Personal musings. Views are my own.

Violence in media

I tripped over this utility that shows you what your web pages look like to someone whose colorblind. This site didn’t look all too different, but since the maahaul is all mostly green, it looked waaay different. Crazy. I don’t think it looked entirely bad, but very different colors than what it’s intended scheme is.

So junior high school kids are starting to learn how to use Flash now. Which is sweet. When I was in Junior High, in our “advanced computer classes” we were using some fancy super-Powerpoint thing, and I was trying to make a Double Dragon-style video game using it. Needless to say, that project never got off the ground… But it’s cool to see junior high school kids getting access to technology they could do some pretty cool things with. Fulton Science Academy has a class where students create Flash projects. What’s disturbing are the themes that pop up consistently in their projects: shit blowing up and violence. I checked out the animations made by the kid who got the most stars on the page. In the most recent three that he made, the world blows up at the end of each animation… Huuuuuuuuhh… There’s one where two guys go out to get guns, then hop into a flying semi. There’s a game where you get to do a drive by shooting. Hhhuuuuuuhh… There’s one of a dude getting his head blown off. There’s another one by the same kid who blew up the world, where someone talking on a cell phone gets tied up to some apparatus, and you have to push a lever to blow up his/her head. You get my point, lots and lots of violence. It should be no surprise, considering the world kids are exposed to these days by the media. But damn, those are some happy, light-hearted takes on some messed up things. Here’s what an FTC study had to say about the issue back in ‘99:

Movies. Of the 44 movies rated R for violence the Commission selected for its study, the Commission found that 35, or 80 percent, were targeted to children under 17. Marketing plans for 28 of those 44, or 64 percent, contained express statements that the film’s target audience included children under 17. For example, one plan for a violent R-rated film stated, “Our goal was to find the elusive teen target audience and make sure everyone between the ages of 12-18 was exposed to the film.” Though the marketing plans for the remaining seven R-rated films did not expressly identify an under-17 target audience, they led the Commission to conclude that children under 17 were targeted nonetheless. That is, the plans were either extremely similar to the plans of the films that did identify an under-17 target audience, or they detailed actions synonymous with targeting that age group, such as promoting the film in high schools or in publications with majority under-17 audiences.

Music. Of the 55 music recordings with explicit content labels the Commission selected for its study, marketing plans for 15, or 27 percent, expressly identified teenagers as part of their target audience. One such plan, for instance, stated that its “Target audience” was “Alternative/urban, rock, pop, hardcore – 12-34.” The marketing documents for the remaining 40 explicit-content labeled recordings examined did not expressly state the age of the target audience, but they detailed the same methods of marketing as the plans that specifically identified teens as part of their target audience, including placing advertising in media that would reach a majority or substantial percentage of children under 17.

Games. Of the 118 electronic games with a Mature rating for violence the Commission selected for its study, 83, or 70 percent, targeted children under 17. The marketing plans for 60 of these, or 51 percent, expressly included children under 17 in their target audience. For example, one plan for a game rated Mature for its violent content described its “target audience” as “Males 12-17 – Primary Males 18-34 – Secondary.” Another plan referred to the target market as “Males 17-34 due to M rating (the true target is males 12-34).” Documents for the remaining 23 games showed plans to advertise in magazines or on television shows with a majority or substantial under-17 audience. Most of the plans that targeted an under-17 audience set age 12 as the younger end of the spectrum, but a few plans for violent Mature-rated games targeted children as young as six.