TV Violence


A major topic of conversation nowadays is whether or not voilence on
television causes children to bahave more violently. Shortly after I began to
research this topic, I realized that it is not a clear cut issue. Evidence can
be easily found to support each position. In the following essay I will examine
the different positions that can ba taken on this topic and try ro form my own
view on the affect violent TV has on chidren.
The first position I will examine is the one in which it is believed
that, without a doubt, violent TV increases the likelyhood that a child will
behave in a violent manner. This stands is examined in the Maclean\'s article
intitled,"Power to the people. Television\'s teen Rangers Kick up a storm. The
author of this article, Particia Chrisholm, explains a heated debate over the
affects that the kids show "The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" has on children.
According to this article, the "hemeted lycra covered Rangers" acts as a bad
influence on children. Many parents have come to believe that the childen try
to act like the kids hreo\'s. A cocerned mother, Kathryn Flannery went so far as
to petition the CRTC. The CRTC responded by saying that "the show is avassively
to violent."(Chrisholm 1994 p.52) As a result of the petiton, many stations
voluntarily refused to air the controversial kids show. This case shows the
power that people can have over the CRTC. Unfortunately, the parents were not
able to entirely shield their children from the Power Rangers TV show. Many US
broadcasters, available on cable, continued to air the show.
Another study that supports this belief that TV violence causes children
to act more violently is an experiment conducted by Leonard Eron and his
collegues. In these studies, Leonard Eron and his collegues studied childern
for a number of years and measuread peer ratings obtained from each child\'s
classmates. By doing this, they could see if violent TV changed the attitudes
of the children. In the end, it was concluded that violent TV significantly
affected the way in which the children behaved.
The other position that can be taken when discussing this issue is one
in which people believe that violent TV does not affect the behavior of children.
In the Canadian Forum article, "TV and The Child Savers. Bad Habits and The
Boob Tube" this position is discussed. The author, Thelma McCormack discusses
the goals of the action group that refers to themselves as the Child Savers.
According to this article, the Child Savers believe that "Programs which contain
gratitous violence will not be shown on television."(McCormack 1993.P20) They
basically want to force the CRTC to wake up and take action. They are also
considering making an ammendment to the Criminal Code. The author of this
article seems to be more interested with discrediting the Child Savers action
group. McCormack quotes George Gerbner as saying "in reality, there is less
violence on TV now than in the past.(McCormack 1993 p.20) Gerbner belongs to the
Unniversity of Pensylvannia\'s Annemburg School Of Communications and has been
studying TV for more than a decade. Gerbner believes that there is less
tolerance for any type of violence. This article discusses rhe situation in
which the American Psychologists decided to change their initial view on TV
violence negatively affecting the behavior of children. They now believe that
thier view was based on laboratory results. They also realize that the long
term affects have not yet been determined. This article has vast importance
because it shows that what is expertly reported is not necessarily true. If the
American pychologists can make a mistake anyone can. The American Pychologists
have not entirely dismissed their view, they have merely realized that they did
not have enough concrete evidence to suoourt their view. This Canadian Forum
article also realizes that most studies on violence and TV isolate TV as the
only contributor to the childrend violent behavior. They forget about the other
aspects of the subjects lives. They might have allready been prone to act
violently. This article states that "the result is that our studies tell us
little violence or the culture of childhood."(McCormack 1993 p.22) The author
believes that we need to understand how children react and respond to TV before
we can make judgements on it\'s affects.
An experiment that supports this view that TV violence does not promote
violence in children is a group of studies conducted by Seymour Feshbach and
Robert D Singer. In their book, "Telivision and Aggression" they state that the
issue "arrises from a concern over an important