The Effects of Mediated Violence

What's the first thing that pops into your head when you think about violence and the media? The first thing I think of is action movies and crime scene television shows. Sadly enough, just as much violence that is viewed in these programs can be viewed in children's television shows. I watched an episode of the popular children's television series Pokemon. Violence occurred about every five minutes and characters in the show were always ready to fight. The violence was always created by a male. The main viewers of this show are children, meaning if they see it on television they usually think it is acceptable in real life. A personal experience with this is my aunt won't allow my cousin to watch Power Rangers anymore because he will fight with his brothers immediately after watching it. This reaction to watching violent television shows is a direct representation of the modeling theory.
Children may also fear the world after watching such violent television shows. The Cultivation theory suggests that the more violence their is on television, the more we come to believe that our world is more violent than it actually is.
In these animated violent television shows, characters are hurt so badly that they are near death. The characters always improve to full health in a matter of minutes and it seems like the whole thing never happened. The prevailing characters are always seen as the winners, with no consequences to endure. This is seen as reinforcement theory. If children see these character have a sense of fulfillment and no punishment after beating someone up then they too will want to try it. What happens when kids watch this and think they can attack someone to a point to where they are near death? The television show doesn't show consequences so the child shouldn't fear getting in trouble.  If real life is like the cartoons they watch, then the person will heal in a matter of minutes and everything will go back to normal. We know this isn't true, but does a 5 year old who is play fighting with their friend know that after watching Pokemon? Is the picture to the above going to be the next step of violence in children's television?

Content Analysis of Pokemon
Physical Violence
Verbal Violence
Intimidation
The episode starts with two Pokemons fighting.
Ash’s Pokemon finding machine tells him that a certain Pokemon “comes out to steal from stupid travelers”
Gary tries to psych Ash out by saying that he will be a better Pokemon master than Ash.
Gary pushes Ash for being late.

Ash responds with “I’ll show you!”
Ash’s Pokemon ,Pikachu, electrocutes him for no apparent reason multiple times.

Ash tells the birds, “I’m Ash…can’t be defeated by the likes of you..I will capture all of you, come and get me!”
Pikachu’s electricity makes the entire crowd around him pass out.


“To capture a Pokemon, you have to have your Pokemon battle with it.”


Bird Pokemon attacks Ash and Pikachu because Ash threw a rock at it.


Pikachu passes out when a bird attacks him, he regains consciousness, and is attacked again resulted in a worse injury.


Pikachu electrifies all of the attacking birds.


The graph below depicts the variation of violent acts that occurred in the television show Pokemon.



I also content analyzed the television show "The Ultimate Fighter". This show displays fights between a U.S. team and a U.K. team. Not only is the fight brutal, but the trash talking is too. Quotes included in the show were, "I'm going to try and land him on his chin" and "He needs to finish him on the ground". When the fight is over, both teams are friends at the end of the show. For a teenager viewing this content, the image of a quick fight than instant friends may seem a plausible concept. If they model their behavior after what they viewed on the show then they are very likely to get hurt. The losing fighter on the episode I watched ended up with a bloody face and tears. Imagine how much worse the conclusion would be if this was imitated by amateur teenagers.
The television show not only sets a bad example by fighting, but gives teenage boys a false image of what it means to be a man. The opening song states "I want to be a man". This insinuates that to be a man you have to be violent and aggressive. This supports the Socialization theory in that it is promoting the idea that our society will only view you as a man if you can fight. Teenage boys striving to be recognized as a man will participate in violent activities. We really don't need television shows promoting more violence in our world, but if a teenager thinks this is what he has to do to become a man then he will participate.

Content Analysis of "The Ultimate Fighter"
Physical Violence
Verbal Violence
Intimidation
The entire show is two men fighting in an enclosed area.
Theme music, “I want to be a man” insinuating you have to be violent to be a man.
“I caused more damage in my fight.”
The loser ends up with a bloodied face.
“I put him on his butt in the first fight, I’m going to try and land him on his chin.”
“I think this fight will be similar to the last, ending in submission.”

The entire time they fight, spectators are yelling violent moves they should do.

The chart below shows the variation of violence in the television show "The Ultimate Fighter"