True crime is not your entertainment

True crime is not your entertainment

Ariyanna Wilkes, Staff Writer

The media is a great source of entertainment and is easily accessible to everyone, regardless of their intentions. “Dahmer,” one of Netflix’s most recent true crime television programs, has received 701.37 million hours of viewing, placing it second among English-language programs. What could possibly motivate people to watch this one so much when there are so many other television shows available on Netflix? People enjoy getting a peek inside a murderer’s head because it shocks their impressionable minds and increases their dopamine levels. Due to the attention and sensationalism that major media outlets have given to the true crime genre over the past few years, it has experienced an increase of viewership. True crime culture has desensitized many individuals to all the current and older crimes that have occurred in the world. People no longer feel empathy for the victims, but instead like to envision themselves in that place.

True crime is a genre of nonfiction where the author explores a real crime and describes the behaviors of the people involved in and impacted by criminal events. Through sites like Tiktok, YouTube, and others, it has become diluted and commercialized in recent times. It is no longer about disseminating accurate information but rather about entertaining an audience while falsifying facts to do so.

“I feel that the broadcasting of violent crimes in the form of true crime documentaries, podcasts, movies, ect. has definitely desensitized most people to more violent crimes,” Samantha Young, senior, said. “Seeing how often things like this take place makes it a normal occurrence and less of a big deal to most people.”

There has definitely been a decline in the quality of true crime writing and presentation over time. The audience is no longer horrified by what they are hearing, instead they are more interested in what the next person will do, how far they will go, and whether it will surpass the original. It is acceptable to listen to true crime for informational purposes and even if you want to understand why people act in certain ways. However, it becomes problematic when you start to desire it; when you consider what you might have done differently if you had been in the same circumstances, and when you would prefer a true crime show with more gore over a sitcom. Even if you can’t process it straight away, your brain will eventually get desensitized to violence the more you see it and indulge in it. As a result, your feelings won’t be the same. The world will appear grayer to you, and no matter how shiny and fresh anything may be, all you’ll perceive is a gray shadow over everything. You won’t feel bad for the people you see on screen, you won’t even feel bad for someone you see in person begging for help.

According to the National Library of Medicine, a study concluded that, “Those with medium levels of exposure to TV/movie violence experienced lower elevations of blood pressure when viewing violent videos compared to those with low exposure, and those with higher levels of exposure evidenced rapid increase in blood pressure that quickly declined over time. The results point to diminished empathy and reduced emotional reactivity to violence…”

These big platforms often claim to produce such content just for educational purposes, but in reality, they only do so to capitalize on it and profit while affecting real people. Serious moral and ethical questions were raised by the fact that the victims’ families were never informed that “Dahmer” would be released. The families were forced to go through the agony and heartache all over again so that Netflix could profit immensely. Larger companies are free from dealing with the emotional turmoil that can be caused by their acts, and the only time they would ever discuss the issue is if it adversely impacted the revenue they brought in. They would only make amends if it damaged their reputation.

We need to stop giving money to these corporations. When they continue to profit from it, they believe it is acceptable and that people like the content, despite the fact that the majority of those who watch it despise it. We have the ability as individuals to refuse to watch this content and to stop giving it the attention it craves.  Every day, new content is released without such heinous backgrounds, so instead of investing all of your money into the latest serial killer story, start putting in something that will truly make a difference, such as funds for the victims’ families.