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Vioence Essay Research Paper A major topic

Vioence Essay, Research Paper

A major topic of conversation nowadays is whether or not voilence on television causes

children to bahave more violently. Shortly after I began to research this topic, I realized that it is

not a clear cut issue. Evidence can be easily found to support each position. In the following

essay I will examine the different positions that can ba taken on this topic and try ro form my

own view on the affect violent TV has on chidren.

The first position I will examine is the one in which it is believed that, without a doubt, violent

TV increases the likelyhood that a child will behave in a violent manner. This stands is examined

in the Maclean’s article intitled,”Power to the people. Television’s teen Rangers Kick up a

storm. The author of this article, Particia Chrisholm, explains a heated debate over the affects

that the kids show “The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” has on children. According to this

article, the “hemeted lycra covered Rangers” acts as a bad influence on children. Many parents

have come to believe that the childen try to act like the kids hreo’s. A cocerned mother,

Kathryn Flannery went so far as to petition the CRTC. The CRTC responded by saying that

“the show is avassively to violent.”(Chrisholm 1994 p.52) As a result of the petiton, many

stations voluntarily refused to air the controversial kids show. This case shows the power that

people can have over the CRTC. Unfortunately, the parents were not able to entirely shield

their children from the Power Rangers TV show. Many US broadcasters, available on cable,

continued to air the show.

Another study that supports this belief that TV violence causes children to act more violently

is an experiment conducted by Leonard Eron and his collegues. In these studies, Leonard Eron

and his collegues studied childern for a number of years and measuread peer ratings obtained

from each child’s classmates. By doing this, they could see if violent TV changed the attitudes of

the children. In the end, it was concluded that violent TV significantly affected the way in which

the children behaved.

The other position that can be taken when discussing this issue is one in which people believe

that violent TV does not affect the behavior of children. In the Canadian Forum article, “TV and

The Child Savers. Bad Habits and The Boob Tube” this position is discussed. The author,

Thelma McCormack discusses the goals of the action group that refers to themselves as the

Child Savers. According to this article, the Child Savers believe that “Programs which contain

gratitous violence will not be shown on television.”(McCormack 1993.P20) They basically

want to force the CRTC to wake up and take action. They are also considering making an

ammendment to the Criminal Code. The author of this article seems to be more interested with

discrediting the Child Savers action group. McCormack quotes George Gerbner as saying “in

reality, there is less violence on TV now than in the past.(McCormack 1993 p.20) Gerbner

belongs to the Unniversity of Pensylvannia’s Annemburg School Of Communications and has

been studying TV for more than a decade. Gerbner believes that there is less tolerance for any

type of violence. This article discusses rhe situation in which the American Psychologists

decided to change their initial view on TV violence negatively affecting the behavior of children.

They now believe that thier view was based on laboratory results. They also realize that the long

term affects have not yet been determined. This article has vast importance because it shows

that what is expertly reported is not necessarily true. If the American pychologists can make a

mistake anyone can. The American Pychologists have not entirely dismissed their view, they

have merely realized that they did not have enough concrete evidence to suoourt their view.

This Canadian Forum article also realizes that most studies on violence and TV isolate TV as

the only contributor to the childrend violent behavior. They forget about the other aspects of the

subjects lives. They might have allready been prone to act violently. This article states that “the

result is that our studies tell us little violence or the culture of childhood.”(McCormack 1993

p.22) The author believes that we need to understand how children react and respond to TV

before we can make judgements on it’s affects.

An experiment that supports this view that TV violence does not promote violence in children

is a group of studies conducted by Seymour Feshbach and Robert D Singer. In their book,

“Telivision and Aggression” they state that the issue “arrises from a concern over an important

contemporary social issue”(Feshbach & Singer 1987). This group of studies looked at the way

violent TV affects adolescent and preadolescent boys. Feshbach and Singer believed this

particular group had a natural tendancy to watch more violent TV programs. Although this

book was published in 1977, the trends it discusses are still apparent today. Rescent studies

have come to the same conclusion. This study involved boys from private schools and

residencies. The subjects were allowed to watch a minimum of six hours of TV a week. They

could watch as much as they wanted, but the shows were specified. Seymour and Feshbach

used personality tests and attitude tests to record the boys behavior. More emphasis is placed

on was placed on on the behavior ratings. In the end, the results favoured the view that violent

TV does not cause childen to bahave more violently. Seymour and Feshbach stated that “We

feel reasonably confident, however, that the violent program content which the boys observed is

not a significant cause of their aggression.”(Seymour & Feshbach 1977) This experiment is

somewhat resticted because it focused on a subset of the population. The experimenters would

have liked to have involved girls and other ages of boys, but they felt that these particular

subjects were a natural control group. They also chose them because they lived relatively close

to where they lived.