The outlet for children violence is in your living room
What does the world look like these days? It often seems like everywhere one looks, violence is there. We see it on 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, and the children who view it are often hypnotized by action that takes place in it.
Violence is the use of one’s powers to inflict mental or physical injury upon another (Webster, 659). Research shows that television is definitely a major source of violent behavior. Media has been considered by Ciony C. Gonzales as “…the most dominant art form….” (1984, 9) as it has an innate power to engage and affect people worldwide. Media forms values everywhere, not knowing that it is doing so. In addition, these values may sometimes contradict or go against the lessons that have been taught in the classroom or by parents (James, 1999, 40).
The research proves time and time again that aggression and television viewing do go hand in hand. The truth about television violence and children has been shown. Some are trying to fight this problem. Others are ignoring it and hoping it will go away. Still others don’t even seem to care. However, the facts are undeniable.
There is endless controversy today concerning society being highly affected by media programs displaying violence. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) reports that violence in the media has increased since 1980 and continues to increase. Thousands of studies have pointed to a relationship between media violence and real life crime. Years of research show that exposure to media violence causes children to behave more aggressively. This “aggressiveness” leads to actual violence in a number of ways.
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.”(Langone,98). Children like the violence in television because it is able to be more exciting and enthralling than the violence that is normally viewed on the streets.
Aggression is not the only issue involved. Statistics show that children who spend more time watching violent TV programming are rated more poorly by their teachers, rated more poorly by their peers, and have few problem solving skills.
Another research among U.S. children discovered the differences between children who watch a lot of violent television and those 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.” These children may become less bothered by violence and see nothing wrong with it. The other group learned that problems can be solved passively, through discussion and authority (Cheyney 46).
As you can see, television violence can disrupt a child’s learning and thinking ability which will cause life long problems.
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 maturity process of the child. As the child matures into an adult, he can become confused, have asuperficial approach to adult problems, and even an unwillingness to become an adult (Carter 14).
However, there are measures, that are often overlooked because of commercial purposes that should be be taken to prevent the children from ever being exposed to television violence. Education should start at home. We could simply solve the problem ourselves, with a push of a button, or the turn of a page. The parents are the child’s role models from which he learns. If he 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. Another solution to the problem is to put moral lessons in shows in an attempt to teach while entertaining. Although some violence does occur, the theme is not the action, but rather its consequences
As a result of the tremendous amount of research done in the past years, we can conclude that violence on television is clearly influencing our children in negative ways. Violence illustrated in the media today poses a threat to our society, our children that have always been more vulnerable to influence, and generations to come. We can continue to ignore the issues and let the media control the future of our world, yet the concequences are deadly. After all, what’s the world going to be like when the people who are now children are running the world?
Gonzales, Ciony C. “Taking Films Seriously.” Life Today, January 1984, pp. 9.
“Webster’s New World Dictionary.” New York: Simon ; Schuster Inc., 1995
Life Today, June 1999, pp. 40. Fr. James. “Media and Values.”
Cheyney, Glenn Alan. Television in American Society. New York: Franklin Watts Co., 1983
Carter, Douglass. T.V. Violence and the Child. New York: Russel Sage Foundation, 1977.
Langone, John. Violence. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1984.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children Media violence continues to increase http://www.naeyc.org