Murder. Rape. Suicide. Kidnapping. Chaos. Destruction. When Mr. Farnsworth invented the television, I don't think he knew what kind of impact his invention would have on today's children. Even if he did, I don't think he would have anticipated the level of violence that children would be exposed to due to progress. In recent years, there has been an upsurge of violence in America, as well as on television. With this rise in violence, both in society and in the media, parents and teachers should become more aware of ways to counteract television violence, such as using the TV ratings system, V-chip, and discussing television violence with children.
Since the invention of the television, people, especially children, have steadily spent more time in front of the television set. "...the amount of time spent in front of a television or video screen is the single biggest chunk of time in the waking life of an American child...Children now spend more time learning about life through media than through any other mean." (Anonymous) In many families, television has become an electronic baby-sitter; a replacement for quality time with parents.
In 1990, a study by Nielsen Media Research revealed that children between the ages two and five watch approximately four hours of television per day. According to the American Psychological Association, if children watch two to four hours of TV a day, they will have witnessed about 8,000 murders and more than 100,000 other acts of violence by the time they finish elementary school. (Bergenfield) So basically, children are being taught through repetition to be aggressive and violent. Psychologists have scientifically shown that there is a correlation between television violence exposed to children at early ages and the subsequent violence that these children exhibit as they grow. Basically, they showed that constant exposure to violence promotes and encourages violence. Lombardo points out that "the path between media portrayals of violence and their effects on culture, society, and individual behavior are found to be in direct relation to each other." (Lombardo)
"Fear of violence is one reason that children are spending less time outside playing and more time watching TV," says William Abbott, president of the Boston-based National Foundation to Improve Television. (Bergenfield) However, just because children aren't outside as much as they used to be doesn't mean that they are escaping from the threat of violence. Television can be a powerful influence in developing value systems and behavior in children. Unfortunately, much of today's television programming is violent. Several studies by UCLA " have found that children may become 'immune' to the horror of violence, gradually accept violence as a way to solve problems, imitate the violence they observe on television, and identify with certain character; victims and/or victimizers." (UCLA) ...