Untitled Essay, Research Paper
IMPACT OF TELEVISION VIOLENCE
IN RELATION TO JUVENILE DELINQUENCYTABLE OF CONTENTSIntroductionEffects Of Television – The BeginningCorrelational ExperimentsField
ExperimentsCause And Effects On Types Of ChildrenConclusionReferences
113568When children are taught how to tie their shoes, it is because of how their parents showed
them. When children are taught how to do math problems it is because how their teachers
show them. With all of the role models how does television effect our children?
Many adults feel that because they watched television when they were young and they have
not been negatively affected then their children should not be affected as well. What we
must first realize is that television today is different than television of the past,
violence is more prevalent in todays programming unlike the true family programming of the
past.EFFECTS OF TELEVISION – THE BEGINNINGQuestions about the effects of television violence have been around since the beginning of
television. The first mention of a concern about television’s effects upon our
children can be found in many Congressional hearings as early as the 1950s. For example,
the United States Senate Committee on Juvenile Delinquency held a series of hearings
during 1954-55 on the impact of television programs on juvenile crime. These hearings were
only the beginning of continuing congressional investigations by this committee and others
from the 1950s to the present.
In addition to the congressional hearings begun in the 1950s, there are many reports that
have been written which include: National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of
Violence (Baker & Ball, 1969); Surgeon General’s Scientific Advisory Committee on
Television and Social Behavior (1972); the report on children and television drama by the
Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry (1982); National Institute of Mental Health,
Television and Behavior Report (NIMH, 1982; Pearl, Bouthilet, & Lazar, 1982); National
Research Council (1993), violence report; and reports from the American Psychological
Association’s "Task Force on Television and Society" (Huston, et al., 1992)
and "Commission on Violence and Youth" (American Psychological Association,
1992; Donnerstein, Slaby, & Eron, 1992). All of these reports agree with each other
about the harmful effects of television violence in relation to the behavior of children,
youth, and adults who view violent programming.
The only thing that we know about the effects of exposure to violence and the relationship
towards juvenile delinquency we gather from correlational, experimental and field studies
that demonstrate the effects of this viewing on the attitudes and behavior of children and
Children begin watching television at a very early age, sometimes as early as six months,
and are intense viewers by the time that they are two or three years old. In most cases
the amount of televised viewing becomes greater with age and then tapers off during
adolescence. ). The violence that is viewed is more important than the amount of
television that is viewed. According to audience rating surveys, the typical American
household has the television set on for more than seven hours each day and children age 2
to 11 spend an average of 28 hours per week viewing. (Andreasen, 1990; Condry, 1989;
Liebert & Sprafkin, 1988)
The most important documentation of the amount of violence viewed by children on
television are the studies conducted by Gerbner and his colleagues on the nature of
American television programs. The results of these yearly analyses of the amount of
violence on American television for the 22-year period 1967-89 indicate a steady but
growing high level of violence. (Gerbner & Signorielli, 1990) Programs especially
designed for children, such as cartoons are the most violent of all programming. How many
times have we all seen the Coyote try to kill the RoadRunner? GI Joe and many other
programs also represent violence and the use of deadly weapons.
Overall, the levels of violence in prime-time programming have averaged about five acts
per hour and children’s Saturday morning programs have averaged about 20 to 25
violent acts per hour. (Lichter & Amundson, 1992) However a recent survey by the
Center for Media and Public Affairs identified 1,846 violent scenes broadcast and
cablecast between 6 a.m. to midnight during one day in Washington, D.C. The most violent
periods were between 6 to 9 a.m. with 497 violent scenes (165.7 per hour) and between 2 to
5 p.m. with 609 violent scenes (203 per hour). (Lichter & Amundson, 1992) Most of this
violence is shown during hours that are not generally viewed by the adults therefore
violence in the early morning and afternoon is viewed by children and youth.CORRELATIONAL EXPERIMENTSWhat are the effects of this televised violence on our children? What we know about the
influence of TV violence comes from the research of correlational, experimental and field
studies that have been conducted over the past 40 years. The amount of evidence from
correlational studies is very consistent in showing the effects of violence in relation to
children: In most cases viewing and having a preference for watching violent television is
related to aggressive attitudes, values and behaviors.
During 1972 Robinson and Bachman (1972) found a relationship between the number of hours
of television viewed and adolescent reports of involvement in aggressive or antisocial
behavior. During that same year Atkin, Greenberg, Korzenny, and McDermott (1979:5-13) used
a different measure to determine aggressive behavior. They gave nine to thirteen-year-old
boys and girls situations such as the following. Suppose that you are riding your bicycle
down the street and some other child comes up and pushes you off your bicycle. What would
you do? The response options included physical or verbal aggression along with options to
reduce or avoid conflict. This group found that physical or verbal aggressive responses
were selected by 45 per cent of heavy-television-violence viewers compared to only 21
percent of the light-violence viewers.
