Growing up used to less stressful a few decades ago, back then children were worried about things such a recess and they secretly hoped that their teachers wouldn’t give so much homework. Over the years, children’s priorities have definitely changed; life has become more violent and more dangerous for children. By the time the average U. S. child starts elementary school he or she will have seen 8,000 murders and 100,00 acts of violence on TV and in movies. (probe. rg). One in six youths between the ages of 10 and 17 has seen or knows someone who has been shot, (Fagan , 2002). The numbers of child abuse victims has increased 40 percent between 1985 and 1991. (probe. org). Children under 18 were 244 percent more likely to be killed by guns in 1993 than they were in 1986. Movies are the greatest source of visual violence for children (Cesaroni, 79). So, how violent is the media? And the impact media have on members of our family?

First, we will look at who is a youth offender in both Canada and the United States, violence in the movies and how it affects the victim and offender; movie ratings in today’s Canadian and American film industry; and Case studies in the media about youth portraying violent acts prior watching violent movies. Therefore violence and crime portrayed in movies has an influence and correlation to adolescent criminal offenders in North America. Who is a youth offender?

According to the Youth Criminal Justice Act in Canada, it states that individuals who are 12 years old or older, but younger than 18 at the time they commit the offence in are considered youth offenders. (www. parle. gc. ca). Youth aged 14 to 18 may be sentenced as adults under certain conditions, as described later on in the act. The Criminal Code of Canada, section 13, states “No person shall be convicted of an offence in respect of an act or omission on his or her part while that person was under the age of twelve years. On the other hand in the United States a youth offender is a person aged between seventeen and twenty years of age who has committed an offence. Generally, youth offender is a person who is older than a juvenile but younger than an adult. (Goldstein, 216). Laws in t0he U. S. vary from state to states, but the courts can re-evaluate juveniles as adults for more severe offenses such as rape, murder or armed robbery.

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In offences that minor and less severe, can be considered youth offences. Youth Justice System: Principles of the Canadian System: oIn the YJSA- try to prevent crime by notifying and educating the circumstances which is essential to the youth’s offending behaviour, Canada looks in to rehabilitating those who have committed offences and takes part in them. By doing this the act is making sure that they are aware of the possible other ways of disciplining children making sure they are aware of the consequences of their actions. oIs hopefully that the youth criminal justice system promotes long-term protection of the public. Young offenders should be held accountable for their behaviour by making them accept the consequences of their own offences and by encouraging them to repair the harm done to victims and the community.

oNon-violent offences should be dealt with outside the court process whenever possible, and serious consequences should be saved for the most serious offences. oThe parents of young offenders as well as the community as a whole should be, as appropriate, involved in the measures taken for the social integration of young offenders. The expectations of victims should be taken into consideration, and victims should suffer the minimum degree of inconvenience as a result of their involvement with the youth criminal justice system. oGender, language and ethnic background must be respected when deciding how to hold a young person accountable, while the overriding principle remains that a sentence must be proportionate to the seriousness of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the young person for that offence. ?The American Juvenile Justice System-

The juvenile system in the US states, “anyone charged with committing a criminal act before his or her seventeenth or eighteenth birthday is initially processed as a juvenile defendant. ” (http://ojjdp. gov/ojstatbb/structure_process/case. html . ojjdp. gov The diagram above describes the stages of a delinquency case processing in the juvenile justice system. “Violence has always been a part of movie-making, but until recently, really violent movies were only seen by the fringe of mass culture. ” (Bala, 24) Movies today have gone more redictable and normal, bloody movies are being watched by more and more as family activities. Movie violence these days is louder, bloodier, and more detailed than before. “Back in the day when “bad guy” was shot in the old movies you would only see a puff of smoke and a few drops of fake blood. Now the pictures, sounds, and special effects look like the real thing. ” (Bell, 235). Defining and examining youth violence: What is it and what are the outcomes? Now that we have a clear definition of what a youth offender is, we can further investigate the relation between violent movies and youth crime.

In order to assess the correlation between violence in movies and adolescent violence, we must first identify what violence is and what youth violence entails. Violence is defined as: 1. physical force used as so to injure. 2. Powerful force, as of a hurricane. 3. Harm done by violating rights, etc. 4. A violent act or deed. (Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary, 1993). From this definition we can acquire that violence is something that causes physical damage to another or another’s property; that it is done without agreement, and often as a means of control or to emphasize power.

Violence can take many forms: verbal, psychological, sexual forms of assault, bullying, gang violence, gender harassment, and armed conflict. Many of the reports studied categorize the youth involved in the violent actions to be in between the ages of 10 to 29 years old. Often times repeat and continuous offences by many of these individuals continues on into the 30-35 years of age bracket. (Krug E. G. , 2002). Research shows that young males are almost twice as likely to be involved in youth crime and violence when compared with females. It is hard to determine how and why an individual becomes to act in this manner.

