Violence on TV

Essay by miabanzon February 2003

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Does watching violence on television truly harm young children? Some experts say that televised violence has a profound effect on children. However, it's not difficult to find other "experts" who dismiss its effects, claiming that watching violent TV shows is no different than listening to fairy tales. These conflicting statements tend to make parents give up the TV battle with their children.

Just 60 years ago, television was viewed as an unknown curiosity. TV was black and white ghostly figures on a screen so small hardly anyone could see them. Today, that curiosity has become a constant companion to many, including our children. TV programs report the news and weather, persuade us to buy certain products, and also provides programs that glorify violence. TV has affected our family value system in both positive and negative ways.

TV violence has been related to the aggressive behavior in children, although it is not clear how much of an impact TV violence actually has.

This is because children most affected by TV violence are those already at risk for violent behavior. Other individual and family factors may be the other cause for violent behavior. Children who are already aggressive or have an aggressive nature are attracted to and tend to watch more violent TV.

Some children become "unfeeling" to the horror of violence and become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others. They may gradually accept violence as a way to solve problems. They may imitate the violence they observe on TV and behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others. Also, they may become more fearful of the world around them.

The results of studies on the effects of televised violence are consistent. By watching aggression, children learn how to be aggressive in new ways and they also draw conclusions...