Due to children’s fascinations with violence, recent massacres at schools have been linked to media influence. Often troubled children use the news to gain attention. Many of the children committing these crimes are children that are being teased in school. Most of the children involved in school shootings have never had a past criminal record. Psychologists believe that these troubled children are using the media merely because no one else will listen to their problems. The reoccurrence of “copycat” crimes is on the rise, and it seems at times we overestimate how much violence is really occurring. The constant struggle between the media and those who feel it is saturated with violence continues on. However, it is difficult to determine whether there is a strong correlation between the two.
Parents are uniting around the country to form groups against violence in the media. They believe that the violence in entertainment and the media is to blame for the “copycat” syndrome. Psychologists believe that children are vulnerable to feelings of psychological injury. Therefore, when children are being tormented they feel a sense of rage and worthlessness. This feeling causes them to look upon society as an enemy. For instance, “The Trenchcoat Mafia” was a group of teenagers that formed a violent gang, and turned against killed their classmates after seeing the movie Basketball Diaries. They felt isolated from the rest of the school, and believed the only way to gain popularity was through displaying acts of violence. This type of behavior has drastically increased and is seen all over the media.
Parents blame the media for over-exposure of school violence. The parents see the media lacking in follow-up stories. These stories should show how it affected the lives of the killers, the victims and their families. Furthermore, the follow-up stories can present a better understanding of the consequences. Rather, the news seems to be showing their viewers almost how to carry out such crimes.
On the other hand, the media is simply providing the public with current events. The media reports both positive and negative events. The news provides coverage on the issues that are most appealing to the public. For example, the first school shooting at Columbine began a major controversy. The public became extremely concerned, and safety in schools became a hot topic. The media simply reports on these events, they are not to be held responsible for violent occurrences. Their responsibility is to give coverage on events that affect our society as a whole.
Parents should not view the media negatively, but see it as a source of information. Such information can give parents reasons for teaching their children morals. Children that come from broken homes may have been exposed to violence, and use this as a solution to their problems. Parents of these children should provide special psychiatric help to prevent them from becoming violent. If teachers are aware a student’s extreme misconduct, they should inform the child’s parents as well as the school’s counselors.
Therefore, the school can solve the problem before it gets out of hand. Different approaches have been used to prevent these shootings from reoccurring. The most obvious solution has been increasing the security in schools, such as metal detectors and surveillance cameras. Some schools are simply educating their students about respecting each other, and have seen an improvement in the conduct of the students. When these issues improve, a healthier school will prevail.