Violence in the media is deeply prevalent and is often pushed on people from a very young age. In middle school, students may begin to read and watch sci-fi books or movies where violence turns against other people. Soon enough, teens get to the age where they watch movies like “Pulp Fiction”, packed full of people knocking each other’s brains out their noses. This normalization of violence in movies, TV shows and books has a negative impact on teens’ mental health and the way they relate to others and the world as they grow up.
To some degree, violence in the media is reflecting the real world and it is beneficial for those who do not have to experience such violence to understand what others have gone through. However, that only goes to a certain extent. Sci-fi and fantasy films do not reflect reality and most realistic films that are heavy on violence have no correlation to real events. Fighting through hoards of people with swords or guns is not something a Bay Area teenager is ever going to encounter; even though many wish it would be, and that is where the issue lies.
The violence shown in media is always extremely glorified; the hero kills hundreds of people in the span of an hour and half and is congratulated. They saved the day, possibly the world, and almost every time, they had to kill a ridiculous amount of people to do so. As long as it’s ‘bad guys’ they are killing it’s viewed as fine.
Rena Witkin, a Berkeley High School senior said, “Personally I am really sensitive to violence, it always feels big to me to see things like that. But I feel like broadly it kind of desensitizes people because if you grow up seeing violence constantly, like even in cartoons, the point of the humor is that people are getting hurt, … (which) makes it seem funny in the real world too.”
Video games make the issue of glorification of violence even worse. You get to be the one behind the gun, killing thousands of bad guys by pushing buttons, for fun.
The other form of media we consume, the news, also normalizes violence. On the news we are exposed to very real violence that is devastating to real people. Being exposed to this so constantly from the time you are a teenager numbs you to it.
Although violence in media will never stop, the industry needs to stop glorifying violence in the everyday life of teenagers who young viewers look up to. Violence doesn’t have to be included to have an adventure and teens need to see stories that show this.