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.

When you start debating what should or should not be shown, there’s a lot riding on the outcome.

Just ask the people who produce the shows.

Ask the networks who collect the advertising revenue.

One group which has made an attempt to define TV violence is The National Coalition on Television Violence.

They have created Media Violence Guidelines, which describe violent acts as those that:

· Involve an agent and a victim.

· Contain an expression of overt force.

· Are committed with deliberate and hostile intent.

Their guidelines do not include accidents, emotional displays, horseplay, slapstick, threats, and sport activities as acts of violence.

Now, if we accept that as a fair measure of media violence, and then apply that to what is actually being shown, this is what we find, according to the Coalition’s own publication - the NCTV News - for June 1991.

· An average of 9.5 violent acts per hour appeared on prime time TV in 1989-90.

· Saturday morning network programming featured 20 violent acts per hour in 1989-90.

· By the age of 18, a typical child has witnessed an estimated 200,000 acts of violence, including 25,000 murders.

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In his book, The Index of Cultural Indicators, William Bennett reports the approximate number of deaths recorded in five popular movies:

· Die Hard 2 264

· Rambo 3 106

· The Wild Bunch 89

· Robocop II 74

· Total Recall 74

And there’s more. Many of the people in charge of broadcasting this content agree.

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, ...

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