Violence And Media Essay Research Paper Television

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Violence And Media Essay, Research Paper Television programming today can be a powerful influence in developing value systems and shaping behavior (Bee, 1998: 261-262). Unfortunately, much of today’s television programming is violent. For instance, the level of violence during Saturday morning cartoons is higher than the level of violence during prime time. There are about six to eight violent acts per hour during prime time, versus twenty to thirty violent acts per hour on Saturday morning cartoons (“Killing Screens,” 1994). Also, well before children finish their grade school, they will witness up to 8,000 murders and 100,000 violent acts on television (Levine, 1995: 143). Moreover, children spend more time learning about life through media than in any other manner.

The average child spends approximately twenty-seven hours per week watching television, which means that children spend most of their time only watching television and sleeping (Minow & LaMay, 1995: 32-33). Also, it has been proven by many studies that there is a positive relationship between television violence and behavioral problems in children. For example, research by Wood, Wong, and Chachere (1991:378) have shown that “exposure to media violence increase viewers’ aggression.” This paper will discuss that repeated exposure of young children and adolescents can negatively effect children’s behavior. This negative behavior can be acted out by imitation of violent acts observed on television, by accepting violence as a way to solve problems, and by desensitization

to the amount of violence seen on television. Also, it will discuss how parents and teachers can prevent excessive viewing of television violence in children and adolescents. Children between the ages of one to four cannot always distinguish reality from fantasy. Television programs for people of all ages is more often than not a fantasy world, yet young children do not understand that their favorite character does not exists in the real world. For example, because young children do not understand the line between fantasy and reality, one may find children “crawling down storm drains looking for them [Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]” (Minow & LaMay, 1995: 33). This example clearly represents that children do not understand that their favorite characters are only made-up

characters and that they do not exist in reality. However, many children may act upon their favorite movie or film character in such way, that they will try to imitate them. Young children instinctively imitate actions, or rather model human behavior by observation without always possessing the intellect or maturity to determine if such actions are appropriate. For example, in Bandura’s modeling studies children expressed more aggressive behavior toward the blow-up doll called Bobo, when they observed an adult model “verbally and physically attack the doll in real life, on film, or in a cartoon (Westen, 1996: 206). Therefore, due to the televisions’ programs role-model capacity to promote real world violence, there is a deep concern that watching violent programs on

television will cause children to become more aggressive. As a result of viewing violent programs on television, children may become more aggressive toward other children, use violence and aggressiveness in their play, and use violence to solve their problems (Buckingham, 1997: 33; Abbot, 1997: 112). Also, it has been suggested that young children will more likely imitate violent acts seen on television and model themselves to the character they like, if “the perpetrator of the violence is rewarded or at least not punished and when violence is presented as justified” (Ledingham et al., 1993:4). A study has shown that children will more likely “pretend” or “imitate” the aggressor from a violent television program, when the aggressor is presented as the “good guy,”