CBN News interviewed Tim Winter, president of Parents Television Council. He believes there’s a correlation between gratuitous media violence and the increased violent behavior in teens. Watch above.
The “March For Our Lives” student protest over school shootings happens this Saturday in our nation’s capital.
Students and their families will march on the streets of Washington “to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today,” according to the “March For Our Lives” website.
But what’s behind all the violence in America’s schools?
CBN News spoke with Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, who believes there is a correlation between gratuitous violence in video games and television and the increased violent behavior in teens.
“Not only is it the instinctive, intuitive conclusion that I think most parents would come to, it’s also the conclusion that the overwhelming weight of scientists have come to in this country,” he said.
“They look at a media environment saturated with violence, not as the cause, but as one of the contributing causes,” he continued.
TV and video games are not the only concerns, PTC warns. The organization’s research points to an Annenberg study which states there are more guns in PG-13 movies than in R-rated ones.
The Washington Times reported that Hollywood spoke out against gun culture in the US following the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, through a public service announcement in 2013, advocating for tougher gun control.
The newspaper went on to say that members of the entertainment industry, following the Parkland, Florida, shooting this year showed support for the March For Our Lives rally for tighter gun laws.
At the premiere of her spy thriller, “Red Sparrow”, actress Jennifer Lawrence did not mince words.
“I think the problem is guns, not (the) entertainment industry,” she told the press.
“I think the problem is guns, not the entertainment industry.” #JenniferLawrence says the movie industry should not be a scapegoat for school shootings. pic.twitter.com/xiD0YW4jIQ
— InStyle (@InStyle) February 27, 2018
Some people in Hollywood disagree. For example, The Washington Times reported that comedic actress/writer Amy Schumer shared how she changed a sequence in a 2017 film to take out gun violence.
In addition, NBC’s “The Blacklist” star Megan Boone tweeted after the Parkland shooting that she would alter the behavior of her character.
“Liz Keen will never carry an assault rifle again and I am deeply sorry for participating in glorifying them in the past. Yours, girl from Florida,” Boone tweeted.
Liz Keen will never carry an assault rifle again and I am deeply sorry for participating in glorifying them in the past. Yours, girl from Florida
— Megan Boone (@MeganBoone) February 23, 2018
Winter says the violent visuals in media are leaving their mark on viewers.
“When you look at the entire business model of, for instance, broadcast television, it’s based on advertising,” Winter told CBN News. “Advertisers spent last year over $80 billion on television in the United States to get their word out.”
“They spent each and every one of those $80 billion solely to change the behavior of the viewer,” he continued. “The ability to change the behavior of the viewer doesn’t stop when the commercial’s over and the TV show comes back on.”
“You are listening; you are absorbing; you are becoming emotionally engaged with whatever you’re seeing,” he said. “And basically what we’re seeing on almost a nightly basis – television, movies, video games, even music lyrics sadly – is a dress rehearsal, a blueprint for how to conduct violence against our fellow man.”
New PTC research also shows there has been an increase in overall TV violence as well as gun violence “that is marketed as appropriate for children” on primetime broadcast television in the five years since Sandy Hook, according to PTC’s website. The Sandy Hook shooting took the lives of 20 elementary school children and six adults.
“After that Sandy Hook tragedy, the White House called executives from Hollywood to Washington to talk about media violence, and they basically washed their hands of any responsibility whatsoever,” Winter told CBN News.
“But you would have thought – at least I would have thought – that there would be a reduction of the graphic violence and graphic gun violence that you see every night on primetime broadcast TV,” he continued. “Sadly it’s up.”
“Just as recently as last November, which remember was only a month after the Las Vegas shootings… we counted 39 percent of all entertainment programming had gun violence in it,” Winter said. “Sixty-one percent had violence; thirty-nine percent had gun violence.”
“This is Hollywood, that seems to be condemning it at every point, gun ownership and gun violence, and yet, every single night pumping it into living rooms across the country,” he continued.
PTC attended the recent media violence meeting at the White House.
“What we hope from the administration is basically a real deep dive into every aspect of what media violence is doing to children,” Winter told CBN News. “It starts with the marketing of it. It also includes how it’s rated.”
“What the Parents Television Council has found is that every single show with gun violence on primetime broadcast television is rated as appropriate for children to watch,” he continued.
“So how is a parent supposed to know that there’s going to be something bad?” he asked.