Some youth offenders begin to show aggression and act out as children. This can be due to upbringing, environment, or biological, psychological, and developmental factors and attitudes. Others become involved in violent acts later in life due to a specific situation or impeding factors such as the relationship between the individuals involved, outside influences, peer pressure, family situations, and whether or not drugs, alcohol, or weapons are involved. (Krug E. G. , 2002) With violence comes a consequence. Those who suffer from the violent act are known as “victims” and those that carry out the act “perpetrators. Violence has many outcomes, which can often result in injury or even death, and have a detrimental effect on individuals, families, communities, and even countries. (Cohen, 2011). Besides the obvious aftermath of injury and death, violence has also been linked to further health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, drug and alcohol addiction, smoking, and the increased risk of partaking in high risk behaviors. (Cohen, 2011) (Krug E. G. , 2002) Prevention and control of youth violence is difficult and involves several evaluations and interventions. Parents and educators must begin prevention at an early age.

Education pertaining to violence and criminality must remain consistent throughout the adolescence years. Appropriate conflict resolution, coping skills, reinforcement of rules, effective and appropriate punishment, and dealing with consequences related to violent behavior must be presented appropriately. Canadian and American Movie Rating Systems: What do ratings mean and how can we use these as an effective tool? Movie Ratings in Canada Movie ratings in the country of Canada are a provincial and territorial accountability. Seven provincial film classification boards or offices exist.

Each use specific rating systems and descriptors but they are all extremely similar. Discussions about the assembly of a standard film classification system for Canada (except for the province of Quebec) are currently being held. (Research on the Effects of Media Violence). Following is an example of how films are rated and classified in our province of Ontario: General (G) Suitable for all ages. Guidelines Language: Occasional use of words such as darn, damn, hell. Violence: Restrained portrayals of limited violence that may result in extremely limited bloodletting.

Nudity: Casual, non-sexual nudity with no close-ups. Sexual Activity: Limited embracing, kissing in a loving context. Horror: Brief moments of mild horror in comedic, historic, or fantasy settings (for example, dragons, giants, wicked witches). Psychological Impact: Sensitive to treatments of scenes or situations related to a child’s sense of security and well-being. Parental Guidance (PG) Parental Guidance Advised. Guidelines Language: Limited use of stronger expletives and/or slurs and/or mild sexual references. Violence: Restrained portrayals of non-graphic violence, integral to the plot.

The portrayals are not prolonged; there are no close-ups; bloodletting and/or tissue damage is limited. Nudity: Brief nudity in a non-sexual context, non-exploitative close-up. Sexual Activity: Embracing, kissing in a loving context; mild sexual innuendo. Horror: Exciting horror scenes and some grotesque images may be allowed in a fantasy or comedic context, but there will be no detailed and/or prolonged focus on gory images or suffering. Psychological Impact: Sensitive to treatments of scenes and situations that may cause adverse psychological impact on children.

May include frightening or emotionally upsetting situations involving threats, injury, illness, family problems, or death to young people, family member and animals (particularly pets). 14 Adult Accompaniment (14A) Persons younger than 14 years must be accompanied by an adult. Guidelines Language: Coarse language and/or slurs directed to specific segments of society; sexual references. Infrequent strong, aggressive language Violence: Portrayals of violence resulting in some bloodletting and/or tissue damage, which may or may not be fatal.

Violence should be within the context of the film. Nudity: Full frontal nudity, non-detailed, brief, casual, non-close up, in a non-sexual situation. Sexual Activity: Kissing, petting, fondling, implied sexual activity; sexual innuendo. Horror: Occasional gory moments and some grotesque images, but these will not be detailed. Psychological Impact: Occasional upsetting scenes that will tend to be more frightening, intense, disturbing – particularly to younger viewers. More mature themes can be portrayed. Threats with some abusive dialogue may be considered. 8 Adult Accompaniment (18A) Persons younger than 18 years must be accompanied by an adult. Guidelines Language: Very intense & aggressive coarse language &/or slurs or sexual references, usually accompanied by violence directed toward the person(s). Frequent sexual references. Violence: Frequent and/or prolonged portrayals of violence resulting in bloodletting and/or tissue damage. Limited instances of brief, visually explicit portrayals of violence. Nudity: Limited instances of brief, full frontal nudity in a sexual situation. Sexual Activity: Limited instances of brief simulated sexual activity.

Horror: Gory or grotesque imagery may be more frequent or detailed, but will generally avoid prolonged focus. Psychological Impact: Frequent upsetting, disturbing or frightening scenes that may cause adverse psychological impact on some mature viewers. Restricted (R) Restricted to persons 18 years of age or over. Guidelines Language: No restriction. Violence: Visually explicit portrayals of violence, which may be characterized by extreme brutality, extreme bloodletting and extreme tissue damage. May include torture, horror, sexual violence.

