A Box Of Violence Essay, Research Paper
A Box of Violence
In many peoples’ living rooms there sits an outlet for violence that often goes unnoticed. As you scan through the pages there are violent images of fighting, stabbing’s, drive by shootings and the list goes on. This violent box is the television, and the children who view it are often pulled into its realistic world of violence scenes with sometimes devastating results.
Much research has gone into showing why children and youth are so mesmerized by this big glowing box and the action that takes place within it. Research shows that it is definitely a major source of violent behavior in children. The research proves time and time again that aggression and television viewing do go hand in hand. Television violence causes children to be violent and the effects can be life-long.
How does a T.V. box become an influence nightmare for children and you?.Violent television viewing does affect children. The effects have been seen in a number of cases. In New York, a 16-year-old boy broke into a cellar. When the police caught him and asked him why he was wearing gloves he replied that he had learned to do so to not leave fingerprints and that he discovered this on television. In Alabama, a nine-year-old boy received a bad report card from his teacher. He suggested sending the teacher poisoned candy as revenge as he had seen on television the night before. In California, a seven-year-old boy sprinkled ground-up glass into the lamb stew the family was to eat for dinner. When asked why he did it he replied that he wanted to see if the results would be the same in real life as they were on television (Howe 72). These are certainly startling examples of how television can affect the child. It must be pointed out that all of these situations were directly caused by children watching violent television.
Not only does television violence affect the child’s youth, but it can also affect his or her adulthood. Some psychologists and psychiatrists feel that continued exposure to such violence might unnaturally speed up the impact of the adult world on the child. This can force the child into a kind of premature maturity. As the child matures into an adult, he can become bewildered, have a greater distrust towards others, a superficial approach to adult problems, and even an
unwillingness to become an adult (Carter 14).
Television violence can destroy a young child’s mind. The effects of this violence can be long-lasting, if not never-ending. For some, television at its worst, is an assault on a child’s mind, an insidious influence that upsets moral balance and makes a child prone to aggressive behavior as it warps his or her perception of the real world. Other see television as an unhealthy intrusion into a child’s learning process, substituting easy pictures for the discipline of reading and
concentrating and transforming the young viewer into a hypnotized non-thinker (Langone 48). As you can see, television violence can disrupt a child’s learning and thinking ability which will cause life long problems. If a child cannot do well in school, his or her whole future is at stake.
Why do children like the violence that they see on television? “Since media violence is much more vicious than that which children normally experience, real-life aggression appears bland by comparison” (Dorr 127). The violence on television is able to be more exciting than the violence that is normally viewed on the streets.
The television violence can cause actual violence in a number of ways. As explained above, after viewing television violence theworld becomes bland in comparison. The child needs to create violence to keep himself satisfied (Dorr 127). Also the children find the violent characters on television fun to imitate. “Children do imitate the behavior of models such as those portrayed in television, movies, etc. They do so because the ideas that are shown to them on television are more attractive to the viewer than those the viewer can think up himself” (Brown 98). This has been widely seen lately with the advent of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Young children cannot seem to get enough, wrestling, Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, of these fictional characters and will portray them often. When the Ninja Turtles were popular, children began to copy, and re-in- act their behavior. Recently the schools introduced a zero tolerance policy for violence. It’s no wonder why this came about?
Much research into the topic of children and television violence has been conducted. All of the results seem to point in the same direction. There are undeniable correlations between violent television and aggression. This result was obtained in a survey of London school children in 1975. Greensberg found a significant relationship between violence viewing and aggression (Dorr 160)
In Israel 74 children from farms were tested as well as 112 schoolchildren from the city of Tel Aviv. The researchers found that the city children watched far more television than their farmland counterparts. However, both groups of children were just as likely to choose a violent program to watch when watching television. The city children had a greater tendency to regard violent television programs as accurate reflections of real life than the farm children. Likewise, the city boys identified most with characters from violent programs than did those living on the
farms (Huesmann 166).
The government also did research in this area. They conducted an experiment where children were left alone in a room with a monitor playing a videotape of other children at play. Soon mayhem. Children who had just seen commercial violence accepted much higher levels of aggression than other children. The results were published in a report. “A Sergon General’s report found some “preliminary indications of a casual relationship between television viewing and aggressive behavior in
children’” (Langone 50).
In other research among U.S. children it was discovered that aggression, academic problems, unpopularity with peers and violence feed off each other. This promotes violent behavior in the children (Huesmann 166). The child watches violence which causes aggression. The combination of aggression and continued television viewing lead to poor academic standings as well as unpopularity. These can cause more aggression and a vicious cycle begins to spin.
In yet another piece if research children who watch a lot of violent television were
compared to children who don’t. The results were that the children who watched more violent television were more likely to agree that “it’s okay to hit someone if you’re mad at them for a good reason.” The other group learned that problems can be solved passively, through discussion and authority (Cheyney 46).
The effects that T. V. violence has on young children is devastating and does lead to harmful behaviour. It’s hard to believe that the box that we watch every day with our families can cause such an influential form of aggression. As long as children view these violent shows the violence will never stop. Imagine what our future generations will be like, making decisions through the influence of violence. Welcome to reality.
Langone, John. Violence. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1984.
Cheyney, Glenn Alan. Television in American Society. New York: Franklin Watts Co., 1983.
Howe, Michael J. A. Television and Children. London: New University Education, 1977
Husemann, L. Rowell. Social Channels Tune T.V.’s effects. Science News 14 Sept. 19
Door, Palmer. Children and the Faces of Television. New York: Academic Press, 1980.
Carter, Douglass. T.V. Violence and the Child. New York: Russel Sage Foundation, 1977.