Essay on Media Violence and Adolescents

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Media Violence and Adolescents

A "hot topic" of discussions today is the issue of violence in the media. After reading about the subject, I am convinced that media violence negatively affects the viewer. The most susceptible are the young.

John Grisham wrote a powerful essay called "Unnatural Killers." Since the writing of the essay, it has caught some flak from reviewers in light of his novel A Time to Kill. In this novel, the "good guy" kills. The points he made in his essay, however, are still valid. "Unnatural Killers" tells the dramatic story of Sarah Edmondson and Benjamin Darras's killing spree. Sarah and Ben killed one person and seriously injured another. Sarah testifies that the inspiration for this
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And a killer from Massachusetts told his girlfriend that he and the other killers are "natural born killers" (The Freedom Forum).

We cannot blame the media for all of society's problems, as Madeline Levine says in "Media and the Adolescent" (357), but to say that media has no effect on teenagers would be absurd. Levine pointed out that, "Children who watch 'Sesame Street' can increase their cognitive skills; those who watch 'Mr. Rogers' have been shown to exhibit more compassionate behavior" (357). I have heard no arguments against this fact. Why then, should we believe the claims of those who say that violent influences have no impact? Teenagers who depend on the television for information might easily be misguided. The world shown on the screen is often unrealistic. U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno says, "Only if we provide appropriate guidance can we expect our young people to understand that not everything on the screen has a place on the street corner..." (Center for Media Literacy). Deborah Prothrow-Stith is the dean of Harvard University's School of Public Health. She tells the story of a young man who had been shot, and was surprised that it hurt. "...it dawned on me that what he sees on television is that when the superhero gets shot in the arm, he uses that arm to hold onto a truck going 85 miles an hour around a

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