Violence On Television Essay, Research Paper
Violence on Television
What has the world come to these days? It often seems like everywhere one looks, violence rears its ugly head. We see it in the streets, back alleys, school, and even at home. The last of these is a major source of violence. In many peoples living rooms there sits an outlet for violence that often goes unnoticed. It is the television. Children who view television are often pulled into its realistic world of violent scenes, are psychologically affected, and can grow to be violent. The only solution to these dilemmas is to attempt to prevent television violence.
America has the largest crime rate in the world. Along with that crime rate is also the substantially high violence rate. When you flip on the television and tune into the news, the highlight of every show is somehow directly related or connected to violence. We see it every evening and perhaps say Oh my gosh, how terrible, and then forget all about it two minutes later. Perhaps we don t even make any comments at all, just a simple grunt or huh. This numbness to violence is very scary and very real. Why is it that America has the most violence in the world? I believe numbness to violence has made America so violent. When I think back to my childhood and remember television, I recall watching such programs as Mr. Rogers, Scooby-Doo, and Sesame Street. I have nothing but pleasant memories filled with happiness, peace, understanding, and learning. Conversely, when one watches children s programs today what is often seen is senseless violence often as the first means of solving a problem.
Much research has gone into showing why children are so mesmerized by this big glowing box and the action that takes place within it. Research shows that television is a major source of violent behavior in children. Research proves that aggression and television viewing go hand in hand. The studies have been carried out and all the results point to one conclusion: Television violence causes children to be violent and the effects can be life long. The information can t be ignored and the facts are undeniable. The viewing of violence on television does affect children. The effects have been seen in a number of cases. In one documented case, a seven-year-old Californian boy watched a movie one night. In the movie, a man put glass into soup that a colleague of his was to eat. The very next night, the boy put crushed glass into the stew that his family was to eat for supper. He said he wanted to know if it would do the same thing in real life that it did 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. These are certainly disturbing examples of how television can affect children. It must be pointed out that all of these situations were directly caused by children viewing violent television.
Television violence can destroy a young child s mind. The effects of this violence can be long lasting. For some, television, at its worst, is an assault on a child s mind, a corrupting influence that upsets moral balance and makes a child prone to aggressive behavior as it distorts his or her perception of the real world. Others 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. Why do children like the violence that they see on television? Since media violence is much more vicious than what children normally experience, real-life aggression appears bland by comparison. The violence on television is more exciting and enthralling than the violence that is normally viewed on the streets. Instead of just seeing a police officer handing a ticket to a speeding violator, he can beat the offender bloody on television. Children cannot always distinguish between what is real and what is fantasy. They come to expect it, and when they don t see it the world becomes bland and in need of violence. The children then can create the violence that their mind craves.
The television violence can cause actual violence in a myriad of ways. As explained above, after viewing television violence the world becomes bland in comparison. The child feels compelled to create violence in order to keep himself satisfied. In addition, the children find the violent characters on television fun to imitate. This has been seen recently with the advent of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Young children cannot seem to get enough of these fictional characters and often portray them. A Surgeon General s report found some preliminary indications of a casual relationship between television viewing and aggressive behavior in children. Much research into the topic of children and television violence has been conducted. All of these results seem to point in the same direction. There are undeniable correlations between violent television and aggression. In 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. 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. Furthermore, it was found that children who watched a lot of 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 most important aspect of violence in television is preventing it. There are many solutions to which television violence can be prevented, but they are often overlooked because of commercial purposes. One solution is to create conflict without killing. Michael Landon, who directed Little House on the Prairie managed to do so in his programs. His goal was to put moral lessons in his show in an attempt to teach while entertaining. On the program Hill Street Blues the conflicts are usually personal and political matters among the characters. Although some violence does occur, the theme is not the action, but rather its consequences. Perhaps the most important way to prevent children from watching television violence is to stop it where it starts. The parents should step in and turn the set off when a violent program comes on. The parents are the child s role models from which he learns. If the child can learn at an early age that violence on television is bad, then he can turn the set off for himself when he is older. Education should start at home.
Fixing the problems of children and television violence isn t easy. There are many factors that have to be considered and people to be convinced. This problem will, no doubt, never go away and continue to get worse as the years go by. However, there are measures that can be taken to prevent the children from ever being exposed to such things. Evidently, 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 entire future is at stake. Many ponder as to what the world will be like when the children of today are the decision makers of tomorrow if children are solely exposed to violence, not only is the future of the child at stake, but the future of society as well.