The Fantastic Authority Of Sexual And Violen

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The Fantastic Authority Of Sexual And Violen Essay, Research Paper The Fantastic Authority of Sexual and Violent Television Themes Once upon a time, in the good old days Americans listened to the radio and read newspapers as they sat on their porches and sipped iced tea. The sounds of laughter echoed in the air as children chased behind ice cream trucks, played tag, hide-n-seek, and chanted Red Rover, Red Rover . Kids rode bikes and walked to school. Front doors were left unlocked, neighbors gossiped across clothes lines, and Dad s new car was an Edsel. Times sure have changed! Today, neighbors are virtual strangers; kids play video games, do drugs, and hangout on street corners. Ice cream trucks are potential undercover drug mobiles. Kids are having kids. Burglaries,

murders, and rapes are everyday occurrences in the news. Whatever happened to the good old days ? It is impossible to blame America s plight into the dark abyss of immorality on any one given factor; however, evidence suggests the growing amounts of sexually explicit and violent themes found on television is in part to blame for the loss of American society s moral compass. The television medium once thought of as a positive tool in aiding education, is now the focus of national debates and thousands of research studies. Americans are demanding a lessening of explicit material made readily available to anyone who so happens to own a remote control. The nation has focused its concerns primarily on the detrimental effects television programming has on children. According to Joe

Wheeler, the main fear is that children are in danger of being socialized into aggressive and decadent individuals through the television s powerful message (35). What is violent or sexually explicit material? Before this discussion can go any further, it is critical to clarify these terms as they are used in this argument. One may define violence as; any intentional physical harm to another individual, it is an overt expression of physical force with or without a weapon against one s self or other, and as hostile and intentional acts of one person against another through physical force (Black et al., 49). Sexual conduct, as it pertains to this discussion is defined as, everything from talking about sex, to passionate kissing, to physical groping, to simulated intercourse

(Jackson, 1). Mary Anne Banta, vice-president and board member of the National Coalition on TV Violence, documented that American children watch three to four hours of television daily. By high school graduation, they will spend 50% more time in front of the small screen than in their class rooms (1). Within this time, children will have had access to 10 violent acts per hour on network programming, 18 to 19 violent acts per hour if they flip on a cable station, and 32 violent acts per hour if they decide to watch cartoons (Levine, 29). If this isn t enough for a parent to contend with, Hollywood has thrown in some good, wholesome sex to fill in the space between punches. Out of 1,351 cable and broadcast shows monitored between October of 1997 to March of 1998, 56% of all

programs depicted sexual conduct (Jackson, 1). Two inherent dangers this explicit material poses on a child are the inevitable desensitization to and distortion of reality they will experience. Basically, children believe what they are seeing on the television is as real as life itself. The violent footage in music videos, TV series, and movies are often presented as acceptable means to solve life s adversities; you don t like what the kid said? Then go ahead and shoot him! (Wheeler, 45). Furthermore, kids are likely to become fearful and overwhelmed by the constant barrage of such violent acts. Kids begin to believe these horrid acts are daily occurrences. Larry Gross and George Gerbner at the Anneberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania explored this