Effects on Children and Behavior
With television violence more prevalent than ever before, parents and professionals have been concerned about this type of programming adversely affecting behavior in children. While thousands of studies have been completed on this subject, with most of them showing a direct connection between media violence and belligerent behavior, the ensuing information will show the inadequacies of such theories by further scrutinizing these points of interest:
1. Television Violence
2. Media Perception vs. Age
3. Genetic and Environmental Factors
4. Correlation vs. Causation
Through movies, talk shows, cartoons and more, our television screens have plainly become littered with violence. According to The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center (2008) “61 percent of television programs contain some violence, and only 4 percent of television programs with violent content feature an ‘antiviolence’ theme” (para. 1).
Also, the quality of special effects has improved to the point of extreme realism and can easily be found throughout the networks, even during their prime time viewing slots. Many times, the most gruesome or hateful acts are presented in great detail, without regards to the experience of the youngest viewers. Because the television industry uses of such graphical representations, many adults presume that children have been mentally altered or lead towards aggressive behaviors in real life; however, hard data which indisputably proves this assumption to be true, has not yet been brought forward.
Media Perception vs. Age
“Children [, after preschool,] develop the attention span and cognitive ability to follow continuous plots, to make inferences about implicit content. Furthermore, a child’s capacity for imitating and remembering experiences learned from any media source, is substantially increased as they get older.
Although these and several other correlations between television and children have been fortuitously accepted as causes, by many sources, it is noteworthy to point out that while these ideas may seem definitively linked to aggression, they, in fact, could be far less associated than generally believed.
Genetic and Environmental Factors
Countless other possibilities, which have been found to contribute to aggressive actions, can be discovered within genetics and a child’s environment. Among these potential contributors are inherited tendencies towards hostility (genetic predisposition), behavior learned from other children and parental abuse. Since...