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Opinion: Can Films Have A Negative Impact On Young And Impressionable Minds?

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Trigger Warning: mention of rape, murder

Do films create social evils? To answer that, we should know about the social evils themselves. Social evils are all the elements of life in society which are contradictory to moral values. These affect not just the individual but the entire community; individuals being closely related to one another in terms of nation or a community.

Some of the social evils are juvenile crime, drugs and alcohol abuse, falling values, and so on. Now let us get back to the question: do films create social evils? Yes, while some films do encourage social evil, the audience should also be cognizant about which kinds of films they are watching.

When we watch movies, in our enjoyment we often forget that the silver screen is purely for our entertainment, and different from real life. In movies, everything is possible; but in real life, it may not. However, the impact of movies in society is fairly evident. This is especially true for teenagers, who want to fulfill their dreams and desires without understanding the difference between right and wrong.

Shahid Kapoor Wets His Pants in Kabir Singh, Now Sandeep Reddy Justifies The Controversial Scene |
A still from Kabir Singh (2019), a movie criticised a lot for its glorification of a misogynist drug-addict hero.

Teenagers are susceptible to mistakes, and sometimes this leads to them being discouraged, making them drop out of school or college, thereby forfeiting their future. When they are not able to get the success that they want, they develop an addiction to narcotics and may inculcate bad habits. This might lead them down the path of revenge, which may involve heinous crimes such as harassment, or even rape and murder.

What are the positive sides of movies? Some movies are influenced by real-life happenings and incidents. Society and movies progress with time. This could be observed by watching older movies which reflect the reality of those times. Several movies are helping in making our society progressive. For instance, Pink (2016) depicts the stark reality of urban women in India, as well as influencing the audience to stop judging them according to their lifestyles.

​Some movies show reality and help us in addressing the dangers of social evils. For instance, Udta Punjab (2016) warns the audience against the use of narcotics. It has also been scientifically proven the watching movies is good for us. Like watching horror movies can burn nearly 200 calories at a time and enhance brain activity.Movies encourage cultural activities like arts, drama, music, and through this they help develop people’s sense of aesthetics.

What are the negative sides of movies? Films have come to influence impressionable young minds like nothing else. One often comes across reports where frustrated lovers commit suicide, a jilted youth tries to kill his lover, and college students start drinking and gambling. Encouraged by films such social evils not only results in great mental suffering and humiliation for the parents, but also throws the entire national equilibrium out of gear.

Often, criminals when arrested for their crimes- such as thefts, murders, and kidnappings- admit to having been inspired by films. Psychiatrists have often tracked adolescent delinquencies and violence in films. Adults have abandoned their reading habits and social life in favor of watching movies and film-based programs on the television. Therefore, we must conclude that films cause social evils in several ways.

Now let’s see the solution:

​Solutions to this usually come in the form of restrictions, which are:

  • Children should not watch television or movies for more than 90 minutes per day.
  • Children should also be restricted from watching those movies which can have a bad influence on them and affect their mental temperament. It is the parents’ job to guide them. ​
  • Moviemakers have a great responsibility to ensure that they make movies responsibly. Producers, directors, and actors should try to make movies on social issues. However, it is important to deal with the movie in such a way that the moral of the story or the actual message does not get overshadowed by the negative characteristics. Though the perspective of the viewer is important we can not deny the moral responsibility of the movie maker to treat the movie and the story responsibly. This ensures that it does not add more to the already prevailing desensitivity in our society.

​The good thing is that the present society is much more aware of the impact of everything on people and is easily expressing views on something that may be harmful to society. Hence, there exists the freedom of expression leading to an intelligent society- a combination of which is a sign of a truly progressive society.

This article was originally published here.

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