So, I have a question for you ~~ have you ever, EVER actually been affected by media?
See, there's this trial going on in Norway right now of Anders Breivik, the man who massacred 69 teenagers last summer (all by himself), and one of the things that have come up is, of course, that he played video games and that this may or may not have made him a more violent person and that he may even have gotten direct, military training from playing them. Never mind that the games in question are mostly World of Warcraft and a little CoD
Now most people seem to be of the opinion that no, clearly Breivik wasn't right in the head, BUT
obviously people are affected by playing lots of video games ~~ THAT
, at least, is undisputable. We just don't know how or in what way
But then I started thinking; I have been playing video games, playing war in the forest, reading comic books and watching violent, gory movies and listening to black, black music ever since I was a kid (I have a big brother ^_^), and I'm having trouble coming up with any examples of how this has directly affected me in some bad or weird way. I most certainly can't think of any examples where I've seen something and then went ahead and done it afterwards because the TV said it was OK, or whatever.
I don't kill humans or animals, which I do in games, I still can't defy the laws of physics, I don't talk to random strangers or walk into people's houses to take their loot I mean, property and in spite of two of my first favorite games as a kid being Metal Gear Solid and Tekken, I'm just not violent at all.
If they were making the same argument over, say, that show Jackass; it would make more sense because after Jackass was aired, a lot of teenage boys went out and did exactly what they did on Jackass. They filmed themselves doing stunts or rolling around in stolen shopping carts. Or if, say, action movie actors like Bruce Willis or Tom Cruise became really violent because they have physically acted out so much violence on the set, for real, not pushing some buttons, but really doing it.
I will exclude from my question the aspect of how you learn to see things from different angles here, because that will happen (if we're dealing with good writing anyway), like for example how you kind of root for Dexter even though he's a serial killer.
No, I mean actions. And especially extreme actions that are literally against the law and which you have no incentive to do as a human being. And even as a very small child you understand the concept of pain: being hurt is bad, you don't want that to happen, and causing pain to someone else is also bad and you don't want that to happen either. There's also this little thing called Social Norms that kinda regulate how the young and impressionable choose to behave.
Another weird idea is that seeing violent things on TV will somehow make us jaded or unemotional, or something. I'll admit that pretty much no game or movie can frighten me with gore anymore, but that's mostly because it's not real
. When you see footage of villages and such after a bombing or a massacre, that affects you a hell of a lot more. If your friends get horrible wounds or disfigurements that has an even bigger impact. Because it's real, and your brain understands real human pain ~~ because we're humans.
I promise you, you can put a hundred seasoned CoD veterans in a room together and if one of them has, say, an epileptic seizure, the others will freak out. No one will NOT care. And, I mean, I don't know how the school system in other countries works in regards to analyzing impressions; but most Norwegian teenagers hardly even downright believe the news, because we know the footage might be edited or we might be shown only one side of the story etc.