The issue of television violence and its influence on children's behavior troubles me. Television violence seems to be becoming abundant and violence seems to be increasing. This may be a dangerous form of entertainment, especially when young children become involved. The majority of television programs viewed by children contain large amounts of violence and inappropriate material. Children's vulnerability poses as the main problem due to desensitization. Psychologists' studies report that children become immune to television violence and adopt the behavior as a way of problem solving. Other people argue and say that television can not be blamed for the increase of violence among our society. They believe the increase comes from a lack of discipline and the large amounts of violence children view in their environments. Others feel that a large number of parents use television as a babysitter and do not spend enough quality time with their children. Children then begin to learn negative behavioral manners and begin idolizing inappropriate characters.
? I am uncertain about this issue and its effects on the way children behave. Is television teaching children violent behavior and leading them to become violent adults? When children view substantial amounts of violence, I believe the possibility of desensitization becomes probable. Does desensitizing cause children to accept violent behavior as normal and aid them to mature to be violent adults? A study done by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry reported that television does increase aggressiveness in children's behavior.
The majority of violence viewed by children contains a substantial amount of unrealistic violence. This type of violence commonly found in cartoons causes a considerable amount of concern. For example, when a character smacks another on the head with a hammer and the other character subdues no injuries from the hit. Children fail to see the consequences and imitate what they have seen. Thirty years of studies have documented that by the time a child reaches the age of 18 they will have seen 40,000 pretend murders and 200,000 dramatized acts of violence. (Report done by ABC news) Psychiatrists believe children view the behavior as normal and use it as a way of problem solving and interacting with others. Children who exhibit behavioral, learning, or emotional disorders may be easily influenced and more likely to reveal aggressive behavior, which may create future problems. The problem can be controlled by monitoring the programs children watch, explaining that violent behavior does not pose as a way of problem solving, and limiting amounts of television. For example, during one of my babysitting job's, I recall having to remove a Pokemon video because the child threw all the figures he thought were threatening to Pikachu down the stairs, and he also hit the cat with some of the toys. I informed his parents of his behavior and the next time I babysat, he did not attempt to throw his toys. They talked to him and made him aware that his behavior was wrong and unacceptable If television does increase aggressiveness among children then why do parents use it as a babysitter? Many parents I spoke with admit to using television as a babysitter and not monitoring all programs their children watch. This becomes a problem because children learn inappropriate behavioral skills and aggressive behavior.
When parents frequently use television as a babysitter, a loss of quality time occurs between parents and children. Many parents said they noticed when their children begin watching a lot of television, they see a loss of creativity occur in playing habits. Children become fixated on the images they have viewed and stop creating their own play themes because they re-enact those seen on television. Also, through extensive viewing habits children begin to learn behavior from television and not parents. The child's moral values become reduced and as the child grows older, he/she may begin to act violently or aggressively. If parents want to use television as a babysitter, they may consider using a device like the V Chip to help monitor material. The V Chip can block the transmission of violent programs, but the device does not come with any guarantees. Parents must still be aware of the programs their children watch, this device simply aids parents in protecting their children against violence. Some parents also reported seeing a loss of activity among older children (ages 9-12). They loose interest in playing outdoors and reading because they lay around and watch television. When asked to do something they reply with, " Just a second, I'll do it at a commercial." Devices like they the V-Chip do not become useful among this age group.
Many young adults that I spoke with said television is not the reason for the increase in violence. They feel adults use this as a scapegoat to conceal their own failures.
Many young adults feel that television does not influence violence among children. They agreed that violence on television and violence in our society has increased, but the believe the influence comes from adult behavior. The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect reported that each year at least 350,000 teenagers and children have been victims of abuse, and the abuser averages to be thirty-two years of age. The violence increase occurs because of the abusive environments children grow up in. They become accustomed to this behavior, and they repeat this behavior when they become adults Children do watch a lot of television and too much can be a problem. I found that by being aware of the programs your children watch, talking to your children about the violence they see, and not using television as a babysitter can reduce the amount of influence television may inflict. Parents also need to spend time with their children and use other means of entertainment to amuse children. Parents can read, do puzzles, or find a sport that interests their child. Through my research I found television does pose as a major influence among children and does cause them demonstrate violent behavior. Television holds some responsibility to the increase of violence among our society, but the problem can be addressed by monitoring and limiting children's viewing habits.