An underlying trend for media content has been the intensity of violence and shock.
There has always been some degree of brutality in entertainment but the trend is to more vivid use. Shock for attraction is a relatively newer marketing strategy that seems to be increasing in use and intensity. As the competition to catch consumers' attention has heightened greatly in recent years the methods have become more drastic. To get one sales step ahead of Corporation B, Corporation A has lowered its ethical standards another notch.
One sad example has been the use of shock and violence with kids, an effective means and an easy mark. Children are curious as they learn more about life and they absorb so much of what is put in front of them, as have adults in their lives.
Shock and TV ratings or the things they do for profit!
Perhaps you are alarmed about the progression of explicit television and perhaps not, but where will it go? Shock raises curiosity, gets attention, and generates sales and profits. On that basis the trend will continue if there is little negative public feedback.
I heard a TV producer on a national radio documentary state that their television program ratings were dropping and that they decided to introduce more shock. And what more productive place to market entertainment this way than in the youth market, curious, looking for excitement and a change from what was.
A 2007 Ars Technica post d a report on TV violence and kids:
The FCC has just released its report on the possibility of regulating violence on television. Despite concluding that such regulation would be constitutional and that a workable definition could be crafted, the agency is unable to come up with one itself. . . According to the commissioners, the FCC has no desire to do the job of parents, but some personal comments made by Adelstein highlight the difficulty that parents face. Read the entire article.
Mama Fox talks about Violence in Children's Movies. But what about violence in the cartoons? Killing is already a very abstract idea to small children so showing it in careless ways makes it seem normal and maybe even required. Bad guy must always die. No second chances. I want to teach my sons compassion and mercy. I just wish there was more of that in movies. It's hard enough to find kindness in this world without getting mixed signals. More . . .
The Media Awareness Network writes: Violence has always played a role in entertainment. But there's a growing consensus that, in recent years, something about media violence has changed. For one thing, there's more of it. Laval University professors Guy Paquette and Jacques de Guise studied six major Canadian television networks over a seven-year period, examining films, situation comedies, dramatic series, and children's programming (though not cartoons). The study found that between 1993 and 2001, incidents of physical violence increased by 378 per cent. Read Violence in Media Entertainment.