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