The Virus of Violence

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Information about The Virus of Violence

Published on February 20, 2008

Author: CoolDude26


The Virus of Violence:  The Virus of Violence A Presentation for the Windsor Married Couples The Littleton, Colorado Tragedy:  The Littleton, Colorado Tragedy April 20, 1999: Carrying several weapons and setting off homemade bombs, teen-agers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded about 26 others before committing suicide. What could make kids do this?:  What could make kids do this? Gun ownership is nothing new. They have always been available in America. But why are kids taking them to school to use on other kids? How did we get to this point? Society’s weathervanes:  Society’s weathervanes Children are the most sensitive members of society. They fully experience any changes and can serve as ‘indicators’ for society. The trends they show are not pretty: For ages 15-24, murder is the second-leading cause of death. For African-American youths, murder is number one. Every 5 minutes, a child is arrested in America for committing a violent crime. Gun-related violence takes the life of an American child every 3 hours. Estimates indicate at least 4,881 gangs in the U.S, with about 250,000 members total. Since 1960, teen suicide has tripled. Society’s weathervanes:  Society’s weathervanes Every day, an estimated 270,000 students bring guns to school. One out of every fifty children has a parent in prison. At least 160,000 children miss school every day because they fear an attack or intimidation by other students. One in three girls, and one in seven boys are sexually abused by age 18. Teachers report more and more students as young as seven discussing the ‘thrills’ of stabbing a kitten to death or torturing a pet. What about the rest of Society?:  What about the rest of Society? The homicide/assault rates should be decreasing because: The population is aging (prime crime age is 16-24) Better social services/understanding of social conditions that are linked to crime: poverty, racism, abuse, etc. But this is not the case. Americans are trying to kill each other at an increasing rate. The two main factors responsible for keeping the homicide rate down are: Medical advances/technology A high imprisonment rate (the highest in the industrialized world) An ‘Epidemic’ of violence::  An ‘Epidemic’ of violence: TV violence and its effects from the 1950’s to the present Violent Entertainment An ‘epidemic’ of violence: :  An ‘epidemic’ of violence: By 1981, the national murder rate had doubled (since the 1950s) and the National Center for Disease Control began a research program to determine why. 7 years of research determined the most influential factor to be… Television violence. The study even went as far as saying that if “television technology had never been developed, there would be 10,000 fewer murders each year in the United States, 70,000 fewer rapes, and 700,000 few injurious assaults.” The history of television violence::  The history of television violence: First Congressional hearing on TV violence held in 1952. In the early 1950s, one quarter of all U.S households owned a TV. TV programming was largely non-violent, with a sizable percentage of shows being informative or inspirational in nature. Television programming was slower paced. Television in the mid 1950s::  Television in the mid 1950s: American families would turn off the TV to discuss what they had watched. Radio was a viable alternative to TV, and could be just as intellectually stimulating. Neighbors visited one another more, and games were enjoyed as a form of entertainment. Violence as entertainment::  Violence as entertainment: In a bid to gain regular viewers, networks tried something very different: they introduced the violent and action-packed shows The Untouchables and Gun smoke which became overnight hits. Networks had stumbled upon the ‘violence formula’ Violence and Television: :  Violence and Television: Since 1982, TV violence has increased 780%. Teachers have reported an 800% increase in aggressive acts on the playground. They have also noticed that words turn to pushing, turn to punching much quicker than 10 years ago. How did it happen? The fruit of Violence as Entertainment::  The fruit of Violence as Entertainment: Aggression, Desensitization, and Fear Violent Entertainment  Agression/Desensitization The Television Link::  The Television Link: 1984 marked the end of a 22 year study, which followed the fates of 875 children living in a semi-rural county in the U.S. Its findings were shocking: The amount of TV they watched at age 8 determined the seriousness of criminal acts for which they were convicted at age 30. Boys and girls who had watched more TV at age 8, punished their children more severely than those parents who had watched less TV as children. It’s just a toaster with pictures… :  It’s just a toaster with pictures… Another study concluded in 1986 centered on the effects of the introduction of TV to a remote, rural community (Notel). Children and adults demonstrated a significant increase in verbal and physical aggression after the two years. With the introduction of TV, young children’s behavior changed more than older children or adults. Children as well as adults more often used aggressive behavior as a successful or acceptable method for achieving goals During the two years of the study, rates of physical aggression among Notel’s kids increased 160%! Going numb: violence desensitization :  Going numb: violence desensitization With continued exposure to violence, we become callous towards acts of brutality and the effects of violence. Violence becomes ‘cool’. Violence does not happen only because of aggression: it is also caused by others not intervening. Testing, testing…:  Testing, testing… In a 1974 study, a group of fifth-graders were randomly assigned to watch 15 minutes of a violent crime drama, or 15 minutes of televised baseball. Afterward, the investigator left each child in charge of supervising two children via a TV monitor. After the investigator left, the two children began to fight. The children who had just watched 15 minutes of TV violence were 5 times more likely NOT to summon help. Cultural insensitivity training::  Cultural insensitivity training: The definition of what is acceptable, even normal, changes with our level of desensitization. Movies like Natural Born Killers, Fight Club, Pulp Fiction, or The Matrix would not have been tolerated, never mind become commercially successful in 1939, the year in which Wuthering Heights, The Wizard of Oz, and Gone with the Wind were released. With the escalation of screen violence, ‘simple’ violence