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The Effects Of Tv Violence Essay Research

The Effects Of Tv Violence Essay, Research Paper Introduction I believe that television is going to be the test of the modern world, and in this new opportunity to see beyond the range of our own vision, we shall discover either a new and unbearable disturbance of the general peace or a saving radiance in the sky.

The Effects Of Tv Violence Essay, Research Paper

Introduction

I believe that television is going to be the test of the modern world, and in this new opportunity to see beyond the range of our own vision, we shall discover either a new and unbearable disturbance of the general peace or a saving radiance in the sky. We shall stand or fall by television, of that I am sure, wrote E.B. White in Harper s magazine in 1938. I believe that White was correct. We will either take control of what is broadcast on television, or we will continue to suffer the harmful effects of violence on TV. I have chosen to write my paper on the impact that TV and film violence has on people in our society, especially focusing on children. I chose this as my topic because it is something that you always hear about as well as witness first hand. When you turn on the TV on Saturday morning to watch cartoons, statistics show that on average you will view at least twenty to twenty-five acts of violence per hour (Murray). During prime time you will view about five violent acts per hour (Murray). I define violence as any violent act. This can be as minor as one person hitting another, or as serious as murder. People are constantly saying that there is too much violence on TV and that it is negatively affecting our kids. This has been proven to be true that TV violence does have a negative impact, but the question is exactly what are the effects. The media has gone so far as to blame crimes, like the shooting at Columbine High School on television violence. I believe that there is quite a bit of violence on TV, and that it does have an effect on society in particular on children s behavior, but I do not believe that TV is to blame for all violence.

Questions and Hypotheses

What are the effects of television and film violence on children?

+ Children are less likely to cooperate and share and are more aggressive

+ Children become desensitized to violence and are therefore more likely to commit violent acts when they become older

+ Children don t understand the consequences of violence and learn to accept violence as a way to solve problems

+ Children begin to believe that the world is a dangerous and scary place

Bibliography

To research these questions, I read or viewed all or part of the following works:

+ Anonymous. Realistic Expectations. Family Web Page.

http://family2.go.com/features/family_0000_01/dony/FGP_tvgame.html.

+ Coats, E.J. &Feldman, R.S. Impact of TV on Nonverbal Behavior. Erik J. Coats

Web Page. http://vassun.vassar.edu/ ercoats/.

+ Dill, Karen E. PhD. Violent Video Games can Increase Aggression. American

Psychological Association Web Page.

http://www.apa.org/releases/videogames.html.

+ Does TV Kill? PBS TV, 10 Jan 1995.

+ Ledingham, Jane, Dr. The Effects of Media Violence on Children. National

Clearinghouse on Family Violence Web Page.

http://www.media-awareness.ca/eng/med/home/resource/famvlnc.htm.

+ Murray, John P. PhD. Children and Television Violence. Kansas State

University Web Page. http://www.ksu.edu/humec/kulaw.htm.

+ Murray, John P. PhD. Impact of Televised Violence. Kansa State University

Web Page. http://www.ksu.edu/humec/impact.htm.

+ Phillips, David P. Dr. Television Violence and the Negative Impact on

Children. Superheroes and Violence Web Page.

http://www2.edu craft/f99_web/martin/Lisa%20Audience.htm.

+ Roberts, Bill. Mirror or Map? The Impact of Television on Peace and

Development. The TV Ontario Web Page.

http://www.tvo.org/naba/news/mirror23_08_99.html.

+ To What Effect? PBS TV, 8 Feb 1996.

Review of Research

Hypothesis: Children are less likely to cooperate and share and are more aggressive

When looking at this hypothesis, I read an article on the Internet called Children and Television Violence by John P. Murray, a professor and the Director of the School of Family Studies and Human Services at Kansas State University. In this article it talked about a study that was conducted with children enrolled in a special nursery school at Pennsylvania State University. The children were broken up into three groups, and each group was assigned a specific type of television program to watch. One group was assigned to watch Batman and Superman cartoons, another was assigned to watch Mister Rogers Neighborhood, and the third group was assigned to watch shows that were neither violent nor prosocial. Each group watched 12 half hour shows of the show that they had been assigned. The researchers observed that the children that had viewed the batman cartoons were much more active, and were more apt to get into fights with each other. They also did not cooperate and share with the other children as well as the children that had watched Mister Rogers . The children that watched Mister Rogers Neighborhood not only cooperated more, but they were more aware of others needs and even offered to help the teacher on occasion. The children that viewed the neither violent nor prosocial shows were not more aggressive or helpful. I thought this study was interesting because it really showed how just one television show could make such a difference in a child s behavior and whether or not they cooperated and shared with others.

In addition to reading Children and Television Violence I also read Impact of Televised Violence by the same author. In this article they talked about an experiment conducted where they interviewed boys and girls ages 9 to 13. They gave them a scenario where they were riding their bike, and another person came up and pushed them off their bike. They asked them how they would react giving them options from trying to reduce conflict to yelling or hitting the other child. Researchers found that 45 percent of the heavy violence television viewers chose aggressive responses. While only 21 percent of light violence viewers chose the same response. The experiment again suggests that viewing television violence can lead to less cooperative and aggressive behavior.

