What's on TV? This is a common question of today's generation. A person might reply with one of the following; news, sitcoms, cartoons, sports, or any other various programs. Is this what is really on television? Take a closer look. What is consistently in these programs? Violence, violence is what's on television. Objections may arise from this statement because of violent desensitization, but that does not change the fact that most shows contain violence.
"In 1949, a mere 2% of American homes had television sets. This increased to 64% by 1955, 93% by the mid-60's, and 98% today" (Hughes and Hasbrouck 3). With so many televisions in homes today and working parents; "TV has become the closest and most constant companion for American children" (Zuckerman 1). U.S. children begin watching television at a very early age and are frequent viewers by the time that they are two or three years old. The amount of time that American children spend watching TV is astounding: an average of four hours a day, 28 hours a week, 2,400 hours a year, nearly 18,000 hours by the time they graduate from high school. In comparison, they spend a mere 13,000 hours in school, from kindergarten through twelfth grade. American children spend more time watching TV than any other activity, besides sleeping.
With all this time in front of the television, how much violence do children watch? A typical child will witness 8,000 murders and 100,000 other acts of violence before he or she leaves elementary school (Hughes and Hasbrouck 4). People don't realize the amount of violence on television. With improved special effects, violent scenes are more realistic and grotesque which attributes to the popularity of violent shows. Also, several sources indicate that five violent acts per hour occur during prime time television and 20 to 25 violent acts occur during Saturday morning cartoons.
Many psychologists agree that viewing television violence causes an increase in aggression especially in young children. Social scientists performed studies to determine if a causal link between viewing violence and aggression exists. Bandura performed a laboratory study that showed four groups of children a different film. One group watched physical aggressive behavior rewarded, another group watched physical aggressive behavior punished, the third group watched no aggressive behavior, and the final group did not watch a film at all. Bandura concludes that children learn to act violently because they mimic behavior that they see being rewarded (Primavera and Herron 3).
There are three primary types of harmful effects associated with viewing violence. First, children learn aggressive attitudes and behaviors. Accepting violence as a way to solve problems, leads to aggressive attitudes and behavior. Television violence is attractive, effective, and the preferred solution to most conflicts. "It is believed that people learn by imitating what they see, and that children are particularly receptive to such learning" (Primavera and Herron 1). When children see that violence is the solution to problems, they have this attitude when they play resulting in more aggression. Back in 1940, when televisions were scarce, "the seven top problems in public schools were identified by teachers as talking out of turn, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls, cutting in line, dress-code infractions, and littering. By 1980, the seven top problems had been identified as suicide, assault, robbery, rape, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and pregnancy" (Zuckerman 2). The increase of television viewing and televisions in homes magnified problems in school over a period of time. Second, children become desensitized to real world violence. People who watch so many violent acts see violence as a normal and accepted way of life. If children watch a lot of violence, they may not be distressed by real life acts of violence and were less quick to intervene or to call for assistance when they saw...
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