Portrayal of Sex and Violence in the Media, and Its Effect on Society

Topics: Violence Pages: 9 (1806 words) Published: October 9, 2015

Discuss twentieth century communication developments, milestones, and applications exemplifying changes in media portrayal of sex and violence. Over the years, the influence of mass media has increased in ways no one could have anticipated as technology has expanded in unforeseen ways. Initially, there were books and newspapers and photography. This expanded to sound recordings, films, radio and television; finally, we have arrived at the advent of the Internet. Different as these mediums may be, there are some important similarities. All these mediums influence the publics’ interest related behavior, taste, outlook and overall values. If we start with discussing 19th Century America, we will find a country using newspapers to navigate in a rapidly changing environment. In the early 20th century, film and radio would be added as widely accepted forms of media. Television would soon follow and prove to be an important source of both entertainment and information. Internet would be the next frontier and prove to be the most accessible and interactive of all forms of communication. All forms of communication are going to be rich with sex and violence; from the heartbreaking violence of 9/11, reports of episodes of school violence, to overt sexual scenes like those in 50 Shades of Grey, to a more subtle packaging of a product or artist with sexual innuendo. In each example the basic understanding is sex and violence sell. As our access to information has increased, so has the media awareness and reporting about violence. It is a widely held belief that as we are exposed to more violence and sexual content, we become desensitized. Explain how the negative effects of sex and violence on children have increased in media technology. Provide examples and cite at least one contemporary news article. Sexuality and violence stimulates and captivates an audience. Unfortunately, sometimes the audience includes children and their behavior can be strongly affected by this exposure. According to Ross (2012) “Early exposure to sexual content in the media may have a profound impact on children’s values, attitudes and behaviors toward sex and relationships”. Pediatricians warn that media violence can be particularly damaging to children under eight years of age because they can’t readily tell the difference between real life and fantasy. “Violent behaviors are learned according to Dr. Slutkin (Herbert, 2010 p 1) “They are largely formed by modeling, the almost unconscious copying of one another”. Another study found that even adolescents who were not naturally aggressive but spent a lot of time playing violent video games are ten times more likely to be involved in fights than those who do not play violent video games as much (Walsh & Gentile, 2001) More than 90 percent of American kids play video games. The number might be as high as 99 percent of boys and 94 percent of girls. It is not just kids;  according to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), 58 percent of all Americans play video games. Time spent playing video games is on the rise as well; one study shows that average daily video game play among kids ages 8 to 18 rose from 26 minutes per day in 1999 to almost 110 minutes per day by 2009. The numbers are even higher for boys, 25 percent of whom play video games for four or more hours per day (Barclay, 2014). An example of how exposure to sexual content manifests includes imitation of the sexual behaviors. The negative impact in relation to violence may include a child or young person committing crimes or bullying. I would be remiss in not mentioning the recent shooting of Christians at Umpqua Community College as a recent example of violence in the news. According to USA Today “The male shooter — who they have refused to name publicly in an effort to avoid giving him further notoriety — was killed in a shootout with police around 10:30 a.m. PT on Thursday. Ten people were killed and seven injured in...

References: Barclay, R. (2014, August 28). Do Video Games Make Kids Saints or Psychopaths (and Why Is It So Hard to Find Out)? Retrieved from http://www.healthline.com/health-news/video-games-saints-or-psychopaths-082814#1
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DePasquale, A (2013) Ten Crimes That Were Blamed on Video Games Retrieved from
(N.D) Obscenity, Indecency & Profanity Retrieved from http://www.fcc.gov/guides/obscenity-indecency-profanity-faq
Osterreicher, Mickey (2012) Recording in public places and your first amendment rights Videomaker Magazine
Walsh, D., & Gentile D. (2001) A Validity Test of Movie, Television, and Video-Game Ratings. Pediatrics, 107, 1302-1308.
5 Principles of Journalism(2013) Retrieve from http://ethicaljournalismnetwork.org/en/contents/5-principles-of-journalism
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