Students must place mental health at the forefront regarding the occurrence of school shootings within the country instead of blaming video games, music or other forms of popular media.
People often accuse violent video games, music or movies as the source of youth violence. Students may look for a scapegoat to take the blame for violence among children, but this first reaction is far from justified. The correlation between consumption of violent media and brutal behavior is weak at best.
Correlations were found between youth brutality and playing violent video games for larger amounts of time, according to a Dec. 26, 2012 article on the MassGeneral Hospital for Children website. However, this was only present in a small portion of children who already exhibited high stress levels and aggressive tendencies, according to the 2004 study in the article.
It seems the main factor contributing to brutality in these children was their mental health statuses, with violent media consumption only reinforcing the negative behavior. Officials should provide children with mental health issues, such as stress, the help they deserve, instead of suggesting radical reforms to prevent them from buying and playing violent video games. Counseling services and mental health evaluations must be made available on a wider scale at cheaper costs for the public.
Mass media may often serve to strengthen false beliefs about youth violence among worried parents and citizens. A report in Mother Jones contained skewed data that wrongly showed an upward accelerated trend in mass shootings within the country, according to a Jan. 28 Daily Beast article. In the same article, James Allen Fox, a criminology professor who studies mass murder, debunked the data and revealed a graph with no obvious patterns in the frequency of mass shootings since 1976. Mass shootings have not become more frequent in recent years, contrary to a common popular belief, the article said.
Alarmist reports that incite hysteria about mass shootings among the American populace may be a different story, however. Despite this, violence among school children is, in many ways, on the decline. Fewer students brought weapons and got into physical fights at schools during 2011 than in 1993, according to statistics from the Center for Disease Control. The rate of violent crimes within the United States has been steadily declining for five consecutive years as of 2011, according to an Oct. 29, 2012 CNN article.
It may be easier for students to blame violent media as the cause of recent school shootings, but this sentiment is neither substantiated nor helpful. Students should be concerned with improving the mental health care of children to address problems before anything becomes out of control. This initiative could better prevent possible tragedies from occurring, instead of casting doubt on the roles of video games, music and movies in school shootings.