Television Violence Essay Research Paper The Effects

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Television Violence Essay, Research Paper The Effects of Television Violence on Children Throughout the history of television, producers have always been challenged with the task of capturing an audience in hopes of keeping the television ratings high, thus maintaining financial advertising. Subsequently, the pressure to keep audiences entertained resorts broadcasters to programming shows with random acts of violence. Whether in seemingly innocent cartoons or dramatic television shows, many children s television programs involve a substantial amount of violence in one form or another. Since the advent of television there has been a growing concern about the apparent effects of violence on the attitudes, values and behaviors of children. Psychological research has found that

televised violence has numerous effects on children’s behavior at different ages. Much of the research studied has mainly focused on the effects of violence on television and aggression expressed by children. “From a biological perspective, it may be that children who are predisposed to aggression watch violent television. That is, there could be a bi-directional relationship between violence viewed on television and levels of aggression in children.” (Freedman 1984). Consequently, violence shown on television is unhealthy for children because the violence shown causes children to more likely behave aggressively, become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others and become more fearful of the world around them, Yet, in spite of all the data collected and researched

by prominent psychologists and sociologists alike, many critics argue that violence does not have any effect on children. They do not believe a conclusive body of evidence exists to justify all the research and data collected. According to the American Psychological Association, “In spite of this accumulated evidence, broadcasters and scientists continue to debate the link between the viewing TV violence and children’s aggressive behavior. Some broadcasters believe that there is not enough evidence to prove that TV violence is harmful.” (American Psychological Association’s 1992). Critics such as Todd Gitlin, a leading U.S. commentator and author on media and culture issues, publicly deny television violence as having any correlation with children aggression.

“Television violence is mainly redundant, stupid, and ugly. The deepest problem with TV violence is not that it causes violence – the evidence for this is very thin. The problem is that the profiteers of television in the United States – the networks, the program suppliers, and the advertisers – are essentially subsidized (e.g., via tax write-offs) to program this formulaic stuff.” (Media-Awareness Network 1997). However, the “social learning theory” manages to successfully address these criticisms while maintaining its status as the major single theory used to explain the influence of viewing violent programs on children s levels of aggression. Social learning theory defines human behavior as a continuous interaction between cognitive, behavioral and environmental

influences of the individual. The social learning theory claims that children mimic violent scenes from television, believing that this type of behavior is acceptable. This theory is the main argument for the side arguing that violence on television leads to aggression in children. A prominent advocate of the social learning theory is Albert Bandura. The social learning theory of Bandura emphasizes the importance of observing and imitating the behaviors, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others. Acquisition and performance are two basic principles that are involved with observational learning. Acquisition describes the learned behavior through observation. Performance is the process by which the observer acts out the learned behavior. Although it must be noted that