During 1983 Phillips (1983:560-568) recorded the effects of the portrayal of suicides in
television soap operas on the suicide rate in the United States using death records he
gathered from the National Center for Health Statistics. He found, over a six-year period,
that whenever a major soap opera personality committed suicide on television, within three
days there was a significant increase in the number of female suicides across the nation.
The major experimental studies of the cause and effect relation between television
violence and aggressive behavior were completed by Bandura and his colleagues (Bandura,
Ross & Ross,1961:575-582, 1963:3-1) working with young children, and by Berkowitz and
his associates (Berkowitz, 1962; Berkowitz & Rawlings, 1963:405-412; Berkowitz, Corwin
& Heironimus, 1963:217-229) who studied adolescents. A young child was given a film,
then projected on a television screen, the film showed a person who kicked and beat an
inflated plastic doll. The child was then placed in a playroom setting and then they
recorded the amount of times that aggressive behavior was seen. The results of these early
studies indicated that children who had viewed the aggressive film were more aggressive in
the playroom than those children who had not observed the aggressive person.
The answer seems to be yes. Several studies have demonstrated that one exposure to a
violent cartoon leads to increased aggression. During 1971, Hapkiewitz and Roden
(1971:1583-1585) found that boys who had seen violent cartoons were less likely to share
their toys than those who had not seen the violent cartoon. It seems clear from
experimental studies that one can show increased aggressive behavior as a result of either
long term or brief exposure to televised violence, but questions still arise about whether
this increased aggressiveness seen in these experimental settings show in the
children’s daily lifes.FIELD EXPERIEMENTSIn normal field-experiments, the investigator shows television programs in the normal
viewing setting and observes behavior where it naturally occurs. The investigator controls
the television programming either by arranging a special series of programs or by choosing
towns that in the natural course of events receive different television programs.
One of the early field-experiments in 1972 conducted by Stein and Friedrich (1972:202-317)
for the Surgeon General’s project dealt with 97 preschool children with a programming
of either antisocial, prosocial, or neutral television programs during a four-week viewing
period. The results indicated that children who were judged to be somewhat in the
beginning aggressive became increasingly more aggressive as a result of viewing the Batman
and Superman cartoons. The children who had viewed the prosocial programming of Mister
Roger’s Neighborhood were less aggressive, more cooperative and more willing to share
with other children. (Stein, Friedrich, 1972:202-317)CAUSE AND EFFECTS ON TYPES OF CHILDRENWe get a clearer picture about the effects of TV violence when we know more about the way
children watch televised violence. For example, Ekman and his associates (Ekman et al.,
1972) found that children whose facial expressions, while viewing televised violence,
depicted the positive emotions of happiness, pleasure, interest or involvement were more
likely to hurt another child than were those children whose facial expressions indicated
disinterest or displeasure.
Although there is much discussion about the amount of research evidence concerning the
impact of television violence, most researchers would agree with the conclusion in the
report during 1982 by the National Institute of Mental Health, which suggests that there
is a conclusion among members of the research community that "violence on television
does lead to aggressive behavior by children and teenagers who watch the
programs".(NIMH, 1982) This conclusion is based on laboratory experiments and on
field studies. Not all children become aggressive, of course, but the correlations between
violence and aggression are positive.
Television violence is strongly correlated with aggressive behavior as any other
behavioral variable that has been measured. The research question has moved from asking
whether or not there is an effect, to seeking explanations for the effect.
While the effects of television violence are not simply straightforward, analyses and
reviews of research suggest that there are clear reasons for concern and caution in
relation to the impact of televised violence. To be sure, there are many factors that
influence the relationship between viewing violence and aggressive behavior and there has
been much debate about these influences. It is clear that there is a considerable amount
of violence on television and that this violence on TV may cause changes in attitudes,
values, or behavior on children and older viewers.
Although there are many different views on the impact of TV violence, one very strong
summary is provided by Eron during his 1992 Congressional testimony: "There can no
longer be any doubt that heavy exposure to televised violence is one of the causes of
aggressive behavior, crime and violence in society. The evidence comes from both the
laboratory and real-life studies." (Eron, 1992) Television violence affects children
of all ages, of both genders, at all socio-economic levels and all levels of intelligence.
