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Do films and TV series glamourize crime? Show more Show less
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Films and TV series have always depicted violence. However, as the trope of the 'anti-hero' becomes more popular, as does showing violence on screen. Additionally, it is seemingly getting more violent and grotesque, especially as special effects allow violence to become more realistic. Is this just harmless entertainment? Or does it encourage violence in real life?

It depends on who is watching. Show more Show less

The mature adult audiences might not be influenced but the more vulnerable or younger audiences who do not have the understanding, experience or exposure to make sense of it could be influenced.
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Crime thrillers are like the Pied Piper to the young and the impressionable of the society

Young people are especially impressionable and are often easily influenced by the violence and crime depicted in films and TV shows. They view violence as an easy solution to all problems, and this negatively affects their psychological and emotional development.
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The Argument

Films and TV shows happen to be one of the top recreational activities for individuals to relax and de-stress. They do not just allow for an escape from the mundaneness of everyday life, but also for very many people, particularly the young, they provide an ideal to strive towards. With the surge in streaming platforms, movies belonging to different genres are available to individuals of ages, with little to no supervision. The probability of youngsters being influenced by movies, especially crime is incredibly high. The target audience of thrillers, particularly crime thrillers, is the 15-21 age group.[1] While these ages are more mature, they are the also more exposed, and thereby vulnerable to situations where violence may be seen as an option. Viewing violent acts carried out by their favorite actors desensitizes them to violence in general, making them see it as a viable option for solving conflict. More often than not, young teens who have been exposed to violent movies and TV series for a prolonged period of time, resort to bullying and displaying violence at home, which can have long term effects on the individual’s psyche.[2] Popular films depicting crimes can also compel the young audience into imitating the acts committed on screen. Peer pressure is a powerful force, particularly for those longing to be part of a particular group. As a result, they may carry out the acts, believing that “if they can do it, why can’t I?” Often, the boundary between the reel and real-world becomes blurry, until one’s lived reality, is, in fact, fictitious; a simulation.[3] This is evident in the case of the two Salt Lake City boys who were turned in by a close relative after overhearing them speaking of kidnapping, torturing and finally murdering several people. They formulated a detailed plan based on the movie “Saw”, and intended to become vigilantes, punishing those who harmed innocent people.[4] This is not an isolated incident, showing that violence and crime in films definitely influence its young audience.

Counter arguments

Children may be impressionable, but not every child will necessarily be influenced by what they see on TV. Often, what their parents tell them trumps what they take in anywhere else; especially at that young, most crucial, impressionable age. As long as their parents are active in telling them "this is what you see in movies, but not what you do," then most children will know the difference between reel and reality. The censor board also exists in many countries with the sole aim of permitting the release of films and for the most part, shows with age-appropriate ratings. Adhering to these ratings prevents the younger audience from being exposed to content that may prove dangerous to their well-being.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Young people have psyches in development which are easily impressed upon and influenceable. [P2] Young people can fall into peer pressure to engage in illegal activities inspired by popular films or series.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Children aren't always necessarily influenced by what they see in films and on TV. If they are taught the difference between what they see and what they're supposed (or not supposed) to do and act like in real life, then most children will be able to separate reel from reality. [Rejecting P2] Films and series have a content rating system for a reason. Parents are responsible for allowing their young to watch shows that are not aimed for them.

Further Reading

Watching violent films does make people more aggressive, study shows by Keith Perry [5]

References

  1. https://blogs.mysnhs.net/blogs/11gilbertjacas/files/2017/03/Crime-thriller-Research-and-target-audience.pdf
  2. https://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/102500
  3. https://cla.purdue.edu/academic/english/theory/postmodernism/modules/baudrillardsimulation.html
  4. https://screenrant.com/movies-inspired-real-life-crimes/
  5. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/11087683/Watching-violent-films-does-make-people-more-aggressive-study-shows.html

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 1 Sep 2020 at 14:15 UTC