Social Issues / Effect Of Violence Seen On Television
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Autor: anton 31 October 2010
Words: 1039 | Pages: 5
The Effects of Violence Seen on Television
One Saturday morning when I was five years old, I was watching an episode of the Roadrunner on television. As Wile Coyote was pushed off a cliff by the roadrunner for the fourth or fifth time, I started laughing uncontrollably. I then watched a Bugs Bunny show and started laughing whenever I saw Elmer Fudd shoot Daffy Duck and his bill went twirling around his head. The next day, I pushed my brother off a cliff and shot my dog to see ifs its head would twirl around.
Obviously, the last sentence is not true. The example above is an exaggeration of the effects of violence on television can have on children. To a five-year-old child, Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny are the pinnacle of â€œcool,â€ and they see nothing wrong with the violent stunts seen on television. The average child watches about two and half hours of television a day and witnesses twenty violent acts on those television shows each hour. In most actions movies, there is always a bad guy and a good guy. From observation of children, most children would prefer to be the bad guy because â€œthe bad guy gets to the cool stuff,â€ as one child told me whom I was babysitting when I asked him why he wanted to be the evil monster in Power Rangers Dinothunder movie. What kinds of problems is this causing for our youth?
Children often behave differently after they have watched violent programs on television. In a study done at Penn State University, about 100 pre-school children were observed both before and after watching television. Some watched cartoons that had many violent and aggressive acts; others watched shows that did not have any kind of violence. The researchers noticed real differences between the children who watched violent shows and those who watched non-violent shows. Children who watched the violent shows were more likely to argue, disobey, strike playmates, and become impatient ( ). Childrenâ€™s minds are like sponges; they take in everything around them, and unless they are told something is not ok, they will believe that it is ok to do the example presented to them.
From personal observation of working around children for about twenty hours per week, children do imitate the violent acts they see on television. Physical Violence is more notable in boys than girls, whereas girls are more violent verbally than physically. I note two different instances when entertaining a group of kids in a birthday party. At a birthday party of nine-year-old boys, they tend to become bored and distracted very easily. I turned my back for only a few minutes when a boy began imitating wrestling moves he had seen on a wrestling television show. I am sure the show he saw was for entertainment purposes only and was never meant to be reenacted; however, he was under the impression that the wrestling moves were ok to try on his friends. At a ten-year-old girls birthday party, the theme of the party was Lizzie McGuire, a popular sitcom on the Disney Channel. This show is silly and can be entertaining, but it is the exact enactment of what we are trying to steer our pre-teens away: popularity and cliques. The young girls in the party reminded me of this sitcom as they sat eating pizza eating off their Lizzie Mcguire plates gossiping about girls that were not invited to the party. Violence on television not only portrays physically violence, but verbal violence as well.
There are three major effects that violence has on children overall: children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others, children may be more fearful of the world around them, and children may be more likely to behave in aggressive ways towards others ( ). Children are routinely exposed to murders, beatings, and sexual assaults just by turning on the television set. They have become desensitized. There is a theory that children develop the Mean World Syndrome from soaking in too much violence on television. Children begin to believe that the entire world around in just like the violence on television, and there are always bad guys and good guys in every situation. In short, they begin to think that someone is always out to get them ( ). This is not the way we as a society should want our children to grow up.
Not only does television have a profound effect on children, but video games do as well. There is one particular recent event that is a prime example of the effect video games can have on children. Grand Theft Auto, a video game where a player has to steal cars and engage in other illegal activities to win points, caused a young boy to steal a car and shoot a police officer. This may sound ridiculous to the common person that a video caused a thirteen year old boy to do this, but psychologists have shown that if children play these dangerous games long enough and at a young enough age, the actions can become imprinted into a childâ€™s brain ( ). Therefore, the child then believes it is normal for him to do this. Video games can be even more violent than television and can have the same or even worse effects.
Television and video games are part of our culture and it would be wrong to totally eliminate them from a childâ€™s life. However, childrenâ€™s television programs do need to be more closely monitored by parents if not the television networks that are putting these violent programs on. Violent stunts are seen in cartoons, sitcoms, movies, and video games. Children take in everything they see on the tube and if not told that violence on the television is not reality than the results can have a profound effect on a childâ€™s behavior.
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