When did teaching kids to kill become associated with a person's first amendment
rights? In the wake of school shootings and concealed weapons being carried by students,
many government agencies have begun to study the effects of violence on television as a
prominent variable in childhood and adolescent aggressiveness. The prevalence of
violence in television is rampant. It is as addictive as a drug to the children and
adolescents, and is accomplishing two extreme reactions: a desensitization towards pain
and suffering in the world, and instilling fear of the world as a dark, cold place.
Although violence in all media has become a prominent issue, the focus has mainly
been on television because it has had the most influence on the youth of the nation over
the past 50 years. Abusive lyrics and overly violent films have taken some heat in more
recent years, but not nearly as much as that of television. In the future, the medium of
video games has been predicted to be more harmful than that of any other media
influence, but there are not enough facts to support this hypothesis. The truth is that
without the technology provided by the invention of the television video games would
never have become a household commodity. The study of violence on the small screen
has been ongoing since the 1950s (Committee on Public Education 1222). Even though
the public lost sight of this debate, it gained momentum again in the late 1980s and 90s.
Today, television has become a key socialization factor and dominates the life of
children in urban and rural areas (Groebel 217). The period of socialization is a time in
which children learn of their culture and how to interact with the world. Where this
lesson was once taught by parents and schools, television has taken point. Violence is no
longer restricted to R - rated movies that children have little chance of seeing, as their
cartoons are brimming with violent acts. A study done on the choices of entertainment
that parents and children make, depending on restrictive labels, proves that television
programs carrying advisories of violence and objectionable behavior have bigger
audiences than those that did not, and while parents made negative comments about
programs that contained restrictions, the children were more likely to make positive
comments (Cantor and Krcmar 393-395). An example from the National Television
Violence Study (1996) was that boys, especially between the ages of 10-14, "were
actually more attracted to programs that contained the advisory 'Parental discretion
advised'" (Cantor and Krcmar 395).
Since the deregulation of television in the 1980s, there has been a rapid increase in
violence because violence sells. Studies of both social and psychological nature have
found a conclusive link between exposure to television violence and aggressiveness.
Faith McLellan investigated if violence on television makes violent children as...