Censorship In Television Violence Essay, Research Paper
“Violence in the media for entertainment purposes has been established as a major contributing factor. Daily, our children see on the screen that violence is fun and exciting and the hero’s method of choice for solving their problems. This statement is greatly emphasized by the anti-violence organization TRUCE (Teachers for Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment). Although most people would read this statement as bad news, any logical person can clearly see the good in it after all. Censorship has always been a very controversial subject and has become an even greater topic when it concerns the media. Although some people see censorship in television as a good thing, they forget that television sets many good examples for children to follow, portrays violent situations that may prepare a child for real life danger, and most importantly reveals what the world is really like.
In a child s life, examples of how to behave are explicitly set by the parents. Unfortunately, the world is not a place where all parents set good examples. By watching many prime time sitcoms such as Seventh Heaven, a child can learn good examples of behavior, such as table manners, by observing the parents and the children in a wholesome, loving, family. Television sitcoms such as this, aid real life parents in raising their children to follow good behavior rules, but even these shows deal with many violent situations. For example, in an episode of Seventh Heaven, a 10-year old boy aimed a loaded gun at a priest with intentions of murder. Some parents may object to having their kids watch this episode fearing that it may contribute to the occurrence of a similar situation. However, these types of episodes are simply teaching children that guns, murder, and violence are not good solutions. To censor these violent episodes would deprive the child of good lessons to life.
Scenes portrayed on television have become the standard for lessons learned by children, whether it s how to behave at the dinner table, or what to do in a potentially violent situation. Television violence has not diminished greatly; nor have Saturday morning programs for children, marked by excessively violent cartoons, changed much for the better (Palmer 125). Does this mean that the media has promoted children to become more violent, therefore, creating a more violent society? A more logical reason would be the exact opposite: the increase in societal violence has caused the increase in television violence. In which case, censorship of television would more likely harm our children rather than help them. Most parents like the idea of teaching their child to talk their way out of a violent situation, however, in today s society this being the best solution is, in fact, very rare. Television that portrays violence will only prepare a child and most likely teach them how to defend themselves in dangerous situations that occur in the real world. However, a recent report from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) argues that violence on television does lead to aggressive behavior (Methvin 49). This statistic may be very true, but on the contrary, good parents will combine their own lessons with scenes on television to raise a good, moral, and most importantly, prepared child.
If a child was never allowed to leave the house, then maybe censorship wouldn t be such a bad idea. The child may live a happier life if he or she believed that the world was a perfect place. However, a child who never sees the outside world is highly unlikely. Putting a child, after being blindfolded for many years, into the real world is like throwing a baby into a swimming pool and telling it to swim. A child should be prepared when he or she finally encounters the real world for the first time. The best way to prepare a child is to let him or her see the realities of society through exposure to television. Of course, a human- sized, green ninja turtle isn t a reality of the world, however, discrimination against different people is. The violence and the use of guns in G.I Joe may not set the best example for a child, but it does show that war and casualties are also harsh realities of the world. There were murderers going around killing lots of people and stealing jewelry. I am afraid when there is a murder near because you never know if he could be in town (Cullingford 61). This statement came from the mouth of an 8-year old girl after watching the nightly news on television. Reports of violent scenes on the news is, in fact, a good way to teach children about the facts of life and how to avoid potentially dangerous situations. In this case, to drive fear into the 8-year old girl only prevents her from interacting with complete strangers and risking abduction. Once again, censorship would more likely put a child in harms way rather than contribute to good lessons and preparation.
Censorship has become a very controversial issue and many years may pass before the general opinion has reached an agreement as to whether or not television should be more or less censored. It is safe to say that there are many reasons to back censorship, but possibly more in favor of its removal. To censor situations that portray real life only deprives our children of good lessons, preparation, and reality. To censor television puts a censorship on life itself.
Cullingford, Cedric. Children and Television. New York: St.Martin’s Press, 1984.
Methvin, Eugene H. “T.V. Violence: The Shocking New Evidence.” Reader’s Digest Jan. 1983: 49-54.
Palmer, Edward L. Children and the Faces of Television. New York: Academic Press Inc., 1980.