becomes passé. We also become desensitized to violence when it is presented to us without any rationalization or consequence. The fear factor::  The fear factor: A constant diet of media violence increases distrust and fear in society. Violent and/or scary programs and movies can have devastating effects on children, ranging from anxiety, crying, stomachaches, and nightmares to post-traumatic stress syndrome. Medical journals note cases where young people have been hospitalized for several days or weeks after watching horror movies such as The Exorcist and The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The ‘mean world syndrome’: Those who watch more than five hours of TV daily are more fearful than those who watch three hours or less. Where are we now? :  Where are we now? By age 18, the average viewer will have watched 200,000 dramatized violent acts, and 40,000 dramatized murders. Television executives still claim that viewers are unaffected or only slightly affected by television violence. If commercials are so powerful that they can influence viewers in 30 seconds, what about the hours of television watched voluntarily? Acting it out:  Acting it out Killing the conscience To create a Killer Violent Entertainment  Agression/Desensitization  Killing the Conscience Conscientious Objectors by design: :  Conscientious Objectors by design: Humans are not, by nature, close-range impersonal killers. Even animals use violent, but not usually lethal methods to determine social order. In order for a normal person to learn to kill, their God-given conscience needs to be turned off. Learning to Kill: training Soldiers:  Learning to Kill: training Soldiers The environment teaches. The new soldier is desensitized by going through ‘Boot Camp’. Though the soldier is being taught to kill, the military still has two safeguards in place: harsh discipline and character development. Learning to Kill: teaching Kids:  Learning to Kill: teaching Kids The environment teaches. Children are desensitized by exposure to violence at a very young age. Kids are natural imitators. They see violence and they imitate it in their play and in real life. No safeguards to control their violent impulses have been installed. Imitation and Identification::  Imitation and Identification: Children are born imitators Children naturally respond to visual and emotional stimulation in screen content. For a child, identification with a character is a very real thing. This identification has a dark side… A child who comes from a family where abuse is present faces additional challenges. Upsetting young brains:  Upsetting young brains Brains of violent and non-violent people are different. The young brain changes considerably during the developmental stages of childhood and adolescence. Children who spend 4 or more hours a day staring at a screen do not get enough stimulation for healthy brain development. A fixation with violent on-screen images causes stress on the brain’s primal alert system. While watching violent programming, two factors are at work building the child’s stress levels. The death of the conscience :  The death of the conscience The conscience is a gift of God that dwells in the thinking mind. How often do we hear of kids being completely indifferent to the crimes they commit? Brains subjected to a constant state of over stimulation become ‘worn out’, and sociopathic behaviors result. Conditioning:  Conditioning Activating the stimulus-response mechanism Violent Entertainment  Agression/Desensitization  Killing the Conscience  Conditioning Building a better soldier:  Building a better soldier From the time period of Napoleon until the Second World War, training techniques didn’t appreciably change. Once modern armies understood the ‘problem’ of the average soldier’s aversion to killing, they were quick to replace old training techniques with new ones. For young people, once a mind has become desensitized to violent images, it can then be conditioned. The Gun, The Skill, The Will::  The Gun, The Skill, The Will: Computers do a fine job of simulating the conditions needed to learn to kill. Simulators nurture the skill and the will to kill: operant conditioning is used to establish a stimulus-response mechanism. Soldiers or Police Officers are conditioned to respond instinctively: they shoot to kill. Do-it-yourself violence:  Do-it-yourself violence For years, Hollywood or the TV served as the only source to satisfy viewer’s appetites for violence. As graphic as violence on the big screen is, it can’t compete with a medium where you, not a scripted actor, control the action. “Video games are the first medium to combine visual dynamism with an active participatory roll for the child” The sure-fire combination of ultra-violence and amusement park fun make for addictive game-play. The quest for ‘real’ violence:  The quest for ‘real’ violence Doom and Duke Nukem 3D Landmarks in videogame violence:  Doom and Duke Nukem 3D Landmarks in videogame violence Teaching Criminal behavior: Grand theft Auto - Vice City:  Teaching Criminal behavior: Grand theft Auto - Vice City The next generation of violence: More ‘real’ than ever before.:  The next generation of violence: More ‘real’ than ever before. The quest continues…:  The quest continues… What makes a ‘good’ game? :  What makes a ‘good’ game? An addictive game is a ‘good’ game! The player experiences feelings of mastery and control. The level of play is calibrated to the player’s ability level. The player receives immediate and continual reinforcement. The player can escape the problems of reality through game play. Game play can set up a pattern of addiction, with a definite ‘drug-response’. If it’s good enough for the army…:  If it’s good enough for the army… Games like Duck-Hunt, Doom, and Time Crisis have all been adapted for use by the military. These simulators work very well. Taking off the safety on America’s kids:  Taking off the safety on America’s kids Mass-murder Syndrome Paducah, Kentucky Wesley Schafer Jonesboro, Arkansas Columbine High School, Littleton Colorado What is the Christian answer?:  What is the Christian answer? For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7 KJV) The Christian and the World::  The Christian and the World: (Psa 11:5 KJV) The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. (Luke 3:14 KJV) And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. (Titus 1:15 KJV) Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. (Rom 12:2 KJV) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. The Christ-Like Heart::  The Christ-Like Heart: (1 Pet 3:8,9 KJV) Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

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