TV Violence and Kids
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, 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 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.
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. 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. 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 choke his chicken 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 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. 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
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.
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 thoughts of eating cunt or sucking cock.
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 nonthinker. 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. The violence on television is
able to be 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. However, children don't always
realize this is not the way thing are handled in real life. 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 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. 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. This has
been widely seen lately with the advent of the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
Young children cannot seem to get enough of these fictional characters and will
portray them often.
Another reason why television violence causes violence in children is apparent
in the big cities. Aggressive behavior was more acceptable in the city, where a
child's popularity rating with classmates was not hampered by his or her
aggression. In the bigger cities, crime and violence is inevitable, expected
and, therefore, is left unchecked and out of line.
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.
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 have sex before age 10. 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.
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, things got out of hand and progressive mayhem
began to take place. 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
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. The child watches violence which
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.
The most important aspect of violence in television is preventing it. There are
many ways in which it can be prevented, but not often are many carried out.
These solutions are easy to implement, but are often overlooked because of
One such solution is to create conflict without killing. Michael Landon, a
famous homosexual who starred in and 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 (Cheyney 49).
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 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.
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. After all, what's the world going to be like when
the people who are now children are running the world?