crowd mood (as Osborn was) and there are the rude texters and talkers, but to give up on the theater experience after one bad experience betrays seismic oversensitivity. A little research (how about reading reviews first?) can help. Maybe she can find a theater with a more mature customer base (like SLC's Broadway) rather than a mall megaplex.

  • AZ Blue & Red Gilbert, AZ
    Jan. 14, 2013 9:19 a.m.

    Does Violence on TV and in movies affect children? To quote my kids. Duhhhhh!!!!1

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    Jan. 14, 2013 7:32 a.m.

    Here is the reason I am willing to say the violence in the media is directly related to the violence in society. In WWI the US Army had a problem with about 13% of soldiers not pulling the trigger the first time they were in combat. They recognized they had a problem and by WWII they began use using human silhouette targets for training this reduced the number down below 3%. This was still too high and by Vietnam they began developing simulation training. This was the beginning of many of the video games of today. They add to that some of the cadences and sayings, such as Airborne Ranger or the Spirit of the Bayonet, and the number that will not pull the trigger has dropped to less than 1%. if it has that much of an impact on grown men how much of an impact does it have on our children? This is actually something any parent can test for themselves. Simply take the violent games and movies away for one week and see what difference you see. You will be amazed.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Jan. 13, 2013 8:28 p.m.

    I like what one person said. We have to realistically look at what these images do at a smaller level. Tragic as they are, school shooting and mass murderers are extremely rare events. However, bullying, other acts of violence, domestic violence, and other aggressive behaviors. I know we want to see the impact at these huge levels but probably the more devastating impacts of media and video games and how they impact people might be at a smaller, everyday level. Just a thought...

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Jan. 13, 2013 7:55 p.m.

    I don't approve of the high quality and realistic violence that now is so much a part of society. As well, even the news on TV and such is not shy about showing the gore that results from a masacre or invasion -- or even a domestic violence situation.

    More and more we as parents are needing to be the filters that even the most sophisticated computer can't be. We have to stop relying on DVDs, Internet and Gameboys to be our inexpensive baby sitters. A simple game of kick the can is many times better than the latest X-box adventure.

    We are losing our connection to reality through media which promises vengeance without pain, bullying without victims and violence without consequences. Our children seem to be growning up thinking that when they swing that magic sword or pull that electronic trigger that no one will really get hurt.

    Anyone for a nice game of kick ball?

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Jan. 13, 2013 5:05 p.m.

    Don't forget the most reliable source on God's planet, Arnold Swarchenegger says that violence in games and movies has no effect on kids or adults who commit violence against people. I am ashamed that I ever spent a nickle on movies he made. Hollywood actors like him say more things that make them look foolish and uneducated than they do saying things that are intelligent. Next thing we know he'll say that infidelity doesn't have any effect on families. What a guy!

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    Jan. 13, 2013 4:48 p.m.

    @Davidctr, guns are regulated. Try go go buy a gun. They will.do a background check on you. Also, you will not be able to get a full auto like an AK47. Switzerland has higher gun ownership than the US, but much less gun crime. Moreover, which of the nutcases who have gone one a shooting spree were legal gun owners? It is more about making sure you lock up you guns if you have a mentally Ill person in your house. I would much rather infringe the first amendment rights of Hollywood by further restricting violent movies than take away the rights of law abiding citizens to own guns.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Jan. 13, 2013 1:50 p.m.

    When someone walks into a public place and murders people with a DVD of a violent movie, you might have an argument. As davidctr has said, movies already have far more strict universal regulation than guns do. Your clear obsession with demonizing Quentin Tarantino just smacks of trying to change the topic and deflect the blame. There may not be one answer that will solve this, but the availability of assault weapons is a factor that must be discussed. Too bad you're bending over backwards to not do it.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 13, 2013 1:45 p.m.

    From the article:

    "A consensus about the interpretation of the scientific evidence is shared by a majority of academic researchers . . . This consensus has two parts: (a) Media violence increases the likelihood of aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior among the audience, short-term and long-term. The magnitude of the effect depends on person, product and situation characteristics. (b) Media violence is not the only, and likely not the most important, factor contributing to aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior."

