Saturday, December 02, 2006

Children & Media Violence

“And by what our children learns to associate violence?
They associate with soft-drink, or with their favorite candies.
We play a role on raised a generation who learn to associate violence with pleasure”

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Finally (when television program with violence images as main content, like ‘smack-down’, hurt ours child), everybody yelled out, criticized and demanded to halt all kinds of television product which have violence substance.

As consequence, recently mass media become a main part of public debate. Unfortunately, public argues about recognizably ideas. Public already knows that media, as warned by Marshall McLuhan, is a central dynamics of our present life.

Media have an influential energy. They are able to entertains, teach, educates, and mislead us, unrelenting with unbelievable variation. They also as an absurdity sign of our world, spreads the expressive freedom, frequently unlimited, and able to direct all sorts of realities.

In relations to our social world, media could have a neutral characteristic, sometimes without sensibilities, toward moralize and spiritual messages. They could present a luxury scene in one second, and poor people whose starvation in next second.

Forced Entertainment Industry

An extensive study about relation between media violence and aggressive children on various countries shows considerable cross-cultural generalizability (Social Psychology, 1999:407). Its have meaning that those studies adequately applied on several countries with different culture. So, we could use the result of 1998’s National Television Violence Study on USA, as a scientific base on how we shall be reacting toward our television programs.

Latest news has shown that our refusal, even if reactionary, already forced Lativi to stop ‘smack-down’ program. It’s surely relieved our furies, included justify the fact about social responsibility from media to reduce all sorts of program with violence substance. Nevertheless, we ought to realize carefully, that aggressive children not emerge from singular cause, like those ‘smack-down’ program. It’s a complex behavior state.

Another vehicle for children to learning about violence still encircle excessively. From entertainment industries, movies loaded with violence which presented at prime time and accessible to our child, criminal news (media publicity about child-suicide could be a trigger for children to do same thing in future), up to an electronic games that played everyday by our child.

On this ‘smack-down’ case, significant trigger possibly came from ‘smack-down’ games, rather than its television program. This hypothesis, according to senior researcher of MIT Janet Murray, based on several research which shown that interactive games have more pervasive consequences to real life (High Tech High Touch, 1999:111). An electronic simulation on ‘smack-down’ games could transfer everything that learned by children in ‘simulation’ world to real life.

Games which played, violence images from movies and television program which digested by our children, become a part from children’s life experiences, and influenced children to shape their world-view. This synthesis roll-out violence images continuously.

Therefore, efforts to protect our child from media violence not only depend on media’s social responsibility, but also from entertainment and games industry. This process, as we’re forced tobacco industries to increase their fiscal and social responsibilities, take an exhausted time and debate.

Internal Feedback

Polemic around violence program which consumed by children also become a feedback, a self-criticism process for parents, educators and institutes that interested in this issues.

We, all of parent and educator, also have to evaluate our self. Where are we, when our child still wakes up in late of night? Have we known that some of our child’s spare time used for playing a violence games. Or, why educator, as a replacement parent in school, didn’t identified early symptoms from aggressive children and communicated its information to parents.

Those evaluative questions helped us to mapping a problem more objectively, and put our reactionaries’ attitude (and blame the other obsessively) aside. We must understand that we have a possibility to play unconsciously role on violence desensitization to our child.

This possibility also worried by David Grossman, the writer of ‘Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action against TV, Movie and Video Games Violence’. Dr Grossman said that we have a possibility to let our child watch violence images alone. On his book, Dr Grossman also asks, “And by what our children learns to associate violence? They associate with soft-drink, or with their favorite candies. We play a role on raised a generation who learn to associate violence with pleasure”.

In same intensity, self-criticism also prevails for institutes that interested in media violence-child issues. We all knew that ‘smack-down’ program already presented for several years ago. But, why those institutes gave their hard react recently, whereas in fact we also knew about its negative impact since several years ago too.

We surely not only wanted an artificial interests, but also a sustainable aid against media violence. We need a systematic guidance equipment, included an adequate assistance to identified violence products which sell to our child.

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