The ancient Romans were given to lethal spectator sports. Interesting that in 380 B.C. Saint Augustine lamented that his society was addicted to gladiator games and “drunk with the fascination of bloodshed.”
For centuries violence has played a role in human entertainment. The premise of murder as entertainment is cruel, violent, and horrible, and should be totally unacceptable in today`s “civilized” society.
Television, movies, music, and interactive games are powerful learning tools, and highly influential media. It has been reported that the average Canadian child spends as much as 28 hours a week watching television, and typically at least an hour a day playing video games or surfing the Internet. Several more hours each week are spent watching movies and videos, and listening to music. These media can, and often are, used to instruct, encourage, and even inspire. But when these entertainment media showcase violence – and particularly in a context which glamorizes or trivializes it – the lessons learned can be destructive.
Laval University professors Guy Paquette and Jacques de Guise studied six major Canadian television networks over a seven-year period, examining films, situation comedies, dramatic series, and children’s programming (though not cartoons). The study found that between 1993 and 2001, incidents of physical violence increased by 378 per cent. TV shows in 2001 averaged 40 acts of violence per hour.
Media violence has not just increased in quantity; it has also become much more graphic, much more sexual, and much more sadistic.
What Has Murder Become In Today’s Society?
Murder has become a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry that encourages society’s indifference to the seriousness of crime and violence. “Murdertainment”, continues to re-victimize those who have already been affected by the murder of a loved one, often ignores the aftermath of murder and can set a poor example for our youth.
Studies have shown that children can learn to demean and destroy through overexposure to TV violent acts. By the time a child completes elementary school, he or she will have witnessed 8,000 media murders, and we wonder why children are killing and being killed. According to Paul A. Kettl, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry of Penn State Hershey Medical Center, “Some of the material in murder comic books and murder trading cards is quite graphic and provides a real ‘how-to-primer’ on homicide. Through violent forms of entertainment, many children are not only desensitized to accept violence and act more violently, they are also desensitized by this material to expect the world to be a violent place.
What Impact Does Media Violence Have?
The range of media violence to which children have access has grown rapidly in this generation. Take the books, newspapers, magazines, films, radio, tapes, records, and broadcast television familiar to children of the previous generation, then add dozens of cable TV channels, thousands of videos and video games, and millions of Internet sites. The result is a dense electronic bath in which children are immersed daily. This is true not only in the industrialized countries but increasingly in all societies of the world.
What Does CPOMC Hope To Achieve?
We have a huge challenge. Our goal is to bring about awareness that will lead to the elimination of the playing and marketing of violence and murder as forms of entertainment. CPOMC will strive to instill the same empathy and respect for victims of murder that society affords victims of other tragedies. Through education, crime prevention, promotion and overall attitude, CPOMC will drive home the message that – murder is not entertainment.
CPOMC strongly objects to any product, promotion, film, or print media which features any form of violence against another human being.