Children, TV, and Violence


America has the largest crime rate in the world. Along with that crime
rate is also the substantially high violence rate. Why? Why is violence
becoming and everyday common happening in our society? When you flip on the
"tele" and tune into the news, the highlight of every show is somehow directly
related or connected to violence. We see it every evening and perhaps say "Oh
my gosh, how terrible." and then forget all about it two minutes later. Or
perhaps we don\'t even make any comments at all, just a simple grunt or
"..huh..". This numbness to violence is very scary and very real. Why is it
then that America has the most crime and violence. Why not Switzerland or
Australia. Are we not as civilized and advanced as they? I believe it is this
numbness to violence that has made America so violent.
When I think back to my childhood and remember television I remember
watching such programs as "Sesame Street", "Mr. Rogers", and "Scooby - Doo". I
have nothing but pleasant memories filled with happiness, peace, understanding,
and learning. When you watch children\'s programs today you see senseless
violence often as the first means of solving a problem. The classic view of
"good" versus "evil" is the basis of these shows with violence as the answer.
When children watch these programs they copy the actions and "morals" of these
shows depicting "good" and "evil". Children do not know what "good" is or what
"evil" is, how can they? This world is not broken into "good" and "evil".
"Evil" to children is what opposes them, what does not agree with them, or any
other person or thing that poses a possible difficulty. Children must be taught
that there are differences in this world. This world is filled with many people
holding different beliefs, ideas, and morals. That is what makes this world
so unique and colorful. Children need to learn to respect these differences from
a very young age. They need to learn to talk out and solve any disagreements or
problems through other means than violence. They must not "know" violence as an
answer, as if violence was never even an option to consider in solving a
problem.
I recently became aware of the problem of violence in children when I
started observing small children at play at my apartment complex. I had known
one small child in particular when he was just learning to speak. I had watched
him and talked with him for several years and noticed nothing "violent" nor
aggressive about him. Back then he played more outdoors rarely ever going
inside (except when his mother called for dinner), but as he got older and more
interested in television I noticed that he was becoming much more aggressive
especially as he played outside with his friends and sisters. He would punch
and copy the moves of the cartoon shows he watched even to the point of copying
their war cries and sayings. The media claims that they have no influence on
children, that could not be further from the truth. Children are the easiest
to manipulate and take advantage of because they are innocent and because they
are innocent they are also ignorant. Some people say that the boy was merely
maturing, becoming more like a man. But how many five year old boys do you
know that have testosterone flowing through their body? The main problem was
the television shows that he was watching. That is very obvious.
The problem with the above mentioned case was not just television itself
but the combination of television and child. Children are very susceptible and
easily persuaded as we all know. In the early 1960\'s, Albert Bandura of
Stanford was the first to present the theory that children not only learned from
their parents through imitation but also through imitating television. So when
children imitate what they see on television, especially when it is something
that is rewarded, and knowing how violent television is these days, television
can and does influence children in violent and aggressive means. When children
are raised with violent television "...they become desensitized to real people\'s
suffering..." (Leland 47). When children watch a man get blown up across the
screen and see the hero prevail from the conflict it encourages the thought that
when you want something, it\'s alright to obtain it through violence because you
will be rewarded in the end. This along with the fact that a murder on
television shows is so common that children begin to project what they see on
television onto the