THE INFLUENCE OF MEDIA IN CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR 

The influence that communications media has in society is growing more and more every day. Competition among newspapers, Magazines, cinema, and television pushes the media to develop new ways’ to catch people’s attention. The fascination of knowing the speed at which news travels around the world has changed the way in which we view everything around us. We turn to television to find out how the weather is going to be and choose the cloth to wear. If we want to know how the presidential elections went or the opinion of the president about an issue of concern to us, the newspaper becomes a good communicator. Often we comment with our friends about something that came in the newspaper or that we saw on television, but news is not the only reason why we read or turn on the television for. We also do it because we want some entertainment.

Movies, sports and other programs are the providers that we need to have a relaxing time. The emotion that we experience in the movies takes us to a different set of mind while we are watching. For a moment some of us might even believe that we are the actors of the movie, or we might just enjoy the beautiful sites in which the scene is taking place. Also, the excitement of the moment could even make us react by instinct, and jump out of our seats or make a sudden exclamation. We all know how much impact a terror movie can have on us or our children and that is why we choose to see it or not. I believe that for some people, the effect that media has on them does not stop when the movie, the news or the program that we are watching ends, and that this effect might be the cause of a change of behavior, and not always for the better.

HOW MUCH MEDIA INFLUENCES BEHAVIOR?

According to Victor Hugo Bolanos, the author of "Impacto de la gran prensa"(the impact of the press), the message that a communicator or an actor wants to get through the mind of the viewer is one in which the observer identifies him-self to him. We can easily see it in young kids at the end of an action movie when they are running around claming to be Rambo, Rocky or any other movie hero. He also believes that some of the crimes that we hear about in the radio or television are the consequence of the violence that we see in the media since we were young. He gives an example the cartoons of Walt Disney in which Donald, Tom and Jerry, Porky or the Roadrunner are the inspiration for the kids to take into consideration deceitful acts against others, since those are the means that the characters us to confront their problems, and that these same children learn to transfer this to friends and Society.

There are some Television shows that try to create a different atmosphere in the community and change the view of some people towards issues like racial differences. One of these television programs, according to Justine Lewis author of "The Ideological Octopus," is the Cosby Show in which we can see an upper middle class black family to which Black and White people could relate to. But even this kind of shows has provoked criticism in which it is affirmed that the show is presenting a misleading picture of the reality in which many of the Black families live. It tries to influence the viewers to fix the relationship between Blacks and Whites. There are other shows that contradict the way in which this show presents the life of Black families in America, and unfortunately we pay more attention to them because we see violence and that is more attractive to us. Furthermore, the way in which distant people perceive the films is different because of the fact that we all have differences n our background. I think that the films affect the minds and perception of the viewers in a variety of ways, but it does it.

Ron Johnson and Jane Bone, authors of the book "Understanding the Film," wrote a comment about the different perception of people towards the same movie. They said that if we go to the cinema to see a film, at the end the opinions about it might vary due to the differences of people: out of twenty people, they wrote, two could be Russian, three could be too young, ten girls or woman, three did not have lunch before the film, three cold think that guns should be registered by the government, etc. The reactions about the film are gong to be different and whatever stays on your mind, may not be something other viewers remember.

EVIDENCE OF MEDIA INFLUENCE ON PEOPLES’ BEHAVIOR

How many times we read in the newspaper that a suicidal teen acted imitating her favorite actress. Just like a case presented on a TV program entertainment tonight in which somebody, influenced by a movie, set a ticket boot on fire in the sub-way of New York while imitating a part of his favorite movie. How many times we heard critics about the reactions of some teenagers to the "Beavis and Butthead" program. There was a case in 1974 of a nine years old girl that was raped with a glass bottle by four other girls who claimed they had watched a similar act on the movie "Born innocent".

We know that these cases are based (many times) on people that could not distinguish fantasy from reality. I could not affirm that my personal opinion is the whole truth because, even though there are books that address this subject, we might need more studies about it. Some believe that Media has nothing to do with what others could claim it is its fault. However, this essay was based on my personal opinion, but it does not mean that it could not change yours…

 

Luisrcg

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