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TV Violence Is Harming Our Children

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TV Violence Is Harming Our Children What's the most violent thing you've ever seen on television? A murder? An assassination? A deadly explosion? A war report on the nightly news? Whatever it was, the chances are, that image is etched in your memory. Now, we're balanced young people. We know those images won't do us any harm. Or do we? Could it be that even well-balanced people like ourselves are somehow affected by TV violence? I'd like to talk a little today about some of the things I've learned lately about TV violence, and I hope that by the time I'm done, you might see the whole issue a little differently. Let's start by answering this question: What actually constitutes TV violence? After all, one person's boxing match could be another person's blood sport. So right at the outset, we have some difficulty in nailing down the issue. Not surprisingly, a lot of people have already tried to tackle this. After all, there's a lot of money at stake in the TV business. ...read more.


A 1993 survey in Electronic Media magazine revealed that 74% of TV station managers agreed that TV was too violent. So, now we know that the violence is there, what do we know about its effects? The long-term effect, according to some studies, is very damaging. Many psychologists seem to agree that the more violence viewed, the more accepting children are of violence, the more it desensitizes them, and the more likely they are to become violent. Drs. Eron and Huesmann of the University of Illinois carried out a 22 year study of violent behavior. They found that the quarter of the children with the heaviest exposure to violence in 1960 at ages nine and ten were found to be convicted of criminal offences during their adult lives 150% more often than the quarter of children with the smallest exposure to violent entertainment. Other researchers have looked at broader issues such as personality changes in young people. ...read more.


You don't have to be a couch potato. You can assume responsibility by becoming media-aware. Here are some possibilities to think about: Think about which sorts of violence you condone on a personal level, and how your beliefs are being confirmed (or neglected) through the mass media. � Talk to children about the realities of violence and its effects. � Ask them their opinions on the violence they witness on TV, video games, and the movies, and discuss the differences between reality and fantasy. � Discuss problem-solving alternatives other than violence with children I'll admit that the effect of media violence on viewers depends on many things. I know that a lot of it depends on the sociological and psychological makeup of the audience. But if we're worried about the level of violence in our society, if we're worried about our safety, then we should be looking for some solutions. And if we can at least be giving children the message that violence is not okay, and that what they see on TV is often bad and wrong, then I guarantee you: we will be helping to turn the problem around. ...read more.

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