Hypothesis: Children become desensitized to violence and are therefore more likely to commit violent acts when they become older

When looking into this hypothesis I came across the transcripts from a PBS interview, which aired on February 8, 1996 with Dale Kunkel of the University of California Santa Barbara and Winston Cox of the National Cable Television Association. The simple fact that violence is often portrayed with out consequences worries them. When violence is shown, it rarely describes or includes any depictions of long-term negative consequences, stated Dale Kunkel. Another concern is that oftentimes the victims of the violence do not depict pain or harm and do not demonstrate that violence hurts. In 47 percent of all violent acts shown the victims do not become harmed in any way, and in 73 percent of violent scenes the perpetrators suffer no consequences (Kunkel). When all of these things are blended together it gives children a completely false conception of violence and what it is. It becomes a part of their everyday routine and they don t even realize what they are viewing. Ultimately children are becoming desensitized to violence.

Another study that I read about in John Murray s Children and Television Violence showed that early violent TV viewing habits had a lasting behavioral effect. In the study, where children were followed from age eight into adulthood showed that violent television not only desensitizes people to violence, but it also has lasting effects on violent activity into adulthood. In 1963 Leonard Eron began a study on the aggression of eight year olds and their TV viewing habits. He established which children were more aggressive and which were more passive, and then checked up on them ten years later when they were 18. He found that there was still a relationship between early TV viewing habits and aggression. Most interestingly though was when Eron followed up on them as adults at the age of 30. He found that there was a relationship between early viewing and arrest and conviction for crimes such as spouse abuse, child abuse, murder and aggravated assault. Both of these sources of information suggest that television violence contributes to desensitization to violence and long-term effects that make them more prone to commit crimes when they become older.

Hypothesis: Children don t understand the consequences of violence and learn to accept violence as a way to solve problems

This hypothesis overlaps in some ways with some of my previous hypotheses. In the study that I spoke of earlier from Impact of Televised Violence where boys and girls were interviewed about what they would do if they were pushed off their bike relates to this hypothesis. Most of the children that watched violent television answered that they would respond with violence. This shows that children who watch violent TV accept violence as a way to deal with their conflicts and problems.

Another document that I found on the Internet titled The Effects of Media Violence on Children by Dr. Jane Ledingham stated that children between the ages of six and ten are not able to distinguish between what is real and what is fake. Children in this age group believe that most of what they see on TV is true to life. This poses a problem because they see people on TV that can use violence and suffer no consequences; therefore they think that it is acceptable for them to use violence too. Overall children usually don t understand that there are consequences and people get hurt when violence is used because oftentimes the consequences are simply not shown on TV.

Hypothesis: Children begin to believe that the world is a dangerous and scary place

In nearly all of the documents that I read, it was mentioned that a lot of children become afraid of the world because of all the disturbing things that they see on TV. As I said before children under the age of ten don t understand what is true to life and they don t have any experience to evaluate what they are viewing. In the article children and Television Violence by John Murray, he talked about a study that was conducted by George Gerber. In the study researchers asked children questions about their perception of risk in the world. Examples of the questions asked were: How likely is it that you are going to be the victim of a violent crime in the next six months? How far from your home would you be willing to walk alone at night? Researchers found that they were able to predict the fearfulness of the child based on the amount of violent TV they watched. Children that viewed four hours or more each day were much more afraid of the world around them than children that viewed an hour or less.

Theory

After conducting my research, I have formed the following theory:

Violence on television does have an effect on children s changes in attitudes and behavior. In particular there are three main effects. The first is increased fearfulness and the belief that the world is as dangerous as it appears on TV. The second main effect is desensitization and the acceptance of violence as normal. The last main effect is aggressive behavior and willingness to use violence. Although through my research the effects are obvious, it is not fair to entirely blame disruptive children on television. Many other things could contribute to these three main effects. Oftentimes poor parenting skills along with other things are at fault for overly aggressive behavior. Even though TV is not entirely to blame, there is no denying that television has a huge impact on children and our society as a whole.

Implications

Assuming that my theory is true, it is now necessary to work on bringing about change. Some areas that we can change are at home, at school, and in the television industry. At home it is necessary for parents to understand the effects that television is having on their children. If parents were to view with their kids and talk to them about what the see and try to explain to them about what is true to life and what isn t television could be a constructive learning tool. The problem is that most parents will hook their kids up to the TV so that they can get things done around the house. At school it would be effective if children were taught how TV works and the process of effects. At the industry level The Children s Television Act in 1990 set restrictions on the amount of advertising in programming for children (Murray). In addition when a station applies for license renewal they need to explain how they have helped to promote children s education in their programming. Slowly changes have taken effect and will continue to into the future. Most importantly, parents need to take an active role in their children s lives and many conflicts could be avoided.

Surprises

I was shocked by some of the findings of the studies conducted about how television affected people, not just children. In an investigation about adults and the effects of the portrayal of suicides in soap operas showed that over a six-year period whenever a major soap opera character committed suicide there was a significant increase in the number of female suicides within three days after across the country (Murray). This surprised me because adults are supposed to be stable and not that impressionable. I simply cannot comprehend why something like that would push one over the edge. I was also surprised by other statistics like the amount of violent acts per hour. It amazes me that there are 20 to 25 violent acts per hour during Saturday morning cartoons (Murray). Overall I was shocked to see exactly how much something so unimportant like television is able to take over people s lives and have such a huge effect on them.

Works Cited

+ Ledingham, Jane, Dr. The Effects of Media Violence on Children. National

Clearinghouse on Family Violence Web Page.

http://www.media-awareness.ca/eng/med/home/resource/famvlnc.htm.

+ Murray, John P. PhD. Children and Television Violence. Kansas State

University Web Page. http://www.ksu.edu/humec/kulaw.htm.

+ Murray, John P. PhD. Impact of Televised Violence. Kansa State University

Web Page. http://www.ksu.edu/humec/impact.htm.

+ To What Effect? PBS TV, 8 Feb 1996.

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