    Violent movies, TV, and videos are not the only contributors to our fascination with violence. But it is clear they are contributors. Can some resist that influence? Sure. Will the vast majority become killers? No.

    But can a few folks (perhaps prone to violence, easily influenced, or maybe just less healthy mentally) be influenced to commit violence?


    Are there other issues to discuss? Yes. But let's not gloss this one over.

  • davidctr ,
    Jan. 13, 2013 10:41 a.m.

    Let's not demonized TV. Granted, TV can influence a person's behavior, so can a basketball or baseball game, and books (but I don't see anyone "burning" books). TV is already regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as well as by responsible parents (or should be), and other institutions. However, guns are not well regulated, in some cases (states), there's no control. Let's talk about gun control, that's the real issue here, let's stop blaming "liberals", "TV shows", "video games", etc. As I mentioned before, and as mentioned in this article about TV violence, "children are adversely affected by exposure to it" and "on-screen violence can negatively impact viewers". It is time for opponents of gun control to stop mindlessly shouting "The Second Amendment!!" as if that ends the discussion. It does not. Just as there is no First Amendment right to falsely yell fire in a crowded theatre, there is no Second Amendment right to carry an AK-47 there. Although gun control will not eradicate violence, it will certainly help regulate the sale, manufacture and use of guns and as happens in other countries, decrease gun related deaths.

  • A1994 Centerville, UT
    Jan. 13, 2013 10:21 a.m.

    We need Hollywood to quit being such a huge bunch of hypocrites. They all did a PSA on 'Demand a (gun control) Plan!" Yet, these are the same people making millions off of violence.

    Of course movies and video games have an effect on people. Everything has an effect on you one way or the other and to one degree or another. The NRA is not the problem in America today. They aren't the ones profiting from violence. Hollywood is.

  • Dektol Powell, OH
    Jan. 13, 2013 9:57 a.m.

    Media violence? Like Road Runner and Bugs Bunny cartoons that show blowing up and shooting the intended victim?
    We live in a free society where censorship is evil. Produce whatever you want. I can CHOOSE what to watch and what to read. I don't need Government, religion or foolish people telling me what I can or cannot partake of.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Jan. 13, 2013 9:11 a.m.

    There is such a thing as a 'cancer swarm' -- a community or region where there is a statistically higher likelihood of getting cancer than other areas. In many cases, the cause is a single facility or an industry that releases a carcinogenic chemical. Let's say someone builds a plant next to a city with a 100,000 people and the plant emits a pollutant that causes 10 deaths for 10,000 people per year from cancer. That means a 100 people are going to die a year from the plant. That represents 0.1% of the population.

    The person who built the plant lives next door to the plant and does not get cancer. (He is in the lucky 99.9%). He gets interviewed by the media complaining about the cancer swarm, he argues, "Lots of people are living next to my plant and they are healthy. People were getting cancer before the plant was built. The cancer swarm is not my fault."

    Movie directors who profit from gratuitous violence are the same as the hypothetical plant owner.

  • Pilot70 Orem, UT
    Jan. 13, 2013 8:58 a.m.

    Those who defend violence in entertainment argue that a movie doesn't "make" someone go out and shoot people, otherwise everyone who sees a violent film would be committing atrocities like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary and Columbine High. Pointing to a lack of extreme acts, however, does not disprove the effect of violence.

    I've noticed over the years that my students who are aggressive, angry, defiant and prone to bullying tendencies tend to talk more of the violent media they enjoy. The effect of violent media cannot be quantified with massacres any more than the effect of sexual media can be measured only in rapes. Each of us has a complex mind, where decisions are weighed based on many factors. It is foolish to forget that school bullying and violence, domestic violence, suicide and other harmful behaviors can also be encouraged by violent media, but these do not get nearly the attention as shooting sprees.

    One sure bet: The movie industry is not our friend. They are not looking out for the interests of its viewers, particularly children. It is a cold, irresponsible, self-serving bunch in Hollywood, and we would be wise to remember it.

