Littleton, Colorado; Springfield, Oregon; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Pearl, Mississippi. These previously unknown suburban cities will forever be branded into our minds. These cities are linked by one devastating factor: young students firing upon fellow students and educators. What causes these young people to "snap" causing the violent shooting sprees? Although the events are too recent to fully understand their causes, we can try to understand what led to the disastrous situations.
The impact of television violence on youth behavior has been an issue for many years. Television stations and their executives tend to deny television's contribution to youth violence. In the following paragraphs, I will use various examples to demonstrate the impact television has had on youth violence. This will be accomplished by: discussing the problems associated with television viewing, identifying violence on television, portraying the effects of television violence on younger people, and revealing ways to reduce violence on television. This paper explores these topics by using multiple statistics, by incorporating the views of several public officials and authors, and through my own views as well.
In 1939, at the World's Fair, television first came into our lives. In 1938, author E. B. White told Harpers Magazine: "I believe that television is going to be the test of the modern world, and in this new opportunity to see beyond the range of our own vision, we shall discover either a new and unbearable disturbance of the general peace or a saving radiance in the sky. We shall stand or fall by television, of that I am sure." ( Murray, 1) E. B. White foresaw the problems associated with television when TV first arrived, but I do not believe he figured television would have such an impact on American society. Television has become standard in many homes. In 1949, only two percent of homes had a television. Today, the opposite is true; only two percent of homes do not have a television. (Murray, 1) Television is used to inform, entertain, and educate the public. Children make up a large part of television viewers. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) states that "American Children watch an average of three to four hours of television daily." (American, 1) Unfortunately many children are left home alone after school, thus their television viewing is not restricted. Opinions concerning parental and governmental restriction will be covered later in this paper.
Violence on television has notably increased in the last 25 years. William Goodwin stated "A five year study by the American Psychological Association found that the average child witnesses 8,000 murders and 100,000 other acts of violence on television by the seventh grade." (45) John Murray acknowledges this statement and adds that 5 violent acts per hour occur during prime time and 20-25 violent acts occur during Saturday morning children's programming....