Nudity: Full frontal nudity in a sexual situation. Sexual Activity: Simulated sexual activity; limited instances of brief, non-violent explicit sexual activity. Horror: Horrific themes, incidents and images will have a more prolonged or graphic focus and greater frequency. Psychological Impact: Scenes and situations may cause extreme adverse psychological impact. Could involve intense and compelling terror, acts of degradation, threats of violence, and continuous acts of non-extreme violence. Such situations could be accompanied by coarse, abusive, and degrading dialogue. Research on the Effects of Media Violence) Film ratings and classification In the United States of America In the United States movie classification and ratings are governed by the Motion Picture Association of America. The association requires its members, which include the major motion picture studios in the country, to submit movies for approval prior to distribution. (Motion Picture Association of America, 2012) The following pages display how movies are rated and descriptions of what rating entail in the United States of America: G–General Audiences. All Ages Admitted.

A G-rated motion picture contains nothing in theme, language, nudity, sex, violence or other matters that, in the view of the Rating Board, would offend parents whose younger children view the motion picture. The G rating is not a “certificate of approval,” nor does it signify a “children’s” motion picture. Some snippets of language may go beyond polite conversation but they are common everyday expressions. No stronger words are present in G-rated motion pictures. Depictions of violence are minimal. No nudity, sex scenes or drug use are present in the motion picture. PG — Parental Guidance Suggested.

Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children. A PG-rated motion picture should be investigated by parents before they let their younger children attend. The PG rating indicates, in the view of the Rating Board, that parents may consider some material unsuitable for their children, and parents should make that decision. The more mature themes in some PG-rated motion pictures may call for parental guidance. There may be some profanity and some depictions of violence or brief nudity. But these elements are not deemed so intense as to require that parents be strongly cautioned beyond the suggestion of parental guidance.

There is no drug use content in a PG-rated motion picture. PG-13 — Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13. A PG-13 rating is a sterner warning by the Rating Board to parents to determine whether their children under age 13 should view the motion picture, as some material might not be suited for them. A PG-13 motion picture may go beyond the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, adult activities or other elements, but does not reach the restricted R category.

The theme of the motion picture by itself will not result in a rating greater than PG-13, although depictions of activities related to a mature theme may result in a restricted rating for the motion picture. Any drug use will initially require at least a PG-13 rating. More than brief nudity will require at least a PG-13 rating, but such nudity in a PG-13 rated motion picture generally will not be sexually oriented. There may be depictions of violence in a PG-13 movie, but generally not both realistic and extreme or persistent violence.

A motion picture’s single use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words, though only as an expletive, initially requires at least a PG-13 rating. More than one such expletive requires an R rating, as must even one of those words used in a sexual context. The Rating Board nevertheless may rate such a motion picture PG-13 if, based on a special vote by a two-thirds majority, the Raters feel that most American parents would believe that a PG-13 rating is appropriate because of the context or manner in which the words are used or because the use of those words in the motion picture is inconspicuous. R — Restricted.

Children Under 17 Require Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian. An R-rated motion picture, in the view of the Rating Board, contains some adult material. An R-rated motion picture may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements, so that parents are counseled to take this rating very seriously. Children under 17 are not allowed to attend R-rated motion pictures unaccompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Parents are strongly urged to find out more about R-rated motion pictures in determining their suitability for their children.

Generally, it is not appropriate for parents to bring their young children with them to R-rated motion pictures. NC-17 — No One 17 and Under Admitted. An NC-17 rated motion picture is one that, in the view of the Rating Board, most parents would consider patently too adult for their children 17 and under. No children will be admitted. NC-17 does not mean “obscene” or “pornographic” in the common or legal meaning of those words, and should not be construed as a negative judgment in any sense. The rating simply signals that the content is appropriate only for an adult audience.

An NC-17 rating can be based on violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse or any other element that most parents would consider too strong and therefore off-limits for viewing by their children (Research on the Effects of Media Violence) (Motion Picture Association of America, 2012) How can we use these ratings as a preventative tool? (UN and those real life scenarios come with greater distress and consequence is critical. There have been some studies done about adolescents having violent behavior after watching violent shows and they have found links between adolescents and violence.

