Please, Don’t Watch That.

The sadistic popular media and its over-consumption are to blame for the acts of terror in industrial-developed countries. Not only do broadcasters provide a world stage, but also an eager audience that’s waiting for the next delusional – or rational – person ready to commit atrocities.


Since the 1960’s there has been a growing body of evidence (and hopefully obvious evidence) that exposure to violent media in all forms increases the risk of violent behavior in viewers [1]. And since the 1960’s development scholars, Surgeon Generals, and large organizations have recognized, spoken out, and even taken public positions against violence in the media [2-5].

This is not a new problem nor is it a deeply kept secret – and yet popular media depicting violence is continually becoming more widespread and more accessible to younger viewers.

Taken 2008 Prostitution
A still from the movie Taken (2008) depicting the supporting character being auctioned off in a human trafficking scene. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, disturbing thematic material, sexual content, some drug references and language.

This post is in response to recent violent attacks dominating headlines (and heads) across North America, with the intent of bringing awareness to the media we consume and the implications of its propagation.

Where we go wrong

No movie or news network can exist without a good buzz and a few dollars spent to access its content – be it in the form of ticket sales, website advertisements, or the cost of paper publications. Thus, media survives by views and ratings, and profit is made from engagement.

Every view, like, and share signals the content that we engage with most – sending trackable and actionable data back to its producers, indicating which content to produce more of.

This means that every time we tune in to the latest attack or retweet the accompanying bodycam video, we are promoting the very events that we paradoxically want to end.

Las Vegas Massacre
ABC headline reads, “Chaos of Las Vegas massacre seen in newly released police bodycam footage”.

And these events, along with their widespread, circulating content come with painfully real consequences – not just for those involved, but in every viewer also.

No action is without consequence – it’s time that we question what we watch.

References

Huesmann LR. The Impact of Electronic Media Violence: Scientific Theory and Research. The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine. 2007;41(6 Suppl 1):S6-13. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.09.005.

United States Surgeon General’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behavior. 1972. Television and Growing Up: the Impact of Television Violence. United States Public Health Service Office of the Surgeon General.

Murray  JP Results of an informal poll of knowledgeable persons concerning the impact of television violence  Newsl Am Psychol Assoc Div Child Youth Fam Serv 1984;72- 3

Huesmann  LRMoise-Titus  JPodolski  CEron  L Longitudinal relations between children’s exposure to TV violence and their aggressive and violent behavior in young adulthood: 1977-1992  Dev Psychol 2003;39201- 221

American Academy of Family Physicians. Violence in the Media and Entertainment (Position Paper). http://www.aafp.org/about/policies/all/violence-media.html. 2004. Accessed on Oct 4th, 2017.

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