How is The Hunger Games affecting our culture today?

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

If you’ve read The Hunger Games series, you know that the books are suspenseful, intense, and hard to put down. And if you’ve seen the movies, you know that they are just as powerful and imaginative. The Hunger Games will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time.  It is a fun and entertaining experience to read the books and see the movies, but looking deeper, The Hunger Games and other movies like it have become affecting our culture in different ways.

A recent article on NPR talks about the increase of interest in archery since The Hunger Games has been released, especially for girls. The article talks about how store owners have a hard time keeping recurve bows in stock (the same kind of bows used by Katniss in The Hunger Games) and USA Archery membership has doubled in the last two years. (1)

There are real effects of media on our culture right now and this increase in archery because of The Hunger Games is just one simple example.

1. It’s easy to deny negative effects of media on behaviors but have no problem embracing it when it's positive.
Sure, when we see something good happening as a result of video games, movies, or television, we get excited. We celebrate technology advancements and look how they can help us learn or how it can help our brains work better and faster.  But we can’t deny that there are also very negative effects as well. For example, body image. Everyone knows that young girls especially look to models or actresses on television and look up to them – they idolize their images, how much they weigh, and what they look up and that image is engrained into their mind. They think that the images they see on TV are right, when in fact, they aren’t always correct or accurate.  And in the case of The Hunger Games, it could be said that it’s great that kids are taking interest in a sport and learning. That’s true – taking interest in new activities is great, but are they idolizing the images they see on the movie? Has it begun to alter their real life awareness?

2) The influence of media is similar to gaming and the Tetris Effect.
The more media you take in, the more it becomes absorbed into your mind. Media, especially violent media, is something that your brain doesn’t easily forget – especially if you are watching it day in and day out for hours at a time.  It becomes engrained into your memory and pretty soon, you’re opening yourself up to an increase in aggression and an altered reality.

3) It’s hard to embrace that violent media and games increase violent tendencies yet it’s easy to enthusiastically welcome that prosocial media and gaming increase socially acceptable behaviors.
It’s easy to not want to admit that violent media increases violent tendencies in real life, especially when combined with mental illness, personality disorders, and the like. Social gaming and media can surely have positive effects and of course, not everyone is going to react poorly to media intake. But denying that violent media is harmful to behaviors is not good for anyone. Consider your media intake and how it affects your reality. Are you seeing positive or negative effects after gaming or seeing movies?

By Brooke Strickland

Video game, technology, and media addiction is very real. For more information, visit hookedongames.com.

  1. 1. Hood, Grace. “More Girls Target Archery, Inspired by ‘The Hunger Games’ “. NPR. November 27, 2013.  Accessed on December 9, 2013. http://www.npr.org/2013/11/27/247379498/more-girls-target-archery-inspired-by-the-hunger-games