The Effects of Violence on Youth

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27 February 2016

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In recent years, the advancement in entertainment technology in the field of and the increasing liberalization of America and its media have led to the creation and marketing of violent forms of entertainment. This includes such technologies movies, TV shows, video games, and news outlets. Today’s youth have easy accessibility to many of these violent forms of entertainment and are increasingly exposed to them at younger ages. The exposure to gore and violence has caused many people to believe that America’s youth are becoming increasing desensitized to violence. This exposure to violence through various media outlets may cause an exponential increase in violent actions of America’s youth and certain harmful effects to those exposed. The experience of violent events harms youth. The increasing publicity by media sources of violent crimes such as shootings may cause children to question their safety at public locations and events. Shootings near the Empire State building that left nine wounded and one dead and the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, that left 20 students and six staff members dead affect not only the victims, their families, and their communities but the whole populous of the United States. Such blatantly open and violent acts are now often recorded and show to the public via News channels and other media outlets. They have caused many people, especially youth, to suffer unseen scares such as emotional and cognitive distress. Furthermore, violent events in a majority of Americans cities specifically in areas of lower income families and individuals have rendered 90% of the youth in those regions exposed to violence (Braunstein, M.D. Glenn D). Studies have shown that one fifth of these children suffer from depression. One third of these children even suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) a disorder most common seen in war veterans. Additionally, studies have proven prolonged exposure to the stress of violence have caused the elevated excretion of certain hormones in children. This causes impaired cognition of the brain, specifically in the areas of learning, memory, and the regulation of emotion. Experts have proven the youth who are increasingly exposed to violence consistently score lower on vocabulary and reading exams. Further, symptoms of those exposed to violence include: emotional numbing and detachment, increased arousal, trouble sleeping and nightmares. Youth suffering from increased exposure to violence or PTSD are more prone to exhibit aggressive and self destructive behaviors such as flashbacks, feelings of guilt, self-harm and even suicide (PTSD: National Center for PTSD). The younger the child is when he/she experiences a violent action or event the more prone he/she is to developing more extreme symptoms. It is imperative that the youth of America be protected from these increasingly more violent and widely dispersed acts of violence. Exposure to violence in media has increased drastically in the last 30 years. Much of this expose comes from the movie many of which children are allowed to view. Modern movies have become increasing more violent than their predecessors yet the ratings have remained the same. The Motion Picture Association of America describes a PG-13 movie as a film with content that “may go beyond the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, adult activities or other elements, but does not reach the restricted R category.” While this definition has remained the same, the material now allowed into movies is consistently more violent and graphic than its predecessors.

Since 1950 violent content in pg-13 movies has more than doubled (Study: Violence Levels in Movies Have Skyrocketed over Last 30 Years). In fact, many of today’s pg-13 films would have been rated R in years past. In comparison, other questionable topics found in movies such as drug use and sexuality have not increased in amount since past years and movies with increased amounts of these topics are still rated R. This implies that in recent years the media and the people viewing set media are becoming increasingly desensitized to violence. Researchers have proposed that similar to drug addicts, the American public have grown accustom to ever increasing amounts of violence in movies and need more and more violence to be entertained. One such movie series that accurately portrays this increasingly violent trend is the “Rambo” series (Study: Violence Levels in Movies Have Skyrocketed over Last 30 Years). Every movie released becomes increasingly violent. People who watch violent videos become increasingly more prone to violent actions. We as a society and a people, especially the younger generation who have been exposed since birth, are becoming more violent and prone to violent behavior. This in effect has made the people of America less humane. Video games have become an increasingly more popular form of entertainment, and many of these games have become increasingly violent as well. In depth research has proven that violent videogames can and do cause more violent actions in its users, even more so in youth. Young people do not have as high cognitive function as adults nor do they have the ability to control their emotions as well. Furthermore, it has been proven that developing violent video gaming habits develop more violent every day habits (Carey, Benedict). However it is not proven if violent video games increase the likelihood that a person will commit a violent crime, such as murder, rape, or assault. One study showed that those who played violent video games took longer to help an injured victim, rated a given fight as less serious, and were less likely to respond to a fight compared to those who played non-violent video games. The same pattern applied to those who watched violent movies. A psychologist at Iowa State University led a research team that studied 47 undergraduates who played “Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance” for 15 minutes. It also tested whether the students would behave more aggressively, by having them dole out hot sauce to a fellow student who, they were told, did not like spicy food but had to swallow the sauce. Compared with a group who had played a nonviolent video game, those who had been engaged in “Mortal Kombat” were more aggressive across the board. They gave their fellow students larger portions of the hot sauce. Similar studies also concluded similar results for a short time after playing video games one is more likely to act in a violent nature. Video games are not solely responsible for extremely violent actions such as shootings. However, in tandem with other aggressive stimulants such as bulling and depression it may set of violent actions of an individual.