  • Bifftacular Spanish Fork, Ut
    Jan. 13, 2013 8:23 a.m.

    These studies can't be right! What if I like my violent movies and video games? The only things I'm influenced by in the media are positive messages! I prefer to focus on guns. Yes, guns must be the only problem. Get rid of guns and people will have no further desire to be violent or wicked.

  • Beverly Eden, UT
    Jan. 13, 2013 7:55 a.m.

    Please remember, all western countries have access to the same violent movies and video games as we do. They have very little gun violence. The only variable that is different in the United States, compared to Canada, England, Germany, etc. is the fact that we have access to guns. The readily available firearm is the issue. It is disheartening to see the Deseret News deflecting public attention away from the real issue - access to guns. 30,000 people will be killed with a gun in the United States - next year if we choose to do nothing.

  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    Jan. 13, 2013 7:54 a.m.

    Will the Deseret News and its corporate cousins be consistent on this issue, or bend their moral indignations into hypocrisy by complaining on one hand and taking money with the other?

    The Deseret News' cousin, the KSL on line classified operation, banned gun listings after the Connecticut murders to "do their part in stopping violence." Now we have the Deseret News printing an article confirming that minds are warped by the garbage passed off by Hollywood as "entertainment."

    So, will we see a refusal to print ads for the violent, and especially sadistically violent "entertainment" such as the new movie Django, or not.

    After all "if it saves just one life, you must do it for The Children!"

    Medical warning- do NOT hold your breath waiting for this to happen!

  • BlueEyesBrittany Paris, 00
    Jan. 13, 2013 6:42 a.m.

    As long as society and religions will give all power and authority to men and will not make it a duty for men to be nice and kind and behave, we will not need movies to make violence a reality.... it exists already in all kind of forms in the world.... and starts with some having too much power and other having no civil rights to ask redress for abuse .... wherever ... and it is not one community which is worse than the other ... it is a world wide problem

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    Jan. 12, 2013 11:15 p.m.

    Forrest Gump was a favorite of mine when first released, but by that time I was an adult and could put its images into context. I compare that to seeing the film The Exorcist when I was only 13 (yes, I had very liberal parents) and I had nowhere to put those images, though I was sensitive to its vileness.

    Today as a Latter-day Saint, I can appreciate the change in the Strength of Youth pamphlet which used to counsel youth to simply not see “R”-rated films. Instead the broader counsel today is “Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is
    vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable.” In other words, church leaders (and parents) no longer can rely on industry standards or ratings.

    FYI, Meridian Magazine does have a movie reviewer writing for them from an LDS perspective. Jonathan Decker is his name, and I do read and consider his reviews before I view films today.

  • eagle Provo, UT
    Jan. 12, 2013 8:44 p.m.

    one old man and others:

    I am by no means a die-hard "conservative" and I've seen a few violent movies in my time and even played some violent video games in my day like "Doom" and "Grand Theft Auto." I hear those might be tame by today's standards.

    But here's the rub, of course images and what we see and view impact us. Heck, why would a company bother to advertise on TV if they thought it didn't have an effect?

    My wife and I are school teachers and we went to work right after tragic school shooting in Newtown, CT. But my young son expressed fear in going to school. It's not that we showed any fear of going to school but his young mind was trying to digest the images he had seen on the news and all the talk.

    Further, as a history teacher I show videos in my class. Let's say if I show something about the Holocaust or the Civil Rights movement, I want it to have an impact, perhaps even make my students uncomfortable--but in a good way. Images can be powerful teachers.

  • mytymouse09 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Jan. 12, 2013 8:26 p.m.

    There are those who claim playing violent video games doesn't do any harm because it is make believe, yet seems I've read that some recent shooters, who were considered loners, spent time playing those types of games. Why is it only children we should worry about who watch violent movies, play violent video games? None of the recent shooters were children, but I'm pretty sure the seed for their dastardly deeds was planted by things they saw, read, or played. We need more uplifting movies to see, and movie people (including the stars) who refuse to write, produce, or act in destructive trash. We need to stop supporting the trash being produced. Sad that a chain saw movie has made so much money.
    @ClarkHippo -- I doubt any one movie has resulted in the acts of deranged individuals, but a pretty steady view produced ideas in their minds. I don't think they would even recognize the effect upon them, the change is usually a subtle one.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Jan. 12, 2013 8:21 p.m.

