Vigilance against Violence

By Harold Oaks

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    Contention, especially violence, is not the way to deal with our problems (see 3 Ne. 11:29–30). Unfortunately, television, videos, movies, and electronic games teach otherwise. Even cartoons and many children’s programs depict violence in amusing ways, suggesting that no one really gets hurt and that any disagreement can be solved by a karate kick or the use of some weapon.

    Thousands of studies over the last four decades demonstrate a direct connection between what happens on the screen and what happens in the lives of those who watch violent programs. Children in particular become more aggressive, having been taught to vent their anger to solve their problems. People in general become numb to the real pain violence inflicts. And the addictive nature of violence can create an appetite for viewing and even participating in brutal behavior.

    Because of the increasingly violent nature of the world in which we live, we need to guard ourselves and our loved ones against the corrupting influence of media violence.

    Here Are Some Things We Can Do

    • Understand that violence causes suffering. It is not something to laugh at.

    • Examine the consequences of violent actions—the harm both to the victim and to the aggressor.

    • Accept as role models those who exercise self-control, patience, tolerance, and mature judgment (see Prov. 15:1, 18; 1 Cor. 13:4–5).

    • Monitor the media within the home. For example, parents should watch what their children are watching and talk about any violence that occurs. This includes violence in the news.

    • Consider alternative ways to solve problems. For example, while watching TV with a child, ask, “How else might this character have resolved this difficulty?”

    • Follow the prophets’ counsel to avoid R-rated films and other inappropriate material.

    Illustrated by Scott Greer