Societies rely on media as their main source of information. Infants, born without any cultural trace, are transformed by their parents, media and teachers into socially accepted beings in society. This is referred to as socialization. Positive forces of socialization may lead to acquisition of desired norms within the society and generally uniformity. Mass media has great influence on the traits acquired by individuals as most of them spend a lot of time on these form of socialization. They air programs, which, in one way or another, impact on morals, behavior, and attitude of its victims. The control of the type of films and shows aired is given discretely to the various channels. As Benjamin has put it, “these stations are in business and the one that promotes the most desired film shows wins the audience.”
Violence is one of the main themes of the aired programs. Violence refers to an extreme form of aggression such as murder, rape, and assault. Media contributes to violence in several ways. Research has proved that media encourages violence against women because most shows air scenes of women being raped or experiencing assault from their husbands. Children always learn from what they observe, as it seems practical. Violence may seem as a good way of self protection and guard since most of those characters in the programs use violence to gain fame, wealth, or power. The gun shots, bank robbery, rape cases, and murder present simple scenarios of making quick money to children. They even learn how to hold guns at a tender age. According to Miller (54), “the levels of moral decay in society due to the violence acts in media call for strict scrutiny and research on their prevalence and general impact on socialization.”
Media violence is very evident in television programs. Several hours of observation of television programs on Fox TV, ABC-TV, MTV, Universal Channel, and NBC-TV network were the main source of information. The main television shows viewed and used in the research table were Family Guy from Fox North Shore from Fox, MTV News, The Firm from NBC, Music Lounge from ABC, Grimm from Universal Channel, and Raising Hope from Fox. Variations in times of the day were applied on the stations viewed. A typical 4-hour observation was allocated on TV broadcast to clearly determine levels of violence. The respective networks and most popular channels were monitored in order to decipher overt and deliberate acts involving the use of physical force or weapons with an aim to harm others. A number of scenes observed were clearly analyzed within the short period of time. The type of audience was also put into consideration with children being given a high priority. The research was, however, conducted bearing in mind the violence cases witnessed in the recent past.
Media violence is also deemed to have a desensitizing effect on viewers. This leads to an increase in the number of people accepting them in society. This means that as technology keeps advancing, there will be more violence related movies. As Derrick stated, “sophisticated weapons and graphics will also be displayed.”
Media violence is unrealistic, simple, glorified, and always presented as humorous. The sound of gunshots in films and TV shows is different from real gunshots. This makes people fail to recognize the shots in real life. It is also evident that the consequences of killing, by the deemed good guys, are shown seldom. Some states view acts of violence as a ready and acceptable solution to problems. Derrick claimed that, “the people considered as being bad in society are dead and gone, and cannot harm the society.”
Most frequently watched TV shows were the cartoons, as most children do identify with them. The mean number of violent scenes is eight. This is derived from the total number of all the violent scenes watched divided by the number of types of scenes. Miller argues that, “this shows that within a short period of time (for example the four hours used here), the levels of media violence are soaring high”.
It is clear that media exposure leads to undesirable social consequences. The attraction elicited by violence in media films and programs will lead to more negative social effects. It is deemed that the society is the main cause of moral decay as people still promote the airing of these programs
There are several recommendations that will help solve this problem. It is wise to assess how the presumed violence is used in media. We cannot eliminate all violence from media as it will negate the significance of entertainment. Violence has been a force of attraction in media, and it will be a mockery to reality. The film and TV producers also need to look for other creative ways of capturing their audience rather than violence. This may be costly, but it is the best way to go. Lastly, tools such as the V-chip, which enables parents to monitor and program their televisions in order to filter out the best films and shows for their children, should be used.