Television Violence

Television Violence
Television
violence is a negative message of reality to the children who see it. There
is an excessive amount of violence being watched in millions of people’s homes
every day, and this contributes to the growing amount of violent crimes that
are being committed in our communities. This cycle of more and more sex and
violence being portrayed as reality on television will not stop until something
is done.
Not one parent that I know wants his or her children watching people
getting blown away and thrown off cliffs. But the reality of it is that parents
cannot be there 24 hours a day to monitor what their children are watching.
In fact the television is often used as a baby-sitter, so that the parent can
do housework, have an adult conversation, or just relax after work.
The types
of people who are the most likely to be harmed by the surplus of violence on
TV are children. Ed Donnerstein stated in the February 15, 1996 edition of
the Boston Globe the following:
Violence turns out to do a lot of harm when
it looks harmless. One of these lessons children learn watching television
is that there are few consequences to the person who commits violence – or
to the victim. Add to this ‘positive’ portrayal of negative behavior the fact
that children’s programs were least likely to show the bad effects of violence
and most likely to make it funny" (Goodman pg. 23).
We are showing children
that violence is humorous and it can’t do harm.
A researcher by the name
of Meltzoff studied learning in infants. He concluded that babies start to
learn even before birth. A study by Meltzoff demonstrated observational learning
in 14-month-olds. After watching an adult on television handling "a novel toy
in a particular way," the babies were able to imitate the behavior when presented
with the toy 24 hours later (Wood pg.292). This study indicates that babies
learn imitation very early in life. This is why parents should be more particular
with what they allow their susceptible children to view on TV.
The Mighty
Morphin Power Rangers, television show for children, is a very good example
of how violence on TV can affect our children. It is one of the highest rated
kids television shows today. The Power Rangers are everywhere, on everything,
from lunch boxes to boxer shorts. And kids want it all. This creates a bind
for the parents who know that these items are not so good for their kids.
The
Power Rangers is one of the most violent shows around right now and kids love
it. The violence in the show has led New Zealand and two of the major networks
in Canada to ban the program from their daily schedules. Nancy Carlson-Paige
of Lesley College said in the December 1, 1994 Boston Globe," Locally, teachers
see evidence that Power Rangers interferes with normal childhood development.
It threatens to undermine children’s mental health because of the way it influences
their play" (Meltz pg. A1).
Chris Boyatzis of California State University
at Fullerton completed the first scientific study of the impact of Power Rangers
on children. It showed that those who watch the show are seven times more aggressive
in their play than those who don’t (Meltz pg. A1).
Micki Corley, head 4-year-old
teacher and coordinator of the Preschool Experience in Newton Centre said in
the same December 1st Boston Globe," They are confused by it. They mimic the
movements without understanding the consequences. I see kids saying things
like, ‘If I’m the Red Ranger, I’m not really Joe hitting Mary. I’m Tommy or
Zack hitting someone evil.’ But it’s Mary who is hurt and Mary who cries. You
can see the confusion on their faces. They’ll say, ‘But I didn’t do that’"
(Meltz pg. A1). One can see that at this stage in the preschooler life he or
she is not able to distinguish between real and pretend.
Kids and Power Rangers
supporters will say that the Power Rangers do have good points about them also.
They say that the characters show respect for adults, they are likable people,
and there is always a moral. In fact, the program labels the morals at the
end of each show. What we have to ask ourselves is, "Is it really worth it?"
Marilyn
Droz, director of research for the National Coalition on Television Violence,
conducted a study on the Power Rangers. This is what she came up with:
1.
Seventy percent of the kids who watch the show say the fighting is what they
like best.
2. In an hour of Power Rangers