Should Children’s Crimes Be Blamed On Media Violence?

Eng. III

February 11, 2004

Today it seems that the connection between youth violence and entertainment is getting closer and closer. Analysts, doctors, psychologists and everyone else who studies the minds of children are always stating that children being driven over the edge because of violent entertainment they associate themselves with. Children and teenagers seem to acquire nothing but negative influences from violent entertainment and that will only corrupt a youth’s mind. Influencing them to create horrible and shocking crimes. But this is just a lie from desperate mouths searching for some type of scapegoat. It’s not only the media that influences children to corruption, but the environment around them. Maybe for once someone should look in the direction of the mental health of children and their surrounding environment, instead of placing all the blame on the television.

In 1950, only 10% of American homes had a television and by 1960 the percentage had grown to 90%. Today 99% of homes have a television. In fact, more families own a television than a phone. Now, 54% of U.S. children have a television set in their bedrooms. Children spend more time learning about life through media than in any other manner. The average child spends approximately 28 hours a week watching television, which is twice as much time as they spend in school.

During the past decade, America has witnessed an alarming increase in the incidence of violence in the lives of children. On a daily basis, children in America are victims of violence, as witnesses to violent acts in their homes or communities, or as victims of abuse, neglect, or personal assault. The causes of violent behavior in society are complex and interrelated. Among the significant contributors are poverty, racism, unemployment, illegal drugs, inadequate or abusive parenting practices, and real-life adult models of violent problem-solving behavior. It is not the children’s fault that they posses a violent nature. This is what the nature they have been brought up around. It has been the only world they have ever known.

At the same time that there has been an increase in the number of reported violent acts directed at children, there has been an increase in the amount and severity of violent acts observed by children through the media, including television, movies, computer games, and videotapes, and an increase in the manufacture and distribution of weapon-like toys and other products directly linked to violent programming. Although, the media does reflect the violence across the world it also gives children a different perspective on crimes acuring frequently. But, if you limit your children to what they watch on T.V., you might limit the violent nature they might attain over the years.

For most kids, the effect of media violence is fairly small, so long as the examples they see on TV and in movies are balanced with good examples, values and morals, set and followed through by parents and peers. But for children who grow up with poor adult examples or an unclear idea of what\'s right and wrong, media violence can have a greater effect. When children grow up with few examples and morals set by others around them, they sometimes adopt a celebrity as a role model. If they see someone they look up to promoting violence either on TV or in movies, they may think that violence is the right or "cool" thing to do. This mindset is very often the cause of violent acts by children and teens.

The prevalence of violence in American society is a complex social problem that will not be easily solved. Violence in the media is only one manifestation of the larger society\'s fascination with violence. However, media violence is not just a reflection of violent society, it can also a contributor sometimes. If our nation wishes to produce future generations of productive adults who reject violence as a means of problem solving, we must reassert the vital role of government in protecting its most vulnerable citizens. This starts with creating more programs across the nation keeping kids out of hostile environments. No matter where you go, there will always be violence. It is just human nature to commit crimes on one another. So instead of blaming