    @one old man

    You said - "I cannot understand why so many good magazines, from Parents to the Ensign have given up on publishing lists of movies and TV shows that are recommended and not recommended."

    Two reasons why such lists would not work:

    1. Lists like that would have to be continually updated over and over again. Who would be in charge of policing and updating all this info?

    2. There are many TV shows and movies which on the surface appear harmless, but in subtle ways contain messages that many people might find objectionable. For example, I know many people, including active LDS Church members, who love the movie Forrest Gump, but Forrest Gump contains numerous swear words including the using Lord's name in vain. It also has several scenes of out of wedlock sex and drug use. Which list would Forrest Gump be on?

    You asked - "But Clark, how often does a person who commits an act of violence really understand in their own mind exactly why they did it?"

    I have no idea, but that to me has more to do with mental illness rather than violence in entertainment.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Jan. 12, 2013 8:17 p.m.

    Clark - one old man's response to you is valid. As the article pointed out kids and teens become "programmed" for more violence when they are exposed to it regularly. It gets wired into them. Their conscious thinking doesn't register the direct connection because that thinking becomes a part of them that they can no longer be objective about. That is human nature.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Jan. 12, 2013 8:13 p.m.

    Parents have to exercise judgement and use common sense. Too often parents don't exercise appropriate judgement. It is better to err on the side of caution and protect/limit exposure to violence in the formative years--including violence that happens within the home or neighborhood. Many times parent's will say, "oh, my child would never do that," but how many adults can accurately predict their own behavior in every situation?

    I remember many years ago watching the (violent) movie, "Total Recall" in a theater and seeing a young child (not baby or toddler) at the movie with 2 adults, I guessed were his parents.

    But I wonder how many children are growing up in homes where the paranoid parents listen to hate radio every day and feel they need to be be armed to protect themselves from the govt. and intruders. Yikes!

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Jan. 12, 2013 7:48 p.m.

    But Clark, how often does a person who commits an act of violence really understand in their own mind exactly why they did it?

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Jan. 12, 2013 7:37 p.m.

    I'm always leery when it comes to blaming violent films, TV shows and video games on real life violence, mostly because there have been very few instances examples of someone saying, "I only decided to commit this crime after watching a violent movie."

    One example of when that did happen was back in 1971 when Stanley Kubrick's film "A Clockwork Orange," came out. Following the release of this film, there were dozens of robberies, rapes and assaults committed throughout the UK by youth who dressed and spoke like the main characters in Clockwork Orange. After several murders were committed by copy cat youth, Kubrick pulled the movie from UK theaters.

    For the most part though, it is hard to say for sure how much of an impact violence in entertainment contributes to violence in real life.

    However, to say there is no connection whatsoever between the two is foolish. If there was no connection at all, why then do we have ratings for films, TV and video games?

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Jan. 12, 2013 7:24 p.m.

    We need far more people with the courage to speak up against movie and TV violence. And even more to simply turn off the TV, to contact sponsors and let them know that as long as they sponsor garbage this family will not be buying their product. We need to stay away from theaters and let the managers know why.

    I cannot understand why so many good magazines, from Parents to the Ensign have given up on publishing lists of movies and TV shows that are recommended and not recommended. Those things need to be brought back.

    Deseret News, when you will be starting?

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Jan. 12, 2013 7:19 p.m.

    A a mom of 5 kids I noticed a difference in my kids behavior and what they were exposed to, even innocent PBS movies affected them. The show "Arthur" had the main character and his little sister constantly being rude to each other. My kids were getting the message that communication between siblings has to be impatient and angry - and I watched it play out in real life. As their exposure to that particular show decreased so did their quarreling.

    As an elementary school teacher one of the best ways to teach a concept is to model it. Kids internalize what they are exposed to on a regular basis. Those who seek to justify gratuitous violence are ignorant.

    That fact that studies in this article confirm this is no surprise.