Should Television Violence Should Be Censored? Essay, Research Paper
In this century, television was one of the great inventions. It gives people entertainment and provide them the updated news. Since television is so important and popular, every household at least has a television set. Watching television has become an important part of American’s daily life. People, especially children, enjoy watching television. Unluckily, many of today’s television programs are violent. Since children spend an enormous amount of time watching television, this creates negative effects of television violence to them. Televised violence has dramatic effects on the growth of children and can be lead to a tremendous influence in misleading their physical behavior. As a result, the broadcast of television violence should be under controlled.Many authorities make huge deals and give long speeches about how violence on TV is so terrible. I agree, but what have these authorities done to change it? All they have done is “labeled” the violence, they haven’t done much to minimize it. Sure, I do give them credit for putting in the rating system, but has it helped? I do not think it has because once again, all it did was “label” violence, not minimize violence. I mean, honestly, almost every time I turn on the TV, I do not pay attention to that little icon in the corner of my TV set. Also, wouldn’t it seem like children would find TV shows more tempting to watch if they knew there would be “adult” or violent scenes in it? They would immediately be able to know that TV shows rated “R” would have more mature scenes in it then a show rated “PG-13″. Another issue I would like to address is children’s shows. Innocent children get hurt or beaten-up by na ve children who are only imitating their idols on TV programs. Also, I’ve seen, and I’m sure others have too, cartoons where the innocent characters smoke, or do dangerous things. I urge people who regulate TV shows to do more than place a label on shows. Why television violence should be censored? First of all, television violence can easily mislead children because young children do not has the same perceptions as adult. They can not judge whether the episode is a fantasy to them or realistic in the world. Children begin to react to television very early. “By the age of three, children will willingly watch a show ninety-five percent of the time and will imitate someone’s violent act they observe on television as readily as they will imitate a live person (Parke 173).” Children who saw the violent acts on TV will probably imitate the actors’ behaviors. For example, in the TV show COPS, the criminals committed a robbery by using weapons. Children might see things differently and thinks that the criminals are heroes. With their immature mind, they are willing to imitate the characters since they can not distinguish whether the actors are heroes or criminals. Second, independent studies have suggested that the images young people see on television influence their personal behavior in adverse ways. “The researchers found that 57% of the programs they observed contained violent interactions, and that 73% of those violent acts went unpunished. The study also found that 38% of reality programs-talk shows, documentaries, and public-affairs shows contained violence but were more likely to include an anti-violence message (Harper 22).” For children who view many violence scenes may causes them to become insensitive to the pain or unaffected to the horror of violence. Children who watch a lot of television are more adapted to the violent scenes than those who seldom watch; in other words, they are less distress by violence in general or less likely to feel anything wrong with it. For example, in several studies, “those who watched a violent program instead of a nonviolent one were slower to step in or to call for help when they saw younger children fighting or playing destructively (Liebert 129).” Furthermore, children may be more anxious and fearful of the world around them. Studies by George Gerbner, Ph.D., at the University of Pennsylvania, have shown that children’s TV shows contain about twenty violent acts each hour and also that children who watch a lot of television are more inclined to think that the world is a mean and dangerous place (Liebert 74). Also, children often behave differently after they have been watching violent shows on TV. “In one study done at Pennsylvania State University, about one hundred preschool children were observed both before and after watching television; some watched cartoons that had a lot of aggressive and violent acts in them, and others watched shows that did not have any kind of violence (Liebert 65).” Researchers noticed real differences between the kids who watched the violent shows and those who watched nonviolent ones. “Children who watch the violent shows, even just funny cartoons, were more possible to hit out at their playmates, argue, disobey class rules, leave tasks unfinished, and were less willing to wait for things than those who watched the nonviolent programs (Liebert 65).” Moreover, researchers discovered that children who prefer violent television shows when they are young would be more aggressive in adulthood, and have troubles with the law.
“Real-life studies by Leonard Eron, Ph.D. at University of Illinois found that children who watched many hours of TV violence when they were in elementary school tended to show a higher level of aggressive behavior when they became teenagers. By observing these youngsters until they were thirty years old, Dr. Eron found that the ones who watched a lot of TV when they were eight years old were more prone to be arrested and prosecuted for criminal acts as adults (Pott 9).” To minimize the problem, opponents and broadcasters believe violence should not be showed during prime time because of the effect on children and replaced with healthy shows for entertainment. “A UCLA study reports that the Big Four TV networks made modest improvement in reducing violent programs during the second year of a three year study commissioned by ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and Senator Paul Simon in 1994 (Lynette 30).” However, they said this attitude is much too negative and in fact there is a positive side to this issue, which is senseless violence and funny, such as Loony Toons and the Itchy and Scratchy show. In the Loony Toons, children laugh as Wiley E. Coyote fell straight a thousand feet off a cliff until he came to lay like a corpse on the ground. Besides, children giggled when Elmer Fudd pulled out his shotgun and blew away Daffy Duck, making his body break like a vase and fall to the ground in tiny pieces. In the Itchy and Scratchy show, children laughed every time the mouse threw a match into the cat’s mouth with T.N.T. causing the cat to blow up into dust. Certainly, cartoons have never shown anyone ever getting hurt very badly. If the actual consequences of the violent acts were not shown, then it would not be so amusing. Everyone has a sense of humor and needs a good laugh. “What a better scene to laugh at than the misfortunes of another person? That is where television becomes children’s passage to release their stress harmlessly. Where they can laugh at someone injured many times and not feel guilty about it? If that chance is taken away from children, what are they left with (Pott 3)?”Three methods can help to solve the problems of television violence and the effect on children. First, the broadcasters can have self-regulation to control television violence and delay the airtime of violent programs until the children go to bed. For example, in many countries, violent cartoons are broadcast during midnight to minimize the number of children who watch them. Highlighted by Ellen Wartella, professor of communication at University of Texas who pointed out that we have learned that children are a special audience, with special psychological needs and social interests, requiring us to tailor media production to them. There has been a virtual explosion of research studies on children’s reactions to television and we know how to make programs that both entertain and educate children (Nilsson 48). Second, school staffs should realize the effect of television violence to the children. They should encourage students to join extracurricular activities or after school activities like group studies or sports clubs to keep the children busy to minimize the exposure time of television violence to them. In addition, teachers may explain the consequences of watching too much television violence to the students, or encourage them to participate more extracurricular activities. Third, parents can prevent children from excessive television violence by watching the programs with their children. Parents must know when to say when, and tell their youngsters what is right and what is wrong, believing it is not good enough just to sit back and blame, but become motivated to act in their children’s best interests, lessening or eliminating their exposure to damaging influences. In some cases this may mean that parents will have to change their own actions, and, in others, know when to turn off the TV shows, the news, and the radios. Until parents can do this, with the societies full support, we will not see the end of this increase in crime and immorality among young people. But we must not forget that there is no single cause, but many. Before we can begin to see children return to liking themselves and society enough to respect life, we must find and analyze all of those problems. Focusing in on one or two individual possible symptoms will not help us find a cure. Television violence is an extremely serious issue ought to have solutions to encounter this controversial social issue. Broadcasters, school staffs and parents share responsibilities and play an important role of the whole life of the younger generation. Although there are many other factors that also effect the children’s behavior, TV plays an important part in their life and should be under control for the sake of the children.