Children Watch Television essay example

1,114 words
For years now there has been a controversy over whether or not television influences children. Many argue that parents should control what their children watch, while some argue that television in general is violent for children, and you cannot censor everything. However, television in past years has become increasingly violent, and the images that are put on the screen for children to watch affects their lives in many ways. This argument about television violence has been around since the 1950's. Children and adolescents spend on average per week twenty-eight hours watching television. By the time these kids reach the age eighteen they will have seen 200,000 acts of violence.

(Brossette 2003) Violence on television consists of a wide variety of forms. One top form of violence is wrestling; others include violence in sitcoms, commercials and cartoons. Many parents feel that everywhere they go children are confronted with violence. Video games, arcade games, movies, play station and x-box: these are forms of media that affect children in some way. Although violence in television is usually portrayed differently from in other media, usually it is without consequences.

It is not catastrophic or symbolic by any means; instead it seems more like a solution. (Brossette 2003) Over a period of three years, television programs were monitored, specifically looking at prime time television, and children's programs. This study showed that children's programming was consistently more violent than prime time shows. "On average, over 90% of children's programs contained violence, compared to 70% of prime time shows". (Wilson 1998) Watching this constant violence on television has an array of effects on children some of which include personality traits and behavioral traits. It has been proven that exposure to violence on television has lead to certain traits.

For example, children have the tendency to be more aggressive. Those who grew up watching more violence on television are more likely to commit a crime or use violence to punish their own children. Watching these violent acts being committed on television, the children identify with characters, and therefore are likely to become more aggressive adults. (Woodward 1998) "Regardless of the exact psychological and sociological processes involved, the new research heightened the realization that television was a powerful instrument for affecting the interest, feelings, attitudes, beliefs and behavior of its viewers". (Cater 55) This quote is from a 1975 study on the effects of violence on television and children.

More recent studies have found that watching violence on television can also lead the child to fear becoming a victim of violence. They may become desensitized and not react when someone is actually being hurt. (Woodward 1998) "Repeated exposure to television violence has been implicated as a major factor in the gradual desensitization of individuals to such scenes". (Erwin 1997) Children who tend to watch television for long periods of time are more prone to violent behavior. Boys are also more likely to be violent than girls, even though both sexes watch almost the same amount of television. The different sexes have different reactions to the violence they watch on television.

For instance girls tend to watch less violence, and are more disapproving of violence. While boys prefer more violent shows, and watch it in a more detached, but realistic manner. All children react differently. The one thing they have in common is they react in some form when they are overexposed to violence. (Erwin 1997) The more television a child watches, the more that child will become accepting of aggressive behavior. The child can also become more suspicious and has a greater expectancy of being involved in real violence.

This is due to the fact that if a child is a heavy television viewer then they would distinguish this behavior as the norm. Their idea of an aggressive act would differ than that of a child who hardly ever watches television. (Er on 11) "In recent years, several professional organizations (e.g. American Medical Association, 1996; Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1991) have comprehensively reviewed the evidence and concluded that TV violence is harmful to children". (Wilson 1998) After annual assessments of television conclude that American television shows a steady stream of violence. Saturday morning cartoons are especially show high numbers of violent acts.

Many people tend to think that cartoons cannot be bad for children, when assessing them for content clearly there are many examples of aggression in the characters. (Wilson 2002) Public opinion polls report that 75% of Americans adults now believe televised violence contributes to real world crime and aggression". (Wilson 2002) Parents and groups such as the National Parent Teacher Association (NPT A) and the American Academy of Pediatrics are trying very hard to assess how children watch television, and are trying to lower the occurrence of violence in television. There are many tips for parents who are concerned. For example a parent should watch at least one show his child is watching. Parents can also ban any programs that they feel are too violent for their young ones to be watching.

(Woodward 1998) Ratings for television can also serve as a guideline for parents to deem whether or not a show is appropriate for their child. New technology also makes it possible to block certain channels or shows on the television. This is a feature that can be enacted by the parent depending on what kind of service they subscribe to. Parents also should understand that children now find ways to get around the rules; in example going into another room, going downstairs, watching through a screen, or going to the friend house is an easy way to avoid the rules. Interacting with the children and enforcing the idea on whether or not they should watch a specific show is important. Limiting their amount of television time may also be helpful, encourage them to participate in other activities such as sports or crafts.

(Brossette 2003) Violence in the media is a growing problem. Especially when research shows it leads to violence outside the home. For example researchers believe it can lead children to commit violent acts in schools. In some rare cases, people believe it can actually lead children to commit suicide or commit an actual murder. Violence is something that needs to be addressed and explained to children whether parents monitor what they watch, or explain that it is not real life.