Over the past few years many people have argued over the amount of violence on television, and whether it promotes violence in American society. Since TV is such a big part of todayís society it is easy to point a finger at it as a promoter of violence. So does violence on television promote violence in American Society?

It is true that the amount of violence on TV shows today is growing. But does this really desensitize the publics view of violence? The Japanese crime rate is a good example that it does not. Despite Having much more violent cartoons and TV shows than we have here, Japan has a very low crime rate. So why is it that a country with far more violence on their TV shows has a much more peaceful society than ours?

I believe the problem isnít the amount of violence on TV it is the amount of violence we witness, and experience in society. Someone who has never been exposed to violence and sees it on TV for the first time will just consider it is make believe or fantasy. However someone who is surrounded in a hostile and violent environment, and sees violence on TV will consider it as common behavior.

The UCLA Television Violence Monitoring Report, which analyzed broadcast programming during the 1994-1995 season, notes that it is "known" that TV doesn't have a simple stimulus-response effect on viewers. The tube's influence fluctuates wildly with socioeconomic status, viewing setting, and other variables. "When the impact of television is discussed or when television is blamed for having caused something to happen, it should never be suggested that television alone is a sufficient cause," says the study.~2

The National Television Violence Study , underwritten by the cable industry, looked at broadcast and cable offerings over the same time period. Like the UCLA report, it finds ample evidence of violent acts and images on TV.

But the study admits that the connection between TV and real-world violence is far from clear. "It is also recognized," says the report, "that televised violence does not have a uniform effect on viewers. The outcome of media violence on viewers depends both on the nature of the depictionís and the sociological and psychological makeup of the audience."

The experience of violence first hand is the greatest promoter of violence. This is what desensitizes people about the horrors of violence. People will most likely not become violent just by watching violence on TV, they will likely become violent by experiencing it first hand. As Viola Spolin said "We learn through experience and experiencing, and no one teaches anyone anything. This is as true for the infant moving from kicking to crawling to walking as it is for the scientist with his equations. If the environment permits it, anyone can learn whatever he chooses to learn; and if the individual permits it, the environment will teach him everything it has to teach."

Some people say that television promotes and glorifies violence. However I can not think of a television show that glorified violence, that hasnít shown the pain of violence and attempted to show there are other ways to resolve conflicts.

The truth is, violence is as old as time itself. It is not some new problem that has become out of control since the invention of the television. Violence cannot be stopped, it can only be minimized. So even though television does not lower violence, it certainly can not be held responsible for promoting it.