Research shows “Almost 16 million teens have witnessed some form of violent assault. “About one in eight people murdered in the United States each year are younger than 18 years of age. ” “Most injuries and violent deaths occur between people who know each other”(2001, American Medical Association). Another researcher named Dr. Grafman said: “We found that as the boys were exposed to more violent videos over time, their activation in brain regions concerned with emotional reactivity decreased and that was reflected in the data from the functional MRI and in the skin conductance responses. Dr. Grafman collected his data by using four instruments: “The Demographic Questionnaire, the Media Viewing Habit Questionnaire, the Affection toward movie violence scale, and the Attitudes concerning Aggression Scale. “

“According to this model, the development of a violence-prone personality occurs in part through a biological pathway in which genetic predisposition (particularly in males) leads directly to an aggressive child temperament and ultimately to an aggressive adult personality through maturation. ” (Ferguson, C. J. 2008) Others studies suggest that “During adolescence age 12 to 17, children become capable of high levels of abstract thought and reasoning, although they rarely use these abilities when watching television, continuing to invest little mental effort. ” the National Institute of Mental Health says that “violence on television does lead to aggressive behavior by children and teenagers who watch the programs. This conclusion is based on laboratory experiments and on field studies. Not all children become aggressive, of course, but the correlations between violence and aggression are positive. the study also suggest that adolescence at this age tend to be interested in “independence, sex and romance, and they develop a preference for music videos, horror movies, and (boys particularly) pornographic videos, which deal with these topics, although usually in negative ways. ” when it comes to watching television this study says that “adolescents are much more likely than younger children to doubt the reality of television content and much less likely to identify with television characters.

The small percentage of those who continue to believe in the reality of television and to identify with its violent heroes are the ones likely to be more aggressive, especially if they continue to fantasize about aggressive-heroic themes. ” little is known about how the extent of watching such programs and the severity of the aggression displayed affects the brains of adolescents, “It is especially important to understand this because adolescence is a time when the brain is changing and developing, particularly in the parts of the brain that control emotions, emotional behavior and responses to external events,” said Dr.

Jordan Grafman Other studies have focused more on the question as to whether all children have the same reactions to TV violence. For a long time, it was believed that only certain types of children and adolescents were adversely affected by violent programming. These are termed high trait aggressive individuals, or those whose personalities are characterized by aggressive tendencies. These children seem to be aroused (or excited) by aggression. As such, they seek out aggressive television programming more than other children and are at the same time more prone to be adversely effected by viewing it.

In fact, high aggression children view action and adventure TV programming four times as often as low aggression children (Singer & Singer, 1986). These same children have also been found to be more prone to aggressive behavior toward other kids as a result of viewing televised violence. There are many ways to keep your children from watching too much violence or just to help them understand it better some ways are to, start talking about ways to reduce or eliminate violence in the shows your adolescence watches and the amount of television.

Don’t use television as a babysitter. Talk to your teen about ways to solve arguments and fights without weapons or violence. Be a role model by handling problems in nonviolent ways. Don’t hit your teen. Help your teen deal with anger. Teach your teen that it is okay to be angry, but it’s not okay to throw a punch. You can try to find alternatives to watching TV such as reading, participation in sports or extracurricular activities, or simply playing outside. “Frankly discuss any violent content with your children.

Be sure that they have a firm grasp on the difference between fantasy and reality. Focus on the suffering caused by violence as opposed to messages that portray violence as acceptable. Research has found that one of the best ways of avoiding the negative effects of TV violence on children is to involve them in discussions about how children can be fooled or hurt by what they see on television. ” Some things to look out for violence in your household because this can increase the risk of your teen becoming involved in future violence.

Also if you have a gun in your home it is more likely to be used to kill a member of the family or a friend than to kill a robber trying to enter your home. Finally you want to be sure that you have a close relationship with your child that is nurturing and caring. You must spend adequate positive time together. Also, take the time to teach the values you want them to have. Therefore the violence and crime portrayed in movies has an influence and correlation to adolescent criminal offenders in North America.

This is shown through the quality research defining what a youth offender is in both Canada and the United States. The a brief look at the Canadian and US Justice System, and Movie Ratings, Case Studies relating to violence and cases regarding movies and violence Dr Grafman -http://phys. org/news/2010-10-violent-tv-video-games-desensitizes. html Ferguson, C. J. , Cruz, A. M. , Martinez, D. , Rueda, S. M. , Ferguson, D. E. , ; Negy, C. (2008). Personality, Parental, and Media Influences on Aggressive Personality and Violent Crime in Young Adults. Journal Of Aggression, Maltreatment ; Trauma, 17(4), 395-414. doi:10. 1080/10926770802471522


Motion Picture Association of America. (2012, April 12). Cohen, R. H. (2011). Beyond Supression: global perspectives on youth violence. Santa Barbara: Greenwood Publishing Group. Krug E. G. , e. a. (2002). Chapter 2: Youth Violence. In W. H. Organization, World Report on Violence and Health (pp. 25-55). Geneva: World Health. Research on the Effects of Media Violence. (n. d. ). Retrieved April 3, 2012, from Media Awareness Network.


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