What does movie violence portray to today’s youth?


Thu Pham

For someone who grew up in Vietnam, I basically was raised with the notion that violent movies are ruinous to your mental health and will make you a bad person. And growing up, I believed that. At face value, it makes sense that there should be a correlation between indulging inappropriate films and turning oneself into an intemperate individual. But as I got older, I started to question the teachings of the adults around my life.

Movie violence, for a long time, was critiqued by various groups of people for its unrealistic and tactless interpretation human connections, therefore is said to have detrimental effects on its viewers, especially the younger audience. Yet, researchers have shown that there is no direct correspondence between watching a violent picture and experiencing a drastic change in behavior. According to an article in Psychology Today, different factors must be in place to alter and, or, create vehement actions. In fact, video games, disturbing news, or excessive usage of social media can contribute to how a person can behave.

Not only that, there have been researches that suggest violent movies might possess an influence to mitigate the actual sensation. As noted in “Economists Say Movie Violence Might Temper the Real Thing” in The New York Times, on the days that cinemas show violent films, the rate for actual crime is lower. While it may sound bizarre and somewhat unbelievable, the statistics check out. As stated by Professor Dahl, by producing movies that are gory and vicious, the industry is essentially creating pastimes for potential criminals, providing them with somewhat of a distraction for their minds. Although this is not a perfect finding, it does raises the question for whether these type of movies deserve such a bad rep.

The teachings that I remember from my mom specifically, and my own people in general, centers at preserving the traditional values and ideologies of our predecessors, and that means the grisly and aggressive behaviors on camera certainly defy what is considered “appropriate” in their views. Looking back to how violent movies were portrayed by my culture, it occurred to me that if one doesn’t break out of your bubble, one can never see what is the actual truth, the actual reality. To conclude, if you give something a chance, to look at its entirety, then you would see beneath the surface, things are not merely black or white. In the case of movie violence, looks are not always what it seems.