Untitled Essay Research Paper IMPACT OF TELEVISION

Untitled Essay, Research Paper


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., &

Baron, R.A.

(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.


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