The Effects of
violence? Do you think that children who watch violence on television will show violent
behavior? What about the terrible tragedies in which kids kill other kids, why? Many studies have been done to
answer the question of television violence and its effects on children.
Studies have been done by scientists, pediatricians, and
child researchers in many countries over the last thirty years. These studies have tried
to find out what it is about television violence that makes it such a big influence on the
way kids act and behave.
Television violence causes aggressive behavior
in childrenA shocking study by television researchers Bandura and Ross
was done to get at the truth about the effects of television violence on children. They
split a group of kids into Groups A and B. Next, they showed Group A a videotape
of a child acting very aggressively with a doll. For example, the girl in the video hit
and kicked the doll. The children in Group B were shown a tape in which the same girl was having a tea party with
the same doll. Later in the experiment, they put the Group A kids in a room alone with an
exact copy of the doll used in the video. Children in Group A responded by hitting and
kicking the doll and acted aggressively. The children in Group B were also put in a room
alone with the doll and they played very nicely with it. There are similar studies that
show how violence on television increases the likelihood that children who watch will
demonstrate aggressive behavior towards others. Children imitate what they see on
47% of violent television
programs show the victim going unharmed, especially in cartoons.
The person in the cartoon or television show gets bowled over by
another character and they get back up without being harmed. Children begin to
believe that violence doesnt really hurt others.
of individuals who commit crimes in cartoons and children's shows go unpunished in violent
Television shows that allow the character who commits the
crime to receive no punishment, teaches children that it is alright to commit a crime
because nothing will be done. Criminals and violent acts do not get punished.
Violence is a good way to solve problems
Television is a powerful teacher and if children are always
viewing their favorite characters using violence or aggression to get what they want,
children will do the same.
Television creates heroes out of the people who commit the crimes
Kids feel that if they copy the criminal they will be a hero, too.
The hero that commits the crime is glamorized. There is nothing heroic about violence and
it is wrong to show kids that it is. Children begin to think of criminals as powerful role
Television reduces the value of life
If Wiley Coyote gets killed, the other cartoon characters
dont care, and they may even laugh. TV makes violence and even death seem funny and
unreal. Children do not learn to respect life because violent television desensitizes them.
Children cannot tell the difference between real and unreal
Television is make-believe. The people in the stories are
make-believe. They are actors and the story is not true. Young children are unable to
realize that when a character attacks someone it is not real and should not be imitated.
Think about it, many young children still believe in the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and
Santa Claus. How can children tell the difference between real violence and the
make-believe violence done with a script for television?
Television should not be violent because it acts as an
educator and has a responsibility to the children it educates. We should think about what
we watch. I cant change television programming myself but together we can be a
voice. If you are interested in letting the networks know how you feel about television
violence, you can write to them and voice your opinion. You can get a list of addresses
for the networks here.
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