Uploaded by Nicole Lupaz

Hidden Truths of Cordiality in Ferocious Virtual Contents

LUPAZ, Nicole S.
May 18, 2020
BSA- Virtual Communication
Hidden Truths of Cordiality in Ferocious Virtual Contents
Violence is often overlooked when leisure is at stake. Parents failed to see contents that are
supposed to be unsuitable to their children. For as long as their child stop whining, regardless of the
technicalities, they simply give it to them to avoid any disturbance. Generally, this is brought by the
generalization that violence only comes from killing, fighting, and any undesirable acts that are prohibited
in the society.
However, violence itself has a vast range of definitions and types. Even music videos that are
intended for creative visual representation of the lyrics sometimes have contents that are violent for its
target audiences. According to Guerra and Knox (2002), this term remains as controversy making it more
likely to describe classes of behavior or phenomenon (like sexual violence, domestic violence, sports
violence, media violence, among others) other than limiting it into a single definition that encapsulates
everything (p. 1649). Although it may through constraints making the classification more specific and
parallel to the needed range of actions.
On the other hand, the impact of violent media continues to be a debatable subject among scholars
all over the world. Media’s power to shape perceptions and attitudes through extensive exposure remained
to be a question to these experts (Wass, 2002, pp. 133-134). Despite that fact, others contend that it should
be addressed because the majority shows similar behaviors and insist that it is a real deal.
Furthermore, Christians (2019) said, “while media ethics promotes common good, violent cinema
illuminates evil”. This is a clear factor why violence coexists despite the existence of communication ethics.
These contents are just too accessible even to the young ones. They have full access to different kinds of
violence unknowingly. They do not understand that the lustful contents they are listening to and watching
are forms of violence. Also, the games that they enjoy have violent content but covered by nicer graphics.
Just like how birds kill pigs in “Angry Birds”, how two players fight and kill each other in “Ready set heroes”
to win the game, how zombies barbarically kill plants in “Plants vs. Zombies”, and many more. These are
all 3+ games that indirectly depict violence just because it has nicer graphics and friendly characters.
All of these if overlooked have hidden effects on children or even adults. People may not take it
seriously, but these “child-friendly” contents will soon affect an individual. This article will tackle three of
the many effects of violence on someone’s well-being. It may not be as vicious, but these effects will soon
trigger certain problems in the future if not addressed properly. These are effects on moral character,
behavior, and social relationships.
Young (n.d.) said in his study using the meta-ethical approach that there are three interpretations
of ethics in dealing with virtual violence. These are reductionist, narrow, and broad interpretations.
Reductionist interpretation of violence is the amoralist pronouncement claiming that these contents are
just manipulation of pixels as much as how sound waves are manipulated for shows. Thus, having virtual
contents like killing, sexual harassment, assault, massacre, and all others are not immoral since these are
only products of digital art.
On the other hand, narrow interpretation suggests that virtual violence only becomes unethical if
the immoral acts portrayed on the contents are carried through in real-life events. This also applies to the
intention of the user for watching or playing these. Hence, if watching violent movies is just for
entertainment and taking the story as a whole, it is not immoral at all. However, if the movie is to be taken
as a source of strategies to plan for murder then it became immoral since the virtual representation is
enacted in a real-life setting.
In contrast, broad interpretation looks at the entirety of the content. It does not matter what the
intent of the program is, but is focused on the entire enactment of the overall program. Therefore, if the
content depicts violence in any form, it becomes immoral. If not, then it is considered to be ethical.
Following these interpretations, exposure to violence eventually disrupts the development of moral
impression to an individual which results to not being able to do moral judgments (Siegel, Estrada, Crockett
& Sommers, 2019). Given this, the moral character of the individual is greatly affected knowing that the
establishment of this character comes from the moral judgment and will soon develop to moral identity.
In the case of playing videogames, a study conducted by Ferchaud (2015) found out that those who
opt to play with moral actions tend to work closely in the character they control in order to play morally
as much as possible. This is in relation to the narrow interpretation of violence. In this case, the act became
ethical knowing that the user decided not to apply whatever is enacted on the screen. Considering this, if
moral values are applied, it will contribute meaningfully to the moral character of the user.
