Violence on the Tube

Essay by Matt ChisholmUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 1997

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One Saturday morning many years ago, I was watching an episode of the 'Roadrunner' on television. As Wile E. Coyote was pushed off of a cliff by the Roadrunner for the fourth or fifth time, I started laughing uncontrollably. I then watched a 'Bugs Bunny' show and started laughing whenever I saw Elmer Fudd shoot Daffy Duck and his bill went twirling around his head. The next day, I pushed my brother off of a cliff and shot my dog to see if its head would twirl around.

Obviously, that last sentence is not true. Some people believe that violence on the tube is one of the main factors that leads to real-life violence, but in my opinion, television is just a minor factor that leads to real-life violence and that it is the parents responsibility to teach kids the difference.

According to Rathus in Psychology in the New Millennium, observational learning may account for most human learning (239).

Observational learning extends to observing parents and peers, classroom learning, reading books, and learning from media such as television and films. Nearly all of us have been exposed to television, videotapes, and films in the classroom. Children in day-care centers often watch Sesame Street. There are filmed and videotaped versions of great works of literature such as Orson Welles' Macbeth. Nearly every school shows films of laboratory experiments.

But what of our viewing outside of the classroom? Television is also one of our major sources of informal observational learning. According to Sweet and Singh, viewing habits range from the child who watches no television at all to the child who is in front of the television nearly all waking hours. They say that on average, children aged 2 to 11 watch about 23 hours of television per week, and teenagers watch...