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Violence Doesn't Just Stay on the Page
The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Unwind, Gregor the Overlander, and all those zombie and vampire books. The list goes on forever. Twilight, Breaking Dawn, Kill Order.
Now, I ask you. What are these books all about? What is the main topic? And can you see any similarities? Hmm, let’s see. Games where innocent teenagers fight to the death, kids are trapped in a deadly maze, people are cut open and have their body parts “reused”. Let’s not forget about the the evil vampires, stories of the world ending, and people killing and eating each other in hopes to survive.
I can understand why this type of book may be considered entertaining for some people, but think about it. Is it really entertaining to hear about a game where innocents fight to the death? To me, it is just disturbing, as I find lots of teen books. And not just books. It’s media: video games, TV, and computer games.
No. It’s not just books.
A study on Dailymail.co found that in 1950, only 10% of homes in America had televisions. Today, 99% of homes have televisions. To make matters worse, a child will see more than 16,000 murders by age 18.
This is not just pointless, as you may think. In the book, Violence In the Media, by Carol Wekesser, a Canadian town received TV for the first time, and over the course of 2 years, experienced a 160% increase in violent behaviors. In addition, a University of Illinois study found that if kids and teens watch a lot TV when they are younger, they can become violent and abusive adults. So it won’t just affect you now, but later too.
Dr. Rona Tutt, former head of the National Association of Headteachers, and says that “Children's books are becoming so violent and sexualised they should be accompanied by explicit content warnings.” She states that people never used to write this way for children and teens, and many parents buy these books not knowing what they contain. Her solution is to have a section in bookstores/libraries with a tag, “contains adult material.”
Yes, I can see how people might find these type of books, games, and TV shows entertaining. The plot might be interesting, the story cool, and it’s fasted paced. And yes, I can possibly see what life lessons you could learn from these shows and books.
It’s fascinating to hear about innocent children getting killed brutally in a deadly maze.
And you can learn so much by reading, in vivid detail, a fight to the death between 24 teens, a fight simply put on for entertainment.
What can be learned from this? I don’t know about you, but I highly doubt any teen is going to take away any message from The Hunger Games about, “be yourself!”, or “Everyone will find someone perfect for them,” or any other positive message. What message will teens more likely take away? Or kids younger than teens? I can’t say, because I haven’t read it. But ask yourself. “What did you take away from The Hunger Games?”
In 5th grade, I tried to read the Hunger Games. I was only at the 10th chapter when I put it down. I was terrified, thinking of those awful, awful games. I remember being awake for nights on end, thinking and thinking. Thinking of things I shouldn’t have known about. Thinking of things I was much too young to hear. This is a very common problem today. The twilight series, which was written for kids age 14 and up, is read by children much younger than that. My friend said she read that series at age 10.
My younger brother is affected by these things too. He has been terrified to go to sleep at night- sometimes even just by seeing covers of books or an advertisement for a new movie or TV show he has seen on TV. Video games and computer games affect him too. After playing some game where you have to kill zombies, he wants to wrestle and quotes violent statements he has heard. He never used to do any of this before our cousin exposed him to his violent games.
Although violence is a part of human nature, we are taking it too far in the media. As we create a world of anger, violence and hate in the media, that is what are own world today becomes. You may not even realize it as you watch your favorite show, but everything you do and everything you see affects you. As you play Halo or watch lots of R rated movies, what you see becomes a part of you, and has an impact on what you do or say. We need to open our eyes to the violence that is going too far, carrying our world with it.