Excessive Television Viewing Essay

2059 words - 8 pages

Excessive Television Viewing

TV or not TV? -That's the question. We may not all be Hamlet, but we
all struggle with our own existential issues and since television
plays a major role in our existence it becomes an issue. The days are
long past when we could consider TV to be an innocent, innocuous part
of daily life or a casual baby-sitter. It is a powerful, persuasive
teacher and a primary companion for children, many of whom spend more
time in front of the television than in school. Considering that some
members of the average family watch more than seven hours of
television per day, it is not surprising that contemporary research
indicates that human development and behaviour are affected by
television to a degree far exceeding earlier judgments.

Unfortunately, this medium, which has been used for much good, has
increasingly been misused. The number of programmes and commercials
that conflict with gospel standards are steadily rising, and few
viewers demonstrate enough self-discipline to resist. Some of us don't
even realize what hidden messages we're receiving-and little by little
we subconsciously come to accept them as normal or appropriate.

There is a large body of research that documents the way in which
exposure to television influences children generally, and much of this
relates to the effects of exposure to violent content in programming.
Children who view programmes where violence is very realistic,
frequently repeated or left unpunished, are more likely to imitate
what they observe on television. The impact of television violence may
be immediately evident in a child's behaviour or it may surface years
later. Children who spend their time alone will learn behaviour from
television, which is considered to be acceptable. Several studies have
also highlighted that children may become 'immune' to violence,
gradually accepting it as a way to solve problems. Young children are
very impressionable, and it follows that they see things on
television, and at the movies, that they may consider as normal. For
example, Americans accept that there is a tremendous amount of violent
crime in their country. They hardly flinch when they hear about
horrific murders; they've heard it all before. However, in the UK we
still find it horrific when someone holds a shootout at a school or
murders a child. This is because we don't come across it very often.
Unfortunately though, because of the amount of detail in newer films,
we are beginning to get used to violence. Take for example the recent
film, "Hannibal" starring Anthony Hopkins, where the consuming of a
human brain is featured in graphic detail and the exploitation of
cannibalism is continued throughout the film. How then can parents
compete with the film industry's glamorisation of violence? Violence
is becoming part of our...

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