Necessary Violence


The media has a hold on the opinions and actions of society, but the society also plays a role in what media is broadcasted to the masses. Through the years, we have seen the media become open to more liberal forms of entertainment and increasingly relaxed when it comes to the broadcasting or exposing violence, sex, and foul language through images and video. Though there has been a noticeable change in the boundaries set by the FCC in terms of what is aired, many Americans would like to maintain conservative programming for the under 18 demographic. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry “Extensive viewing of television violence by children causes greater aggressiveness”, and this has been the common thought process when creating television geared towards our children and adolescents. But can violence be used in television to evoke not a negative reaction but positive actions from a group of adolescents? That is the question pushed into my head after viewing a Public Service Announcement geared toward adolescents airing in Europe.

The video is graphic, realistic, and extremely violent. The message behind the video, to stop texting while driving, is understandably needed considering the rise in car collisions in recent years as text messaging has become more accepted. Though the message needs to be brought to the attention of the masses, was this graphic and very mature video appropriately targeted towards adolescents with the content of the material. The video does not merely show a car crash, but it details the traumatic events breaking bones, losing friends and family, and immediate recovery. As an adult I was taken aback, shut my eyes on parts, and squirmed throughout the PSA. So I can only imagine the reaction of a person younger than me, but I also will not be texting and driving anymore. Other PSA’s about this topic have been used here in the States, for example

This video appeals to the masses by evoking sympathy, and the use of a child attracts more appeal also. The video is not overtly graphic, but does show images of a car crash. It also speaks about the trauma associated with a car accident as a result of texting and driving. Both of these videos have effectively illuminated a societal issue, but one is extremely more graphic and violent. Is one more effective than the other? I cannot make that decision, but as an individual I am moved to stop texting and driving after watching the first video. Maybe it is time to use violence as a tool for positive change in society.


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