Children And Television Violence

What
has the world come to these days? It often seems like everywhere one looks,
violence turns its ugly head. We see it in the streets, back alleys, schools,
and even at home. The last of these is a major source of violence. In many
peoples’ living rooms there sets an outlet for violence that often goes unnoticed.
Children who view television are often pulled into the realistic, yet a devastating
world of violence.
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 sixteen-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 do so to not leave fingerprints and that
he discovered this 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 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
(Howe 72). 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 violent television.
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 (Carter 14).
Television violence can destroy a young child’s
mind. The effects of this violence can be long-lasting. 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 aggressive behavior as it warps
his or her perception of the real world. Others 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 non-thinker (Langone 48).
As you can see, television violence
can disrupt a child’s learning and thinking ability that 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 (Dorr 127). The
violence on television is able to be more exciting and more thrilling 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
to death on television. However, children don’t always realize this is not
the way situations 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 the world becomes bland in comparison. The
child needs to create violence to keep himself satisfied (Dorr 127). 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