When children are young they are very impressionable by the things around them. Often kids are influenced by what they see. If kids are watching shows with a lot of violence they too will tend to act out this violence. Parents today have a lot of responsibility to make sure that their children are being supervised on what they are watching to make sure that they understand what they are seeing. And what kind of impact violence could have on their children. Violence on television and other forms of communication has increased and has lead to a negative impact on the youth of today. The government and parents need to set guidelines and restrictions on what we our showing our kids.
One of the major problems is there are a lot of ways kids can access violent or sexual material. One of the newest and most controversial is that of the Internet. Kids can log on to sites that may not be suitable to them at such a young age. Kids can get access to the Internet pretty easily. One concern is that kids might use libraries or schools to gain access to material that is not appropriate for them. One solution might be to censor the Internet. This could have some negative affects because Internet censorship would violate the First Amendment rights for adults. Another solution that schools and libraries are using is installing programs that will filter out sites that are inappropriate for children. Parents can also install these programs on their home computers and wouldnt have to monitor their children when they are online. The only downside is that some sites that may have valuable information might also be filtered because the program cannot always determine what sites may have beneficial information.
Violence on television can lead to aggressive behavior in children. If kids see violence on television they tend to act out this violence. Television often glorifies violence in the shows that kids watch. One of the newest shows that glorify violence is Power Rangers. This would probably lead to kids acting more aggressive because they are constantly watching it on television. There have been over a thousand studies that link aggressive behavior with violence on television. One such study was done on the show Date Line. They took a room full of kids and showed them two different programs one being violent and the other being a learning program. They came to the conclusion that the children tended to act more aggressive when they watched violent shows.
Parents need to take responsibility in teaching their children about violence. Children are very impressionable at a young age. Children dont know the difference between television and real life. Explain to them that the shows they watch might seem real, but the people are just acting and its not real. It is the parents job to sit down with their children and explain to them the consequences of violence physical and emotional. Parents need to also explain what happens to people that commit violent crimes. Parents need to monitor what kind of programs their kids are watching. Cut down on the amount of television they watch this will also cut down on the violence your children see.
There are also long lasting effects on children exposed to violence. A study done by Paik and Comstock to see if there was any long lasting effects of violence on children. They took a third grade class in a small upstate New York town. They studied what the children watched, their family background, and asked teachers who were more or less aggressive. They came to the conclusion that there was a direct relationship between childrens level of aggressive behavior and their television viewing. They then followed up on this study ten years later when the children were eighteen. He concluded that there were some long-term effects of early television viewing on later aggressive behavior. They then went one step further and followed up on the children at age thirty. They now found that there was a relationship between early television viewing and arrest and conviction for violent crimes; spouse abuse, child abuse, murder, and aggravated assault. This became a very controversial study, but there is a lot of evidence that violence has long-term effects.
Why doesnt the government step in and clean up television? There is a very broad area of childrens television. This is a very sensitive issue for Congress and the FCC because of public concern. We know there is a relationship between television violence and changes in behavior and attitudes. In 1961 the chairman of the FCC Newton Minow had this to say about television:
When television is good, nothing not the theatre, not the magazines or newspapers nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there without a book, magazine, newspaper, profit-and-loss sheet, or rating book to distract you and keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that you will observe a vast wasteland. You will see a procession of game shows, violence, audience participation shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And, endlessly, commercials many screaming, cajoling, and offending. (5,6)
These views are always changing not everybody in the FCC agreed with Minow. The current chairman of the FCC has concerns about the amount of violence in childrens television and wants to make changes to improve childrens television. We will soon see some positive changes in childrens television being directed more towards learning.
How do we solve the problem of violence in our society? It all goes back to the family and the values that are instilled in them. If the parents are never around and just sit their children down in front of the television to entertain them they are going to see violence and other materials that may not be appropriate for them at that age. Parents need to take responsibility in raising their children. They need to explain that there is a difference between television and real life. Parents are not the only ones to blame. The government needs to step up and start cleaning up the amount of violence that is on television, because they control what we see on television. Violence will never go away, but it is our job to explain to our children that violence is unacceptable and give them other alternatives to violence.
John P. Murray. Children and Television Violence. Lycos search.
Dr. Jane Ledingham. The Effects of Media Violence on Children.
Facing TV Violence. Excite search.
Some Things You Should Know About Media Violence and Media Literacy. Excite search.