Violence in entertainment is as old as civilization itself. In the earlier centuries Romans would delight themselves by cheering on gladiators fought themselves to death. Dramatic theater was also full of jealousy, retribution, and violence. Although entertainment violence is not new it wasn’t until the twentieth century that heavy doses of violence were made available to vastly everyone. Over the past one hundred years, as mass media has become more prevalent, it has also become more violent. In the earlier part of the twentieth century media such as motion pictures and radio provided entertainment for those who could afford them. Although these commodities were present few people considered them necessary for living. With the introduction of television in the middle of the century , mass media availability began to increase. By the year 1955 two-thirds of all homes in America were outfitted with a television set. This figure increased to around ninety-three percent by the end of that decade. So it is not surprising that today television and mass media are a part of virtually all Americans. The rise in media availability of all sorts has grasped a connection with a steep rise in media consumption among both children and adults. Media consumption among both children and adults has become a great American pastime. The rise in media consumption has important implications for society. As such, increases in violence depicted in the media have raised convers over the impact of this violence on society. According to a study conducted by the National Violence Study recorded in the book Media Violence and Children edited by Douglas A. Gentile, media violence is defined as:
“Thus as the expansion of mass media has occurred so has its violent contents affected children. Not only has television impacted the lives of young people, recently developed forms of entertainment media may be even more graphic and violent. Although young people are surrounded by a vast variety of mass media everyday television, video games, and music have proven to have a larger effect over children.” (Gentile)
Violence in Television
As television became more widely consumed over the past half-century it has become increasingly violent. Violent programming has steadily increased over the past thirty years. Research reports indicated in the 1970s that by the time a child reached the age of fourteen that they witnessed over eleven thousand murders on television. This figure has dramatically increased. More recent reports indicate that on average an American child is now subject to witness more than ten thousand violent crimes each year on television, which accumulates to around two hundred total violent crimes by the time they are in their teenage years. Violent acts occur five times per hour in prime time programs and twenty times per hour in children’s programs. Entirely two-thirds of all children’s programming contains violence, which makes these shows fairly more violent than...