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Media Effects Debate

“The Killing Screens” BBC Panorama 1995 documentary

Conclusion from the experiment, do films containing violence influence the audience?

Nathan Martinez Case- murders 2 family members.

  • Obsessed with a violent movie- killed family members half-sister (10) and step mother (42)
  • Surrounded by a violent home environment
  • Loved natural born killers- facing trial for 2 murders
  • Natural Born Killers show happiness from killing parents
  • Seen the film 10 times
  • On the run from a double murder
  • Does things, says things “just like in the movie”
  • Revealing to a friend who had seen the movie with him, the murders that he had done
  • Shot step mother in the head
  • Friend says “films glamourized death and murderers got away with it”
  • Nathan went on the run like his idols on TV
  • Stolen weapons from Nathan’s father, found in the boot of his car
  • Police says “he probably felt like he had accomplished something and thought he got away with it”
  • Blaming it on use of cannabis to kill people
  • TV/media violence and real life progression
  • “New films represent events in a different way”
  • “Every new media creates similar anxiety’s”
  • “Power rangers influence children- aired before and after school and on Saturdays”
  • “Son gets so into the film he thinks he’s one of them”
  • Children say they “pretend to fight like power rangers” because that’s what they do
  • Children copy what they see on screen, however there is no evidence that they all turn out to be violent individuals in the future
  • Media says “films/ cartoons including violence are unrealistic and children should know”
  • “Children try out new actions they see on TV and see if it works in their everyday life”
  • In an experiment children who have watched a violent scene, choose to hurt an opponent that they are against in the experiment which they think is ‘reaction time’. The children choose to hurt their opponent who have watched the violent scene whereas children who haven’t watched a violent scene choose not to hurt their opponent
  • “Children coming from a violent background have more empathy”
  • Significant increase in violence in younger people
  • More people reporting crime
  • Increase in violent crime by the young
  • Violence in the family and films leading up to the crime committed by young offenders influencing them
  • “Watching violent films over and over again creates an image in their head” – Forensic psychiatrist
  • Under age children can access illegal copies of films for over 18s
  • “You have the choice to watch or to walk out” – Director of Natural Born Killers
  • “Nathan already angry, resentful and hurt by the way his parents treat him, not just because of violent films. Tough guy on the outside but he is quite emotional.” Said by his friends.
  • “He was pushed to the point to commit the crime”
  • Nathan might have thought what he did was the right thing to do because of the films he watched.
  • Friends listen and watch the exact same things as Nathan does however claim to not be like him at all.
  • Kids observe what is around them and that is how they learn, positive and negative
  • Rowell Hewsmann ‘Observational Learning Process’
  • Characters being rewarded for winning through violence. This affects children.
  • Kids, teenagers, people from violent backgrounds and criminals may not think logically – people more prone to violence (pre-disposition to violence)
  • People who committed murder admitted if they hadn’t watched violent films they might not have gone as far as murdering.
  • Family and parents also influence violence as well as media
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