Though we may not realize it or see it, America has a mentality of violence. Think about all the media options we have to cater to our every whim: there are a plethora of R-rated and PG-13 movies, video games, and TV shows. We tell ourselves and others, “It’s not real,” but it stands to reason that this continual current of violence is affecting who we are and what we believe. Everything you do, say, and think shapes who you are. For me personally, watching “mild” violence has, in effect, made me numb to it. I’m not as affected by violent entertainment as I once was, and it pains me to realize that.
It is not just adults whose media intake is more violent. “According to the American Psychological Association, by the time the average child finishes elementary school, he or she will have watched eight thousand televised murders and a hundred thousand acts of on-screen violence” (Trevin Wax). I find this disturbing and upsetting. In some way or form, these children are being shaped by this kind of media intake and are being corrupted by it. In the entertainment industry, innocence is no more.
Exposure to violence has changed our attitudes, our perceptions, and our actions. How did this happen? Desensitization. This didn’t happen overnight. It has been a gradual decline as we have gotten more and more comfortable with lower and lower standards. “It’s just harmless entertainment,” some might say. No, it’s not, and there is research to prove it. Every choice we make is a battle of will. It may not be easy, but we need to choose not to support violent content. I believe we would be so much better off if we did this. We need to be so careful about what we watch and listen to.