Does television violence cause violence in children and how can it be reduced?

Essay by gazon98 October 2003

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What's on TV? This is a common question of today's generation. A person might reply with one of the following; news, sitcoms, cartoons, sports, or any other various programs. Is this what is really on television? Take a closer look. What is consistently in these programs? Violence, violence is what's on television. Objections may arise from this statement because of violent desensitization, but that does not change the fact that most shows contain violence.

"In 1949, a mere 2% of American homes had television sets. This increased to 64% by 1955, 93% by the mid-60's, and 98% today" (Hughes and Hasbrouck 3). With so many televisions in homes today and working parents; "TV has become the closest and most constant companion for American children" (Zuckerman 1). U.S. children begin watching television at a very early age and are frequent viewers by the time that they are two or three years old.

The amount of time that American children spend watching TV is astounding: an average of four hours a day, 28 hours a week, 2,400 hours a year, nearly 18,000 hours by the time they graduate from high school. In comparison, they spend a mere 13,000 hours in school, from kindergarten through twelfth grade. American children spend more time watching TV than any other activity, besides sleeping.

With all this time in front of the television, how much violence do children watch? A typical child will witness 8,000 murders and 100,000 other acts of violence before he or she leaves elementary school (Hughes and Hasbrouck 4). People don't realize the amount of violence on television. With improved special effects, violent scenes are more realistic and grotesque which attributes to the popularity of violent shows. Also, several sources indicate that five violent acts per hour occur during prime time television and...