, Research Paper
Televised Violence is Here to Stay
One of the most heated issues debated, ever since the invention of the television, is the effects of media violence on society. Many try to wipe it out, but will undoubtedly fail. It has great educational and entertainment value. There have even been studies showing that viewing television violence will actually relieve stress. For these reasons, televised violence, including fights, with or without weapons, resulting in bloodshed, will never diminish.
Many parents try to shelter their kids from the violence portrayed on television. They only look at the negative aspect because the parents complain by saying the violence only teaches their children how to kill and to get away with it (Leonard 92).
Television is the most credible and believable source of information on the reality of the world. It teaches that the world is a violent and untrustworthy place (Bennett 168). It reports on how the world really works. Televised violence cultivates dominant assumptions about how conflict and power work in the world.
Violence is an important fact of life (Howitt 17). It is very much part of the human condition. The media cannot pretend that violence does not exist.
Televised violence orients people to their environment. It helps them understand their world. It serves as a mirror in which people examine themselves, their institutions, and their values (Comstock 357).
The exposure of children to televised violence is functional to the extent that it prepares them to cope with reality. Conflict is important for children to grow up with. It is part of their life. Kids should not be lead to think that nothing is going to happen to them (Comstock 354). Exposure to violence in childhood is not a bad idea. Ghetto children see violence unknown to other children. They have to live with it, and because it is so hateful, they do not get influenced by it. People who grew up in a tough ghetto situation regard others who did not as patsies, naive, and easy to use.
Children learn a good deal of their society’s culture by viewing the violent television shows. People acquire definitions of appropriate behavior and interpretations of reality from the mass media. Lower income persons often think they are learning the style and etiquette of middle-class society from television programs (Ball 305).
The viewing of televised violence helps children academically, as well as socially. One study shows that children entering school, raised on the violent television shows, picked up a one-year advantage in vocabulary over children whose parents prohibit the viewing of violence (Clark 136). Here, the positive effects clearly outweigh the negative.
There have been many attempts to ban violence from television. The majority of the viewers prevent the idea through the ratings. There is a discrepancy between public attitudes and private behavior; while people may publicly condemn television violence, they may actually enjoy it in private (Howitt 6).
The majority of people get whatever they want in the mass media. There is substantial public demand for violence. The key question is: Why? To a large extent, the answer to this question lies in the social and cultural structure of society. Violence constitutes a significant and recurring theme in the value structure (Leonard 91).
There can be little doubt that topics of violence are of intense interest to the public and attract large audiences. Television gives people what they want to see. In entertainment, it is a more acceptable truism to assert that the supply creates the demand. Leisure time cries for fulfillment (Lineberry 24).
Violence is the dominant theme of all mass media. The audience ratings do correlate positively with the percentages of violent programs. Violent types of programs gain great popularity; networks regard violence as good bait. It is a tool for attracting audiences (Howitt 124).
Mass media organizations spend countless hours producing and presenting entertainment, and the American public spend a comparable amount of time in consumption of such productions. The media identifies entertainment drama with conflict. Conflict translates into action, and action is equal with violence (Lineberry 21). The networks make violence their prime test for inclusion in their content.
The significance of violence is that it helps define, move, and resolve dramatic situations (Comstock 29). Violence allows conflict to be quickly establish or resolve; it is visual and understandable; it is attractive to large segments of the audience. There is indeed violence in the real world, and to ignore it in drama is in effect to lie.
There will never be a cure for the addiction to violence. Media viewers hunger for the violent action on the television. The people speak through ratings, showing that violent programs are exceedingly popular (Lineberry 23).
Some parents believe that violence, whether portrayed as fantasy or reality, will arouse aggression or increase aggressive behavior. They think it will harden their kids to human pain and suffering. These parents also believe that the televised violence will lead them to accept violence as a solution to personal and social problems, creating an increase in social delinquency (Zuckerman 64).
However, such exposure has precisely the opposite effect. Viewing violence on television will allow the media user to discharge in fantasy what he might otherwise act out (Ball 239). It provides a safe and harmless outlet for human frustrations and aggressive-hostile impulses in much the same manner as hitting a punching bag.
The viewing of aggressive scenes brings about a reduction in the aggressive drives of the viewer. Children get rid of hostility feelings in an innocuous way by watching violent television programs. These programs provide a necessary social function by presenting young people with a harmless outlet for latent hostility and by enabling them to relieve their pent-up aggression (Larsen 143).
It is wrong to blame television for outbreaks of violence and the alleged increase in crime and delinquency rates. Many factors other than exposure to the media, such as relationships and experiences with parents, brothers, sisters, teachers, and companions, cause real life violence. Interaction in primary groups (such as the family) develops the human personality. As a child matures, he undergoes a process of social preparation for adult roles. Much of this preparation ordinarily takes place in the family, while some of it occurs in play groups and formal education. It occurs all the time the child is awake and active, even when he and the persons with whom he interacts are not consciously concerned with shaping his character. He becomes a residue of what he has done and experienced, which in turn depends on his genetic endowment and the social heritage into which he was born. If there is any “social damage,” it is the faults of the home, the school, the neighborhood, or other social settings (Larsen 141).
Exposure to violent stimuli has no effect on already established attitudinal commitments regarding violent mortality. Empirical research has found no evidence that exposures to explicit violent materials play a significant role in the causation of delinquency or criminal behavior among youth and adults (Clark 131). Television violence does not cause one to act out aggressive actions.
Although many critics object to the viewing of televised violence, there are too many reasons explaining why it will never disappear. Parents who prohibit their children from viewing violent topics will shelter them too much from the reality of the world. Violence on the television is essential. People need to know what is happening in the world (Tuchscherer 95). Those who would prefer to avoid exposure to the media’s portrayal of violence have the option to turn off the television set. Doing this, however, will only result in their loss.