The past few decades have been characterized by an increase in the media content available to the public. Some of this media is of a violent nature and questions have been raised as to the effect of exposing children to violent media. Parents, teachers and psychological health professionals all express concern about the effect that violent media might have on children. The article “Violent Media is Good for Kids” by Gerard Jones addresses this issue. Gerard argues that violent media can play a positive role in the development of a child by enabling him/her to express his rage and other intense energies in a manner that is beneficial to the child while at the same time benign to everyone.
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Children learn a lot from their surrounding during the early developmental years. At the early age, children are very impressionable and they make use of the material obtained from the external environment to construct their own ideas. It is therefore suggested that exposing children to violent content will make them prone to engaging in the same violent behavior in real life. Parents are frequently warned that exposing their children to violence will predispose them to developing violent tendencies.
It is assumed that engagement with violent content will increase the probability that children will make the child adopting violent behavior outside the media situation. Gerard disputes this commonly held perspective on violent media. He questions the assumption by parents and educators that exposure to this violence will have a detrimental effect on the development of the child. Gerard argues that parents should not be quick to keep their kids away from violent content as it might play a positive role in the lives of the children.
The article is aimed at parents and educators, who are the individuals who play a significant role in exposing or limiting the exposure that children have to violent media. Gerard is addressing an audience that does not share his opinion. He notes how teachers beg parents to keep their kids away from violent content. At the same time, he notes how parents are keen to protect their children from this content. The main point made by the author is that exposure to violent media has a positive role that the society does not recognize. Gerard warns that “modern kids are far more likely to grow up too passive” (203). Through his argument, Gerard seeks to change the mind of the hostile audience and cause them to consider the merits that violent media might have on the development of the child.
To make his case for violent media, Gerard Jones employs the use of various rhetorical appeals. He makes use of ethos by highlighting his own experiences with violent media. He reveals how this exposure changed him from a scared little boy into a successful action movies and comic books writer. By revealing his profession as a successful writer, Gerard communicates to his audience that he is not only familiar with violent media but also one of its creator. This establishes his authority on the topic since he has intimate knowledge on the subject. Gerard relies on pathos to demonstrate the positive impact that violent media can have in real situations he has witnessed.
He paints a clear picture of the little girl Emily who was writing violent stories in class while her parents were separating. Gerard notes, “She was small, an only child, a tomboy at an age when her classmates were dividing sharply along gender lines” 201). The audience is moved to feel sorry for this poor child. The Author then reveals how the violent media helped her to become a leader among her peers. Gerard also makes use of logical reasoning to persuade his audience. He provides evidence of how violent media has resulted in positive outcomes. He gives instances where children made use of these aggressive media to overcome various challenges. Gerard declares that thanks to violent media, Emily came out of the bad experience “not only fiery and strong, but more self-controlled and socially competent” (202).
In the second case, an older girl coped with a chaotic family situation through violent music. This enabled her to avoid adopting deleterious behavior in her teenage years. The examples show a cause-effect situation where violent media led to positive outcomes in the life of children.
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I feel that the author was very effective in making a case for violent media. He acknowledge the reservation that many people have about exposing children to such content and proceeds to show that negative emotions are present in all humans. He shows how violent media can help children express this energy in a safe place as opposed to repressing it. The use of real-life examples to make his case increases the effectiveness of the author’s work. The audience can identify with the situations the children highlighted face and easily see the positive impact that violent media had on their lives. I find the article organization very effective. By starting with his own experience with violent media, Gerard establishes himself as an expert at an early stage and the audience finds his claims credible because of this.
Parents and teachers have expressed great concern about the impact of exposing children to violent media. The article by Gerard Jones seeks to alleviate these concerns by showing that violent media actually has a positive effect on children. Instead of trying to prevent their children from accessing this content, parents should encourage it. The arguments made by the author are strong enough to persuade parents and teachers to view violent media in a more positive light.
Gerard, Jones. “Violent Media is good for kids.” Current issues and enduring questions (A guide to critical thinking and arguments, with readings). Eds. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. 199-203. Print.