Some experts suggest that video game have a relatively low impact on daily function. Though many studies have been done, no conclusive evidence has been presented that violent video games have long term effects on its users. Though violent video games might play a small roll in behavior, most scientists suggest that the culture of one’s society plays a much higher part in development of aggressive behaviors. In most studies of this subject, one or more areas was flawed resulting no decisive evidence has been presented concluding that these studies of the effects of video games on violence are a positive indicator of the increased violent actions (Etchells, Pete). Though there may be a correlation between violent videogames and violent actions, correlation does not prove causation. Furthermore, studies have shown that while we are the nation with the highest murder rate per capita, we are not the nation with the highest violent video game consumption (Kain, Erik). The fact may be that because the USA has such a high murder rate and use of video games that the correlation between the two might be entirely coincidental. Some studies show that video games may benefit ones cognitive process. A study on two groups of college student’s, one group who didn’t play video games and one group the who played simple video games for 30min a day. An MRI of the brain after the experiment showed that the group who played video games had significantly more grey matter in their right hippocampus, right prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum; these areas of the brain are responsible for spatial navigation, memory formation, strategic planning and fine motor skills in the hands. This study also suggested that video games can be used to treat some mental disorders including Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia (Guarini, Drew). Another study concluded that those who played strategic video games achieved better scores on physiological tests and completed cognitive tasks with better speed and accuracy. Furthermore, playing video games for a mere two hours a week may slow the mental decay process and therefore decrease the effects of aging. An Italian research team presented evidence that playing faster paced videogames may help children with dyslexia read better. Moreover, video games have been proven to alleviate mental stress and act as a pain reliever. Additionally, videogames are known to improve eyesight if played for an hour a week. Video games have benefits and are worth playing for that reason however, this does not justify the increasingly violent actions that these games portray to children. The level of violence the children of America are allowed to view is disturbing. Violence has in no way proven to benefit the development of youth. The cognitive and psychological heath of youth in America is declining with every violent act experienced and perceived. Our families, our communities, and our nation need to take responsibility to ensure the safe development of youth in our nation. The children of America represent the future of America. If the people in America do not support the safe development of youth, then they do not support the continued development of America. To insure the future safety of America we as Americans need to ensure the safety of our youth. The nations must more closely monitor and restrict the amount of violence our nation’s youth may view.

Increasing violence viewed though various media outlets have been proven to cause increased aggression in today’s youth. Violence has been proven to severely hurt youth not only psychologically but cognitively as well. Though some studies may show no direct evidence between the use of violent videogame and violent actions as a nation the United States should error on the side of safety. It is imperative that the United States monitor more closely the youth use of such violent video games as to prevent the negative effects that go with it. Furthermore communities need to make safer to protect today’s youth from events that will most definitely scar them and damage their development. Violence has negative effects on youth and should therefore be more closely monitored and restricted.

Braunstein, M.D. Glenn D. “Violent Events Have Long-Term Effects on Children.” The Huffington Post., 24 Sept. 2012. Web. 21 Feb. 2014. . This article explains the effects of violent events on today’s youth. As the article is written by a doctor it is a credible source and a valuable addition to my paper. “Media Violence.” Media Violence. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2014. . This article written by pediatricians discusses the harmful effects of media violence on today’s youth. Since it is written by pediatricians I have labeled it a credible source. “Study: Violence Levels In Movies Have Skyrocketed Over Last 30 Years.” Jonathan Wolfe, 21 Feb. 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2014. . This article discuses the increased violence in movies over the past 30 years it is a good indicator of the increasing liberalization of violence in America. Guarini, Drew. “9 Ways Video Games Can Actually Be Good For You.” The Huffington Post., 07 Nov. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. . This source help me develop reason that video games all research came from sited sources so it is credible. Carey, Benedict. “Shooting in the Dark.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Feb. 2013. Web. 18 Feb. 2014. . This source helped me develop more in depth research into the effects of violent video games on youth. “PTSD: National Center for
PTSD.” PTSD. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2014. . This source assisted me in my evaluation of the effects of violence. PTSD is one of many effects violence has on its victims Etchells, Pete. “What Is the Link between Violent Video Games and Aggression?” Guardian News and Media, 19 Sept. 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2014. This source helped me discern the faults of studies and the opposition to my assertion. Kain, Erik. “Do Games Cause Real-World Violence?” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 18 Sept. 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2014. . This source helped me discern the faults of studies and the opposition to my assertion.

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"The Effects of Violence on Youth" StudyScroll, Feb 27, 2016.

"The Effects of Violence on Youth" StudyScroll, 27-Feb-2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 27-Sep-2023]

StudyScroll. (2016). The Effects of Violence on Youth. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 27-Sep-2023]

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