Sport, video games and alcohol consumption all seem to end in violence. But, ponders Amanda McClintock, 18, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Queensland, is this toxic behaviour a product of history or a part of our human nature?
Ever since the Earth was formed violence has played a role in our everyday lives.
We can look back at ancient civilizations and see the wars and battles that have been fought throughout time.
Sport and entertainment in ancient cultures was also violent, as we can see in the games of the gladiators in which the aim was to kill or be killed.
Whilst these are some very extreme examples, violence has undoubtedly played a large role in the development of our society. However, to what extent is violence enjoyed or portrayed in modern day society? Do we react in the same way or have we been desensitised to the violence happening all around us?
Ancient civilisations used violence in sports and, in many ways, this is translated into today’s society. Football, at least in Australia, is a violent game. It seems strange that we would enjoy a game in which the primary goal is essentially to hit and knock over the members of the other team with as much force as possible regardless of the consequences.
Rugby League games pull in sometimes over 50,000 people. Even more watch at home. And then there is Rugby Union and AFL to consider. The most reported part of these games is always the fights that break out in the middle of them. “Bring back the Biff” would have to be one of the most popular sayings when it comes to the game.
It is this obsession with violence that is concerning, especially to parents of young children. Is this really the culture we want the next generation to grow up in?
Another highly publicised issue is that of violence in video games and in movies, especially video games. Millions of children across the world play these video games involving high levels of violence and gore. Whilst board games and card games are relatively harmless, video games with 3D, realistic graphics and gory sound effects have story lines, which draw kids in and get them overly involved in the violence occurring on the screen.
This can easily skew children’s views of what is normal and acceptable and what is just simulated gameplay, and it’s not just me who is saying this. Research has shown that children who play violent video games for extended periods of time or on a regular basis are less likely to be polite or sensitive to other people’s needs and are more likely to show violent behaviour or thoughts.
Whilst Australia and many other countries do have laws regarding the ratings and classifications of these games and what is and isn’t allowed in the country, these guidelines can be very lax. Often kids can access these games either online or by purchasing them from another country. It is, however a very hard problem to correct, as there is only so much governments can, and are prepared to do to stop the problem.
Alcohol related violence is also a big issue amongst young people, particularly in a culture where drinking seems to be an implicit part of life. It seems that everyday on the news there is another story of an adolescent or even adult being arrested for violence that is caused or inflamed by alcohol.
One could question whether this violence in everyday life has been affected or increased by a tendency towards violence in movies, video games and sports or whether it is human nature which has been brought out of a person due their lack of inhibitions as a result of the affects of the alcohol. Either way, it is not a good habit for young people, or anybody, to be falling into.
It is commonly said that history has a way of repeating itself as time goes on and it seems that the same is happening in today’s society, as far as violence is concerned anyway. It raises the question though, because of the long history of violence in civilisations from the beginning of time, is violence a behaviour caused by societal influences, or is it simply our human nature coming through?
Either way, it seems that history or nature is becoming a larger problem as time goes on. Whilst there may not be anything that can be done to solve the problem immediately, it seems that an attitude adjustment for our society as a whole is needed – and more than just us here in Australia.
Who knows, perhaps this attitude adjustment against violence could even end in world peace, or perhaps I am just being a little too hopeful.
“I am a working-class girl, full-time university student and mental health advocate from sunny south-east Queensland.
“Living in a small country town after growing up in the city only increased my passion for making a difference in my community and further afield, and for speaking up about the issues that matter most. Youth have a voice and it needs to be heard. Stand Up, Speak Up and Be Heard!”
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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