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The Effect of Television Violence on Children and Teenagers Essay Sample

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The Effect of Television Violence on Children and Teenagers Essay Sample

In every Saturday morning cartoon there are 20-25 violent acts, for every hour of prime time television, there are 5 violent acts, and the average grade seven student will have watched about 8,000 murders on T.V in their short lifetimes. This violent programming is having a detrimental effect on children and teens all over the world. Television violence is causing children and teens to be rude and anti-social. It is also causing them to mimic the violent acts seen on TV. Violent television is causing children and teens to be afraid of the real world. Many shows are showing our younger generation a negative way to solve conflicts. Watching violence over and over is desensitizing them to violent behavior. Mainly, it is causing our children and teens to act violently.

Thousands of studies have confirmed that television violence is causing our children and teens to act out violently. One major study that showed cause and effect of the relation of television and violence shows that aggressive behavior among children and teenagers is directly linked to television violence. (Murray, 1984) Another study found that children who watched many hours of televisi o n violence in elementary school, turned out to be violent later in their teens (Murray, 1984). The study also found that children who watched a lot of TV when they were eight years old were more likely to be arrested and prosecuted for criminal acts as adults. Around the mid-1970s, new programs were turning up with female dominant characters. Many thought that this would have a positive effect on girls, but they weren’t exactly right. Young girls who often watched these shows featuring aggressive heroines grew up to be aggressive adults and were involved in more confrontations, shoving matches and knife fights (Murray, 1984) With thousands of studies proving the fact that violent behavior is an outcome of television violence, today’s society has to start to pay more attention to those action shows and stop the violence in fantasy from becoming violence in reality.

It has been shown that that exposure to violence in the media desensitizes people (Murray, 1984) Many people worry about the desensitization of our youth. It has been proven by many studies that such a thing happens as a result of television violence. Children who watch a lot of TV are less aroused by violent scenes and those who watch more violence than others are slower to intervene or call for help if they saw other children fighting (American Psychological Association, 1985). One child when talking to his mother about a shooting they had seen on TV said that the shooting wasn’t violent because there was no suffering in the deaths ( Jenish, 1992). Obviously, this shows that he has been desensitized by television violence. When a child sees violent acts over and over again, they get used to it, and it becomes normal. It makes them less sensitive to violence and to victims of violence (American Academy of Pediatrics, 1995). This can turn out to be very dangerous later on in a childs or teen’s life, when they see something violent going on. They may think that it’s okay because it happens all the time. This is most certainly detrimental.

Another main effect of television violence is that it shows children and teenagers negative ways to solve conflicts. In seventy-three percent of all violent scenes, the perpetrator goes unpunished and children programs are the least likely of all genres to show the long-term negative consequences of all violence (Mediascope Inc., 1996). If you look at the shows that children and teens watch today, you can see the negative effects everywhere. For example, in the show South Park, the character, Kenny, dies in every show, but he shows up again, alive and well, every week. This is plainly showing teens that they are immortal. Also, forty percent of violent incidents are done by the good characters (Mediascope, 1993). Seeing the ldblquote good guys acting out violently is showing children that violence is okay because their role models, or “heroes” do it all the time. With no consequences being shown, and the good guys winning with violence, there is no doubt that negative actions are being picked up by our children and teenagers.

Many children and teenagers are seeing television violence and comparing it to the real world. They are becoming fearful of the world around them because television has shown them horrors of the world exaggerated. A Canadian study (Josephson, 1995) found that teens prefer adult programming that deals with situations in the real world, such as violence, growing up, dating, etc. The shows that they watch often portray violence against women, and makes teenage girls more fearf ul of the real world. Many parent are also expressing their concern. One parent (Maclean’s, 40, 1992) stated, “I am very concerned about the impact that some of these shows are having on our daughter. She is very frightened of being home alone. All of these crimes against women, which are displayed in the media, have made our daughter extremely cautious.” Why should a fourteen year old be this frightened of the real world? Television violence, shows all of these crimes against women, but never show the c onsequences for the perpetrators act. No wonder they are afraid. Children who watch violent television are more likely to think that the world is a mean and dangerous place (APA, 1995). The exaggerated violent acts portrayed on television are most definitely causing children and teens to be afraid of the real world.

Another negative effect of television violence is that it causes children and teenagers to mimic the acts seen on TV. On July 28, 1999, twelve year-old Lionel Tare killed six year-old Tiffany Eunick, while practicing a wrestling move he had seen on TV (Current Events, 2001). While this boy is mimicking a wrestling move, a fourteen year-old is shooting his students in his school, with accuracy that only could have been learned from wa t ching and memorizing the actions seen on TV (Edmonton Journal, 2001). This is plainly showing that television violence has a negative impact on our youth. Traumatic experiences are stored in the posterior cingulate, which is located in the back-right hemisphere of the brain (Edmonton Journal, 2001). New studies show (Edmonton Journal, 2001) that violent images seen on TV are stored in the same place, with easy access to copy, or learn from whenever the child sees fit to use it. When violence is being directed to a par t of the brain that is easily accessible, itrquote s no wonder we see more mimicked crimes. As toddlers, children will mimic what they see and hear on television (Josephson, 1995). This information is then either let out during their younger years, or held onto until their teens. They will eventually mimic most of the things they see and hear on television, and with the number of violent acts on television an hour at 20-25, toddlers are seeing and hearing more violence than ever. It’s is basically monkey see, monkey do. A child will see some sort of violent action on television and carry it out.

Many people show their concern for television violence and their effects. Each and every one of the effects are detrimental. Television violence causing violent behavior cannot be denied as a negative effect. Children and teenagers becoming desensitized to violence is also a major problem. With shows showing no consequence, we can agree that it is showing our youth a negative way to solve conflicts. Children and teens mimicking violent acts from television and becoming more afraid of the world around them are also detrimental effects that we cannot ignore. Finally, who can say that violent television is not causing rude, anti-social behavior? Clearly, we as a society cannot ignore these detrimental effects for long, because if we do, our society will keep getting more violent, rude, and afraid.

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