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As parent's fears of crime rise, and society becomes less self-protective, children are being increasingly encouraged to spend time indoors rather than exploring alone or with their peers.

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Introduction

As parent's fears of crime rise, and society becomes less self-protective, children are being increasingly encouraged to spend time indoors rather than exploring alone or with their peers. However, with increasing working time for adults and more frequent family separations, the amount of family interaction time is also falling. With televisions readily available in almost all households, children are often left to pass hours alone in front of a screen. Television has the benefit of making it extremely easy to use a large amount of time with very little effort and no direct expenditure, and the large amount of channels available make an almost constant stream of watchable programs. However, as mentioned above, television is generally solitary, requires very little user interaction, and has many cases of supposed psychological numbing that are almost constantly being investigated both morally and scientifically. With television shows targeted to children as young as 1-year parents are asking more questions about how television may be influencing their children. Repeated exposure to any stimulus in a child's environment may forcibly impact mental growth either by setting mental habits of it's own, or by depriving the mind of other experiences. Television encourages intellectual obedience and impulsive (furthermore possibly violent) behavior. It also serves to deprive the mind of social relationships with friends and family, which promote the brains development and improve a child's ability to solve complex problems and to play. This problem is dramatized by trying to encourage youngsters toward academic learning on television when they should be investigating the three-dimensional world on their own accord. ...read more.

Middle

The trilogy of Scream films have often been blamed for copycat murders, a US judge commenting that they are a 'very good source to learn how to kill someone'. In November 2001, a Belgian lorry driver was accused of the brutal 'copycat' murder of a teenage girl, after first withdrawing to another room to put on a Scream costume. After the murder he rang his father and a colleague to confess and told police that the murder had been premeditated and motivated by the movie. There is no denying in this case and those similar to it, that the murder clearly had some connection to the relevant film. However the debate is whether the film actually caused the murder to take place or merely played a minor part in it. Even if it is concluded that the film was not the direct cause of the attack it seems likely in this case it was at least a trigger in the lorry drivers mind that may not have been pulled had he not seen the film. Many critics of the TV/violence link still claim films showing violence are unrelated to cases where they received the blame. In Great Britain major concern was expressed over media violence following press reports that the two videotapes, Child's Play 3 and Juice, influenced the two child killers of the toddler Jamie Bulger, and the killers in two more brutal murders. The two tapes were shown to the Video Consultative Council. No one on the Council could see any relevance to the Bulger killing. ...read more.

Conclusion

Television viewing is not essentially passive. Children are often cognitively active while they view, they make choices about when and what to watch that depend on their understanding and interests. Nevertheless, in the early years, children's exposure to television depends most importantly on their families. In turn, family patterns are partly governed by the social institutions and conditions in which they live. Again those variables like the living environment are very significant to how television can affect children. Most children spend more time with media than in school and much more time with media than in meaningful conversation with their parents. The early years are a critical time for the socialization of television viewing habits. Children learn about what to watch and how much to watch through the example set by parents. Much of their exposure to adult programs is a direct result of viewing choices made by others in their families. Parents who are selective or restrictive influence their children's viewing patterns, but their own viewing also serves as a powerful model for their children. Although families are crucial intermediaries of their children's exposure to television, their choices are constrained by decisions in the broadcasting industry about what to produce and broadcast and by the time requirements of jobs and schools. If television is to become a more positive power for children's development, the industry has a responsibility for supplying varied, well designed, creative programming rather than programs that are merely designed to keep a child in front of a television, rather than to educate the child while he/she watches. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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