Whodunit—The Media? by: Maggie Cutler

In Maggie Cutler’s essay, “Whodunit–The Media?” she explores the question: “Does media violence lead to real-life violence, making children more antisocial and aggressive” (686).  She references many studies and authors that give varying opinions on the matter, however it is the study from Stanford that suggests the most corrective and positive results. “The study team, headed by Thomas Robinson, simply worked with teachers, parent, and kids to help children lower their overall media use voluntarily. As a result of the six-month program, which involved classroom instruction, parental support, and peer pressure , kids media use about 30 percent less than usual. And, they found, verbal and physical aggression levels subsequently dropped 25 percent on average. . . Its clearest finding wasn’t that media violence is always harmful but that too much mediated experience seems to impair children’s ability to interact well with other people,” (688).  Although this study’s results  didn’t necessarily prove that  media violence effects children’s behavior, but rather “it is really a study of media overuse, self-awareness, and rewards of self-discipline, (688). These results prove ‘rule of the real’ ; “The rule of real says that however strong media influences may be, real life is stronger” (689). I can say from personal say that  despite my undoubtedly unhealthy obsession with old films, Netflix, and TV in general, I have been far more affected by personal experiences, experience when I was interacting with actual people, and not watching it on my TV. However, I will say that my preferences in movies, and shows on TV were shaped by my personal experiences, rather than vice versa,

What I could glean from Cutler’s essay is that children are easily influenced by the content in the media today, particularly the violence. The constant viewing of movies and TV shows that extol the lives of ‘kickass heroines’ and machine-gun-wielding heroes has become the norm for children, as well as their heroes’ language and appalling behavior, that it’s no wonder kids today are not becoming the lovely little cherubs that they were a generation ago. I agree that the amount of violent content in the media today has changed, and that the specific content that a child is allowed to view should be undoubtedly monitored by a parent, to ensure that the child’s behavior is not negatively altered.

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One thought on “Whodunit—The Media? by: Maggie Cutler

  1. After sighing a breath of relief at a fellow Netflix addict, I must agree with you. I have never watched an episode of Breaking Bad and said, “hey, let’s do some meth.” However, personal experiences have more potential to influence those who experience them; especially kids at an impressionable age.

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