Article Critique: Violent Media for an Audience of Kids

In the society today, most parents view violent video games or bloody comics as unfit for their children since such media can socialize them to a world of violence engagement when they grow into adulthood. However, in his article, Jones opposes this view and goes on to give different accounts of instances where the violent behavior of rage through the characters of superhero movies such as ‘the Hulk’ contributed to him getting out of an ‘emotional trap.’ According to Jones, though the lessons by both parents and ‘well-meaning’ teachers aimed to protect him from violence, they prevented him from self-discovery and development of a fake personality. In this respect, ‘Hulk’ is responsible for smashing this wall of loneliness and fear through finding his path into professionalism in the comic writing arena. Though Jones agrees that some individuals could be influenced by violent acts and engagement in to become violent, he chooses to focus on the other side of how ‘hundreds of lives have been transformed’ through the same media that the society opposes as an irresponsible way of raising children. In this regard, the essay entails a critique of some of the assumptions and inferences by Jones that violent videos are good for a child’s development and self-actualization.

  The first assumption is that watching and involvement in violence media or games frees an individual from the emotional captivity of a different pro-social doll personality that is dependent on others and can be easily swayed. Jones asserts through three primary accounts which include his own experience, that of his son, and two case studies. In particular, the latter involves a younger and older girl that he contrasts as bad and good mannered, whose involvement in watching violent media resulted in their success stories after self-discovery and learning to manage rage for a positive outcome. Firstly, in the opening statements, Jones describes himself as ‘lonely.’ Afterwards, the author gives an account of the people responsible for this ‘emotional trap’ as the teacher who means well and is progressive, as well as the parents who viewed watching violence as wrong and possible to surmount. The author uses acting the personality advanced by the parents as feeling ‘suffocated in my deepest fears and desire’ by acting as a nice boy. In this respect, Jones tries to give an account of the society’s perspective towards the role of media in influencing the behavior of a child at the developmental stages. The argument is that through such stereotypes of violent movies as bad, most of the emotional feeling of children are confined leading to a double personality that includes the ‘inner self’ and the new engineered by the societal views and needs.

The second assumption is that violent entertainment builds an ‘a more resilient self-hood.’ This is evident through the introduction of ‘the Hulk’ as a superhero who expresses rage makes him get out of this confines and enjoy the ‘juvenile and violent behavior in the film.’  This leads to the development of a new character of ‘self-assertiveness’ and a fearless individual. In the second account, the interaction with his son and other children indicates that ‘living and immersing themselves in violent stories’ contributes significantly to their expressiveness of the true self. For example, his son fears ‘climbing trees’ but when he reads violent stories of fearless superheroes, in one of his favorite comics, the son climbs the tree ‘two weeks’ later.

Also, while describing rage as ‘an energizing emotion,’ Jones argues that ‘even the sweetest of the most civilized children’ do feel the same, even if they do not show it outwardly. In this respect, Jones gives an example of a young girl who through adults trying to control her tomboy behavior as a result of watching violent videos, she found herself more expressive in acting it out by ‘breaking the rules, testing limits and roaring threats.’ However, after telling the stories, the girl became the strongest self-controlled leaders of the class that could draw attention from all genders. In contrast to the ‘bad girl,’ a ‘very good girl,’ involved in a family violence environment, finds solace in viewing bloody movies, and a Pop culture rap artist to find her control. As a result, she could resist usage of drugs and could later become a writer and an activist leader at a later time in life. In both case, despite being good or bad, the expression of rage contributes positively to building the resilience of self-hood.

In conclusion, these examples do indicate that other than influencing people badly, the violent videos can be used positively to promote assertiveness in children as they grow as opposed to denying them the opportunity and imposing another personality on them. An understated assumption in this approach is that, instead of a parenting approach that controls the lives of children by limiting what they watch, the guardian should learn how exposing those to such feeling of rage and greed among others associated with violence can contribute to their positivity in facing their fears and being independent. Further, Jones quotes research by a psychologist that within an individual, there is always fear power-hunger, and rage attribute that they do not want to have. However, through experiencing the violence vicariously by watching violent movies or bloody comics, it can enhance their personality building.

Work Cited

Jones, Gerard., “Violent Media is Good for Kids.” Mother Jones. 2000. Web.

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