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Do movies influence young people?

You just left the cinema after seeing ‘The Matrix’ you look up to the sky and think how cool would it be to fly home? I’d say Pretty cool but it’s never gonna happen, you know it, and I know it but it’s good to dream isn’t it? So do movies influence young people, perhaps so, but in very different ways with contemporary opinion focussed on hip-hop music is one medium really worse than the other? Music and films have long been intertwined and will continue to be one need only look at most music videos.

Whilst some films are escapist nonsense that no –one in there right mind would take seriously, others are films that are grounded in reality and feature violent acts that can sometimes affect impressionable people, also the age you watch certain films is an important factor. In the eighties films like the ‘Evil Dead’ were labelled video nasties and banned. Watch these films now and you can’t see what the fuss was all about the film is disturbing but that’s more to do with atmosphere than anything ‘nasty’. Film certificates are also worthless as most young people watch films that they can’t see at the cinema on video or DVD at home. The certificates system is also not really paid attention to by parents who are better judges of what their children should and shouldn’t watch. ‘Spiderman’ which when it came out last summer was a 12 cert which meant that that lots of parents would be pestered by their younger children to go and see it, but were told at the cinema that this was impossible. All this finally resulted in Westminster council changing the certificate so children under 12 could see it.

When I was younger my dad used to let us watch 18 certificate movies, but he always made sure that they had a moral theme. He wouldn’t let us watch horror films or films where people are killed for killings sake. Most films, even violent ones have a very strong moral undercurrent and tell us bluntly that if we step away from the norm we will pay for it. In gangster films the bad guys are only at the top for a while before karma takes over and they ousted, but things are different while Watching a film like ‘Boyz in the Hood’ and an Arnold schwarzenegger film. They can create different reactions. Who can forget the feeling of despair when Ricky in ‘BITH’ is shot in the back and who wasn’t’ horrified at the damage a gun could do in the wrong hands. Contrast this with any Schwarzenegger film where waves of ‘enemies’ are mowed down. Tens of thousands of bullets are fired but the worst a bullet does in these films is knocking someone down, without eliciting a single smidgen of emotion from us. This can make it look to some people that firing a gun into another human being is a nice and clean exercise that there’s no blood death or mutilation.

So now when rap music gets the blame for the surge of violence I can actually see why. Some critics might have a point; some rap music is utterly detestable where the offhand manner that some rappers talk about taking another life is outrageous. Now we should know that this is utter rubbish, some rap is all ego and being macho a form of one-upmanship. Most people enjoy gangster films and the correlation between some gangster films and Rap is undeniable. But this is where they usually come to a crossroads listening to some gangster rappers it seems as if every day is party time. Big houses, sexy women and nice cars, while gangster films also show this you know that this is only a very small part there is also the
cold-blooded killing, beatings and evil motivations.

Gangster films show the good times but also the bad how many films have you seen where the protagonist ends up either in a witness protection programme, prison or dead? Has anyone ever seen a gangster film end happily? As they say live by the sword… you know the rest. If films influence young people they also show them what the consequences of their actions could be because unlike a rap video there are always ramifications and consequences.


Vote 16 – Should 16 year olds be legally allowed to vote and be voted for?

Well this is the reality that young people would face if their right to vote at the age of 16 were not realised. If 16 year olds are not permitted to vote then people who do not necessarily have their interests at heart will be making decisions about their lives for them. Now that is reality.

Thank God for the Southwark Youth Council who would be lobbying for 16 year olds to be given the right to vote. But notwithstanding some members of the Southwark Youth Council believe it is better the age is left at 18 while some even think it would be better to be allowed to vote at an age older than 18. Hmm?

A very strong argument cropping up is once they are given the right to vote and be voted for they would not have the experience to do the job well. It is open for debate.
Obviously all their opinions are personal but at the same time they are the young people who represent you at different levels of government. It would be good to know what your opinions are on the voting age brought down to 16. Go along to the open evenings and voice your opinion.
You could also e-mail us at southwarkmagazine@hotmail.com

Local Democracy Week

‘Listening to Tomorrow’s Voter’s Today’. That’s the theme for this year’s local democracy week, which hopes to raise the interest and activity of young people in citizenship. Southwark is one of over 300 local authorities involved with the scheme organised by The Local Governments Association.

The scheme, which runs between the 13th and 19th hopes to improve on the 59.4% of people eligible to vote participating in the 2001 general election by gaining the views and opinions of the voters of the future. At Southwark’s own local election last year only 33% of people registered cast their vote, turnout among 18 to 24 year olds was particularly low.

In a survey carried out by The British Household Panel almost a third of 15-17 year olds were ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ interesting in voting, in another survey MORI found that over half the population would be willing to vote through e-voting (voting online).

To find out if these figures were true among young people in Southwark we went and asked you what you think…

Damien Bent

Do you intend to vote in the local and national elections?

Because voting is my right and I intend to use it.

Do you think the voting age should be reduced to 16?
If you can be wed at sixteen, go to war and smoke then why not vote

Do you think more people would vote if they could do so by e-mail or phone?
Possibly but there is more of a chance of fraud.

Natalie Ricketts

Do you intend to vote in local and national elections?

I’m still trying to work out if it will make a real difference or not.

Do you think more people would vote if they could do so by e-mail or phone?
It would because some people don’t vote because they don’t want to go to the place or its awkward.

Pedro DaCruz

Do you intend to vote in local and national elections?

Because I think my vote can make a difference

Do you think more people would vote if they could do so by e-mail or phone?
Yes because it’s more convenient

Sasha Bennett

Do you intend to vote in local and national elections?

Because parties promise things they cannot deliver

Do you think more people would vote if they could do so by e-mail or phone?
Yes, its more convenient in today’s world.

Do you think the voting age should be reduced to 16?
Yes, because they want to vote and feel their opinion doesn’t matter by the time they’re 18.

So, turns out some of us do wanna be listened to, it’s about time someone took notice.

If you are interested in being involved in local politics and making a change contact Michael Connors (Youth Involvement Project)
on 020 7732 791