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A Review of Gerald Jones’ Writing, Violent Media Is Good For Kids

Is Violent Media Good for Kids

In the article “Violent Media is Good for Kids” by Gerald Jones, Jones claims that violent media does not necessarily harm children, rather it releases some aspects of their inner emotions like fear, greed and rage that kids are told to depress and it strengthen kids confidence to some extend. Jones also argues that “the modern kids are far more likely to grow up too passive, too distrustful of themselves and too easily manipulated.” due to the fact that adults keep sheltering them against any violence. Jones introduces his controversial argument by using his personal experience, which successfully connects himself with readers. Further, his use of his son’s story to gain the credibility on the matter that how violent comics encourage children get over their fear and be a stronger, confident and courageous individuals. However, it should be noted that Jones’s insufficient evidence and fallacious reasoning fail to make his argument convincing and persuasive.

In his opening paragraph, Jones successfully engages his readers by describing his lonely and passive childhood. He explains his shyness and introversion were mainly attributed by his strict upbringing. Jones’ s parents distrusted violence and built up a wall between Jones and the society. When I finished this part of reading, I have a deep feeling of his experience. In China, since we were kids, our parents and teachers have imparted a clear code of conduct to us. That is all violence is wrong regardless of any situation. Using our words is the optimal solution. While growing up, we realize that the world is complicated and those rules are void in many complex situation. Unfortunately, we just suffered in silence in most cases. Jones is lucky because of Hulks, a character in Marvel Comics. Jones had a chance to a self-exploration of his inner dark side by experiencing vicariously through Hulk’s stories. Violent comics help Jones find his identity and his career in a twisting way. Readers like me, who were passive and craven in youth time, are inspired by Jones’ statement that not all violence is wrong and sometimes it might help.

Although Jones provides an alternative perspective to view violent media, his article lacks of evidence, making his main argument unconvinced to readers. One primary problem associated with insufficient evidence is that there is no any authoritative research or study with statistical truth to support his arguments. In contrast, throughout his s article, Jones gains his credibility largely through real life examples and opinions. Jones starts to build up his claims through discussing his professional career and his son’s stories. Later, he mentions his three-year long project with Dr. Melanie Moore, a PhD in Psychology, “stating that heroic, combative storytelling helps young people improve self-knowledge and sense of potency.” Clearly, this part is only Jones’ opinion, rather than trustworthy source to back up his points. This is not only because Jones does not provide any detailed information of his method of this study but also he fails to show statistics or any scientific information so as to make his conclusion objective, reasonable and persuasive. Another problem is his son’s story. According to Jones, at first, his son was afraid to climb a tree but after reading old Tarzan comics, two weeks later, he got over his fear and climbed the tree. It is suspected that his son’s changed his mind because of other factors during that period instead of being inspired by old Tarzan comics.

Jones emphasizes that modern kids are too passive and too easily manipulated due to the protection from their parents. The author thinks that the kids’ situation is similar to his childhood. But the fact is that his life is not a mirror image of everyone’s way living in this world. Individuals are different and everyone is confronted with various problems in their youth time. Jones, using his own experience that how Marvel Comics gave him confidence to face his long time fear and allow him to find his identity, believes that violent media can influence children in a positive way while neglects the most important fact that violent media’s negative impact overweighs its positive effect. The author tries to mislead the readers by focusing on a single side of violent media while ignores the other side. Here is an example how Jones uses either/or fallacy to mislead readers.“ I am not going to argue that violent entertainment is harmless. I think it has helped inspire some people to real-life violence. I am going to argue that it’ helped hundreds of people for everyone’s hurt and that it can help far more if we learn to use it well.” To some extend, the representation of violence in media can raise people’s awareness of self-defense and also remind them about prevention. But exposure to violence in mass media can also increase viewers’ aggressive behavior and have other negative consequences. This is the part that Jones tries to hide. It is sometimes feared that extensive media of violence can cause a sharp rise in copycat crimes. Viewers of violent media, especially young viewers, are particularly likely to imitate offensive behaviours , in the mistaken belief that these offences do not have serious effect. Even worse, many young viewers even perceive criminals as idols or role models and adopt violent means to settle their conflicts with other people. Besides, in the past movie or TV series, the heroes usually strictly follow the law. But now, the new heroes have their own rules to seek to justice and combat evils, regardless of the consequences(including public costs),therefore, children should pick up their heroes carefully.

In conclusion, Jones states that violent entertainment media (like head bonking cartoons, bloody videogames, playground karate, toy guns), indeed, plays an essential role in healthy development of children. Jones also believes that these fantasy violent medias can let children build stronger selves and release their negative emotion. Eventually, Jones call s for adults to learn why these violent medias, this kind of so called “entertainment” is so popular with young people and not to isolate them from realistic violence in the world. However, due to insufficient evidence and fallacious reasoning, I think the article is largely a piece of misleading writing. In addition, music or sports is a more healthy way of relieving stress, because it can lighten one’s mood and reduce anxiety.

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