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To Watch or Not to Watch
Television violence. In these days it’s the first thing that comes to the minds of parents turning on the television for their young children. Because over 90 million homes in the United states contain at least one television set, the graphic violence being shown in most of the programs is becoming a widespread problem (Rooldman 55). The problem of television violence has greatly increased over the years since the study of it got started in 1946, and it has had many lasting effects on people exposed to it. Since children watch about 27 hours of televisions a week and see around 200,000 acts of violence and 40,000 murders by age 18, it is now necessary to find new technology to control and prevent it ( Toxic TV Chidley 35).
Many studies have been done since the late 1940’s to figure out just how severe the problem of television violence really is. Many disturbing facts were found and their presence was blamed on television. In 1946 when basic
television viewing was based on 4 main channel networks, the main seven
problems in society were cutting in line, talking out of turn in school, chewing gum where not allowed, making unnecessary noise, running recklessly, violations in school dress code and littering. By the 1990’s where more then 90 channels are available by satellite dishes, the seven main problems changed to suicide, assault, robbery, rape, drug abuse, alcohol abuse and pregnancy (Leo 36).
Another study was done by Dr. Leonard D. Eron, a psychology professor at Yale University. He was able to prove that children are more likely to grow up to be violent adults due to watching excessive violence on television, than because of the way their parents treated them. In 1960, Dr. Eron picked 10 families out of a phone book and paid them a visit. He asked them about how much television their young children watched. He recorded all of his findings from the least amount to the greatest. Then he interviewed ten children who have been in situations of abuse. Ten years later he went back and interviewed the same family and kids again, where the children were now in their mid-teens and he recorded the information. Then another ten years later he went back again--the children were adults then. And what he found showed him that the adults who watched violence shows on
television in their early years, were, as adults more aggressive and had more police records for violent crimes. This study showed us the exact connection between television violence and violence in children and adults (Kolbert 1).
Another study released in February of 1996, called Mediascope National Television Violence Study was the most comprehensive study ever done on this subject. This study was done over a period of three years and discovered many interesting and helpful facts. The researchers in this study looked upon all of these things : a content analysis of violence in television series, daytime shows, TV, movies, children’s shows, and music videos. They also researched violence on talk shows and documentaries. They checked to see how TV ratings influenced children’s viewing decisions. Three problems it identified to be the worst were 1)learning aggressive attitudes and behaviors 2)becoming more linked to real world violence 3)
developing a fear of being victimized by violence. The key things they found were that perpetrators go unpunished in 73% of all television programs and
that shows children that if they commit a crime, they wont have to pay the consequences. Forty seven percent of all violent interactions show no harm to victims and 58% show no pain which doesn’t make it look like
committing the crime is a bad thing to do. After the researchers watched a total of 2,500 hours of television viewing, only 4% of violent programs showed a anti-violence warning (Dougherty 10).
These studies are supported by many startling facts. A little boy in Indiana was found crawling down into a storm drain by his parents, and when asked him what prompted him to do so he said “I saw the Ninja Turtles do it” ( Toxic TV Chidley 35). After burning down his home in Wyoming, a 10 year old boy was asked why and his reply was “ I saw Beavis and Butthead do it.
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Dispute resolution, Crime, Parenting, Television technology, V-chip, Social aspects of television, Media violence research, Violence, Leonard Eron, Aggression, Motion Picture Association of America film rating system, Cartoon violence
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