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Sex and Violence in
the Media

Although Koreans started to complain about 10 years ago that there was too much sex and violence on TV, there has been no change. In fact, there is more sex and violence on TV now than in the past. Now with VCRs (video cassette recorders) in every home, videos are showing even more sex and violence than ever before. American movies such as Terminator II, Die Hard and Demolition Man, as exciting as they are, are almost pure violence. In 1997 it is difficult to find a movie that does not have a sex scene, even if it is not part of the plot. Even Korean movie makers are producing more and more movies with sexual stories. We seem to be living in a world where sex and violence is very common on the screen!

Korea is not alone. In a survey in the US in 1995, over 90% of Americans said that there was too much sex and senseless violence in movies and on TV. Research has shown that young people are strongly affected by what they see on movie and television screens, and that watching too much violence is bad. In addition, the increasing violent behavior by teenagers and the public in general is a sign that all this sex and violence in the media is hurting society

Why doesn't it stop? Some people, including movie makers, say that movies with sex and violence are merely showing the world as it really is. They also say that people who live in a democracy should be no limits on the content of programs, and that people should be able to make any kind of movie or television program that they want. Some politicians in Korea and the United States, however, now believe that "enough is enough". They say that if TV and movie companies can not control the content of what they show to people, the government should pass laws to make sex and violence illegal in the media. Movie producers call this censorship, but people who make the laws say that it is just logical.

But maybe it is society and the people who WATCH movies who really cause the problem. More people watch movies and television programs with sex and violence in them more often than regular programs. Perhaps if people stopped watching sex and violence, it would not be necessary to pass laws to control the content of the media. Until the public stops watching these TV programs and movies, the problem will continue to increase.

Questions for Discussion

1. Can you name some recent movies or TV programs in Korea that contain a lot of sex and violence? Do you think there is too much sex and violence on TV and in videos? Why do you think this?

2. Do you think there is a link - a connection - between violence in the media and the increase in crime and bad behaviour among young people?

3. Who should protect children from bad television programs? Should it be the parents or the people who make television programs?

4. If sex and violence is bad, why do you think that TV and movie makers put sex and violence into their productions?

5. Some people think that stopping sex and violence on TV or in movies limits people's rights - it is against freedom of speech. They think there should be no limits at all. What is your opinion?