In different circumstances, according to American Academy of Pediatrics (2016), virtual violence
usually ends up giving an individual an aggressive behavior. Children in younger years are usually the ones
who are more vulnerable to this knowing that they try to learn from everything that they see and hear in
their surroundings (Azar, 2010). The study conducted by Huesmann (2007) shows that extreme exposure
to these increase the risk of having violent behaviors. He found out that these children have the tendency
to mimic what they see and try to make it more realistic thus, leading to violence.
Moreover, as gamers claim to say that these ferocious contents are “just a game”, experiments show
that videogames are capable of inducing affective moral responses in users (Hartmann, Toz & Brandon,
2010). These studies prove that no matter how users deny the effects of virtual violence, it is just simply
shown on how they behave as an individual. If these will not be regarded immediately, they may be
diagnosed with psychological disorders later on.
Along with the prior effect, if these behavioral problems will be carried through as they grow, their
social relationships may be affected negatively. Though it does not mean that these people will no longer
have relationships, it is the quality of the relationship that might be greatly affected (Brigham Young
University, 2009). According to You, Kim and No (2014), individuals who are prone to violent media
contents are most likely to have an inverse relationship to prosocial behaviors that often leads to apathetic
relationships and emotional irregularities.
In addition, a study conducted by Coyne et al. (2012) shows that those adults who are in a romantic
relationship and even married, end up fighting or discuss divorce. This is due to misunderstanding and
increased aggression within a relationship. Similarly, a study conducted shows that exposure to violence
is a predictor of interpersonal-affective deficit (Kimmig, Andringa & Derntl, 2018). As cited in Fuller
(2010), David Shumaker, a Psychiatrist who worked in a juvenile detention facility, said that children and
youths who are exposed to violence have the difficulty of socializing and dealing with personal problems.
Such irregularities are brought by graphics that trigger their emotional state. If not handled early,
this will also result to impatience, lack of interest, and self-harm. In contrast, some researchers believe that
virtual violence is not the main reason for having failed relationships (McCarthy, 2016). Rather, it lies in
the environment where the person is situated. Also, Shao and Wang (2019) said that a good family
environment will most likely lessen negative impacts on the well-being of the individual.
Nevertheless, the ethical issue of virtual violence lies in the accessibility of the contents. Pleasure as
the main drive for the continuous patronage of these contents questions its overall ethical properties.
Although ethical and legal concerns are raised with regards to the portrayal of violence in media
productions, there is a broad gap between real-life violence and media violence that becomes an outlier in
the issue (Hartmann, 2011).
Due to the claim that it is not even happening in real-time, it is already generally accepted despite
its psychological effects. Moreover, the distinction of morality in a virtual environment lies in the behavior
and characteristics of the characters as well as the surroundings as they interact in that environment (Gao,
Weng, Zhou & Yu, 2017). In relation to that, McKelvey (2012) contend that violence depicted on graphics,
mechanics, and storylines clearly disregards the moral and ethical point of views while crafting the media
Given all these reasons, higher authorities who manage these media content producers and game
program innovators should not give access to children if they produce something not suitable for young
audiences. They should give adult verification. Also, if they can, they should not produce extremely violent
contents for the sake of everyone.
Most of all, parents, viewers, and users should be responsible enough in dealing with these. They
should know how to act accordingly if they cannot avoid violence. For parents, they should be on their
children’s side to explain and educate their children for them not to be negatively affected by this violence.
Moreover, those adults who suffer from social relationship problems due to this should know their limits
and should give themselves enough time for other activities apart from exposure to media platforms and
game rooms.
In the advent of media, everyone should be mindful of everything that are being enacted on different
platforms. May everyone become decisive in using these and should always consider ethical values so that
media and virtual violence will not prevail. Instead, balance will be kept and everything will be in order.
Overall, what matters is the distinction between right and wrong. If you think something is already
too much, learn to consult your moral character and never tolerate this because if that single too much will
be given a chance, eventually, your moral judgment becomes numb and will not be able to distinguish right
from wrong. This is because it became used to something not good and loses its liberty to stand on its
ground as a driving force for harmony. In that way, amoralist point of view will soon develop into your
system. At that moment, the immorality of virtual violence becomes a pleasure.
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