Teenagers in Seoni kill others after viewing crime shows, but do crime shows actually cause individuals to act violently?

While criminals may claim to have been inspired by crime reality shows, it does not necessarily prove a causal relationship.

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Frontier India News Network is the inhouse news collection agency of Frontier India Technology, the owner of Flicks Town.

In a tragic incident in a village in Madhya Pradesh’s Seoni district, three boys, the youngest among them 11 years old, are reportedly involved in the death of their 12-year-old friend. This incident is allegedly motivated by the victim’s opposition to his older sister’s rumoured relationship with one of the accused. According to the police, the three boys strangled the victim using a bicycle chain. On Sunday, they inflicted head injuries with a stone and finally slit his throat with a sharp knife.

As reported by The Indian Express, Ramji Shrivastav, the Superintendent of Police in Seoni, said that the three individuals accused in this case are aged 16, 14, and 11. Two of the accused are siblings

The 16-year-old accused was influenced by romantic programs that depicted breakups, according to Shrivastav. The accused expressed his fear of experiencing a breakup with the girl involved when he was being questioned. With limited English vocabulary, Shrivastav inquired about the meaning of “breakup.” The accused explained that it meant “your heart breaks down,” which left Shrivastav shocked. The boys drew inspiration from local crime shows and devised a plan to murder to avoid a breakup.

Per the Indian Penal Code sections 302 (punishment for murder) and 120-B (punishment for criminal conspiracy), the local police have investigated the matter. The three boys involved have been arrested and placed in a juvenile detention facility as a direct consequence of their actions. At this time, the authorities are conducting additional investigations into the situation.

Are crime shows inspiring citizens to commit crimes? 

In the Mehrauli murder case in November 2022, the police disclosed that the accused, Aftab Amin Poonawalla, drew inspiration from the American crime show ‘Dexter’ to murder his live-in partner, Shraddha Walker. Additionally, the police shared disturbing information about the accused’s internet search history. This included queries related to blood-cleaning methods and reading about human anatomy.

Shiva Prasad, a 19-year-old residing in Madhya Pradesh, became a serial killer, allegedly driven by inspiration from the Pan-India Kannada film ‘KGF2.’ He aspired to fame and reportedly targeted five individuals, including four sleeping security guards. The motive behind these killings was his desire to become famous like actor Yash, who portrayed a prominent role in the film.

As in today’s case, the police constable reveals that a local crime show inspired the children. Many criminals in India claim that their inspiration comes from crime/violent films and shows.

The question remains, do these entertainment media really inspire people to commit crimes? 

A compelling argument can be made that crime reality shows provide individuals with new ideas and innovative methods to commit crimes. As crime reality shows continue to attract significant attention in India, this argument cannot be easily dismissed.

In a report released by UNESCO concerning the impact of television on children and adolescents, however, it was suggested that television could contribute to the acquisition of criminal skills, which are later employed when individuals commit crimes. It was also posited that television programming could stimulate delinquent behaviour by catering to a child’s aggressive nature or instilling unrealistic notions about the effectiveness of violent actions. However, it was emphasised that television alone couldn’t turn an average, well-adjusted child into a delinquent. Researchers and clinical investigators agree on this conclusion almost unanimously.

Some argue that crime reality shows may inspire individuals to commit crimes. While watching these shows may provide some people with new ideas, it’s essential to consider several factors before making any conclusions.

First, it is essential to acknowledge that crime reality shows are predominantly intended for entertainment. To enhance their appeal, they are often dramatised and edited. It is possible that the criminal behaviour and consequences shown on these shows are not accurate representations of real-life scenarios. Illegal activities are often downplayed or omitted entirely because of their complexity and risks.

Furthermore, individuals genuinely inclined to engage in criminal behaviour likely have preexisting motivations or tendencies. It is unlikely that exposure to crime-related reality shows would be the only factor in someone committing a crime. The criminal behaviour of an individual is highly influenced by underlying factors such as their circumstances, socio-economic status, mental health issues, and prior criminal conduct.

Moreover, it is essential to differentiate between correlation and causation. While criminals may claim to have been inspired by crime reality shows, it does not necessarily prove a causal relationship. People may use such claims as excuses or to gain attention.

It is also important to consider the vast number of people who watch crime reality shows without intending to commit a crime. Shows like these can be entertaining and informative or provide insight into criminal investigations and law enforcement processes. They may also raise awareness about crime prevention and the consequences of illegal activities.

Promoting media literacy and critical thinking is vital to address concerns about the potential negative impact of crime reality shows. Viewers should be encouraged to distinguish fictionalised entertainment from real-life situations to make informed decisions. In addition, media production companies should ensure their content contains disclaimers and ethical considerations to minimise the risk of harm to their audiences.

Therefore, while crime reality shows may influence crime, it is essential to approach the topic objectively. It is difficult to measure these shows’ impact on crime rates accurately, and attributing criminal behaviour solely to their influence oversimplifies the complex factors involved. To mitigate potential adverse effects, underlying social issues must be addressed, media literacy must be promoted, and responsible media production must be encouraged.

Written by Matrika Shukla.

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