Television Violence and Its Effects on Children
Television violence affects all who view it, but its biggest effect is on children. Children’s minds are like a blank page. Television is writing violence on that page. Television violence is one of the causes of aggression and violent behavior in children. This problem is not new, but in recent years it has gotten worse. In the last few years, violence in television programs has increased greatly. A study in 2000-01 compared to a study done in 1998-99 showed that violence is, in fact, on the rise. Verbal violence, coarse language, alone increased by a staggering 78% (Lavers). How did violence become so prevalent on television? Sadly, violence is what the people wanted to see; it sells. Society has slowly put its guard down allowing violence to creep in. Now we are faced with this detrimental situation which we have created.
Young children, starting at about age three, begin to really watch a television program designed for their age. They will begin to imitate what they have seen on the television. Children ages six through about ten often do not fully understand the difference between reality, and what they see on T.V. (Ledingham). With that in mind, consider the violent content in television programs. A recent content analysis, The National Television Violence Survey, had several interesting findings in regard to violence in television programs:
1. 61% of television programs contain some violence, and only 4 percent of television programs with violent content featured an “antiviolence” theme.
2. 44% of the violent interactions on television involve perpetrators who have some attractive qualities worthy of emulation.
3. 43% of violent scenes involve humor either directed at the violence or used by the characters involved with violence.
4. Nearly 75% of violent scenes on television feature no immediate punishment for, or condemnation of violence.
5. 40% of programs feature “bad” characters who are never or rarely punished for their aggressive actions. (Office)
Many television shows do not portray the harmful consequences of violence, and if they do, it is in a unrealistic way. Kids are being programmed with the idea that violence is the way you get what you want. The disadvantages to violence on television far outweigh the advantages-- which are none. Research suggests that television is poisoning our children, and we are allowing this to happen.
Some argue that television violence, plays little or no part in the rise in children’s aggression and the increase in children committing crimes? Although most of the studies done on media violence and its effects on children show that there is a direct connection between them. Critics argue that there is little or no solid connection between the two. They also feel that many of the methods used in the studies have some serious flaws in them.
Dr. Jonathan Freedman, a Harvard and Yale educated social psychologist,...