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How Does Violence In The Media Affect Children And How Should Parents Deal With It?

1038 words - 4 pages

Does violence in the media affect people's social behaviour? A lot of research has been done on this matter. Even though the mass media cannot be solely blamed for the increase in violence this century, it is clear that the development has coincided with an increase in violence shown on television and video. According to the UN Children's Convention, children should be able to have access to information from the mass media which promotes understanding, tolerance, equality and peace. Children also have the right to be protected, from violent and manipulating media. Even though 187 countries have signed this convention, few countries follow up, and even if they do they have little say about over international mass media such as satellite television and Internet.There was an interesting study on the web, about how many people get offended by violence on television (see below). It shows how many people are offended by violence and sex in the four main programmes.Major effects of children watching violent programs on television are:Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of othersChildren may be more fearful of the world around themChildren 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 then those who only watch a little; in other words, they're less bothered by violence in general and less likely to see anything wrong with it. Children, who have been watching violent programmes on TV, often behave differently. A study done at Pennsylvania State University showed that children who had just watched violent, even 'just funny' cartoons, were more likely to hit, argue, disobey rules, leave tasks unfinished, and more impatient then the children who had just watched non-violent shows.It has been calculated that the average 16-year-old in Western society has seen about 13,000 violent murders on television, and it seems reasonable to assume that this must have some effect on their behaviour. There is, indeed, a positive relationship between the amount of television violence children have seen and the aggressiveness of their behaviour. However, it is hard to interpret such co relational evidence. It may be that watching violent programmes cause aggressive behaviour. On the other hand, it may be that naturally aggressive children choose to watch more violent programmes than non-aggressive children.Lots of people also blame of having a bad influence on children and teenagers on violent computer games. There are two explanations of the effects of violence in video games:The social learning theory suggesting that children will imitate what they have seen on the screen; and the catharsis theory that suggests that violent video games channel a child's aggression and stop them from being aggressive in real life. (Catharsis theory)However observational studies (e.g. Irwin and Gross, 1995) have found that playing violent video games increases aggression in...

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