Mass Media Violence and the Effect on Children
Violence on television has been an issue that has plagued man from the day it was invented. Numerous shows depict violent acts such as rape, murder, and other such acts that many people consider inappropriate for adolescents. According to some studies the average child watches about 27 hours of television week. In some cases it is as much as 11 hours a day on a weekend. With the current amount of violence that is on television today these same studies estimate that the average child sees 8,000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence before finishing elementary school. In 1992, there were over 1,800 acts of violence shown on television a day, over 360 those showed an act involving guns. Media scope’s National Television Violence Study found that 57% of television programs aired in 1994 and 1995 contained some violence most of these were cartoons. So the question is, should we ban violence from the television or should we just leave it the way it is? Some people believe that it should be banned from stations that show children’s programs to prevent the exposure of those children. Sometimes children see a great amount of violence on television, they begin to think that this is right and start to imitate the acts that they see on television, which are not the things that the parents want the children to learn from. One example of this is a thirteen-year-old boy who shot his best friend’s father and then put salt in the wounds. When he was asked why he did this he said that he had seen the same thing on a movie the day before. Psychological research has shown three major effects of seeing violence on television: Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others. Children may be more fearful of the world around them... Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others. Children who watch a lot of TV are less aroused by violent scenes than are those who only watch a little; in other words, they're less bothered by violence in general and less likely to anything wrong with it. One example: in several studies, those who watched a violent program instead of a nonviolent one were slower to intervene or to call for help when, a little later, they saw younger children fighting or playing destructively. Children often behave differently after they've been watching violent programs on TV. In one study done at Pennsylvania State University, about 100 preschool children were observed both before and after watching television; some watched cartoons that had a lot of aggressive and violent acts in them, and others watched shows that didn't have any kind of violence. The first group were less likely to share and more prone to hit or be destructive. Prime time programs average eight hostile acts per hour; children's shows four times as much. People as a society today tend to over react to incidents where children are involved. The problem arises when some demented child who has serious mental problems and can’t define reality and fiction does a horrendous crime and blames all his problems on a show that he saw where two people kill each other. I can see the relevance of this argument but I can’t honestly believe that 50% of children can’t tell the difference between reality and the images they see on television. Without being taught children make their own assessments of the reality status of television programs. The opposing sides of this issue are the parents whose children are viewing the violent material and the television stations that broadcast the shows. Parents can help by just observing their children. Because there is a great deal of violence in both adult and children's programming, just limiting the number of hours children watch television will probably reduce the amount of aggression they see. In addition: Parents should watch at least one episode of the programs their children watch. Parents can encourage their children to...
NAESP Homepage, http:/www.owt.com/cheifjo/qtvviolc.html,2000
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