The effect is not only limited to children who are already aggressive and is not
restricted to this country. The facts remain that we get the same findings of a
relationship between television violence and aggression in children study after study, in
every country, and every economic level. The effect of television violence on aggression,
even though it is not very large, exists. This effect has been demonstrated outside the
laboratory in real-life among many different children. Children have come to justify their
own behavior through the scenes of violence and negativity involved in television
The recent report by the American Psychological Association Task Force on Television and
Society (Huston, et al., 1992) adds: "…the behavior patterns established in
childhood and adolescence are the foundation for lifelong patterns manifested in
adulthood" (Huston,et,al., 1992:57).CONCLUSIONThe most recent summary released in August, 1993 of the American Psychological Association
Commission on Violence and Youth: Violence and Youth, Psychology’s Response, confirms
the findings noted above and reaffirms the need to consider ways to reduce the level of
violence in all media. (APA, 1993:77-78).
In conclusion we should remember that although the media certainly has
a lot to answer for, it is important to remember that not everything that comes through
the TV is bad. Rather, it is overuse and generally a careless attitude by adults that so
often leads to regrettable results.REFERENCESAmerican Psychological Association.
(1993) "Violence & Youth:
Psychology’s Response. Volume I: Summary Report
of the American Psychological Association Commission on Violence and
Youth." Washington. D.C.: American Psychological AssociationAmerican Psychological Association.
(1985) "Violence on television."
Washington, DC: APA Board of Social and
Ethical Responsibility for Psychology.Andreasen
(1990). "Evolution in the family’s use
of television: Normative data from industry
and academe." In J. Bryant (Ed.), Television and the American family
(pp. 3-55). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Atkin, C.K.
(1983). "Effects of realistic TV violence
vs. fictional violence on aggression."
Journalism Quarterly, 60, 615-621.
Bandura, A., Ross, D., & Ross, S.H.
(1963). "Imitation of film-mediated
aggressive models." Journal of Abnormal and
Social Psychology, 66 (1), 3-11.Bandura, A., Ross, D., & Ross, S.H.
(1961) "Transmission of aggression through
imitation of aggressive models."
Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63 (3), 575-582.Berkowitz, L.
(1962) "Aggression: A social psychological
analysis." New York: McGraw-Hill.Berkowitz, L., Corwin, R. & Heironimus, M.
(1963) "Film violence and subsequent
aggressive tendencies." Public Opinion
Quarterly, 27, 217-229.Berkowitz, L., & Rawlings, E.
(1963) "Effects of film violence on
inhibitions against subsequent aggression."
Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 66 (5), 405-412.Ekman, P., Liebert, R.M., Friesen, W., Harrison, R., Zlatchin, C., Malmstrom, E.V., &
(1972) "Facial expressions of emotion as
predictors of subsequent aggression."
In G.A. Comstock, E.A. Rubinstein, & J.P. Murray (eds.) "Television and Social
Behavior, vol. 5, Television’s Effects: Further Explorations." Washington, DC:
United States Government Printing Office.Eron, L.
(1992) "The impact of televised
violence." Testimony on behalf of the American
Psychological Association before the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, June 18,
1992.Gerbner, G. & Signorielli, N.
(1990) "Violence profile, 1967 through
1988-89: Enduring patterns."
Manuscript, University of Pennsylvania, Annenberg School of Communications.Hapkiewitz, W.G. & Roden, A.H.
(1971) "The effect of aggressive cartoons
on children’s interpersonal play." Child
Development, 42, 1583-1585.Huston, A.C., Donnerstein, E., Fairchild, H., Feshbach, N.D., Katz, P.A., Murray, J.P.,
Rubinstein, E.A., Wilcox, B., & Zuckerman, D.
(1992) "Big world, small screen: The role
of television in American society."
Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.Russell Sage Foundation. Lichter, R.S. & Amundson, D.
(1992) "A day of television violence."
Washington, DC: Center for Media and
Public Affairs.National Institute of Mental Health
(1982) "Television and behavior: Ten years
of scientific progress and
implications for the eighties" (vol. 1), Summary report. Washington, DC: United
States Government Printing Office.Phillips, D.P.
(1983) "The impact of mass media violence
on U.S. homicides."
American Sociological Review, 48, 560-568.Robinson, J.P. & Bachman, J.G.
(1972) "Television viewing habits and
aggression." In G.A. Comstock & E.A.
Rubinstein (eds) "Television and Social Behavior", vol. 3, "Television and
Adolescent Aggressiveness." Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.Stein, A.H. & Friedrich, L.K.
(1972) "Television content and young
children’s behavior." In J.P. Murray, E.A.
Rubinstein & G.A. Comstock (Eds.) "Television and social behavior" (vol. 2),
"Television and social learning" (pp. 202-317). Washington, DC: United States
Government Printing Office.