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Tv Or No Tv Essay, Research Paper
That Seems to be the Question
TV or No TV
This is a question millions of parents are pondering across America. Violence, along with sexual content, on television is at an all time high. So are the ratings, however. Sex and violence seems to draw a larger audience. A larger audience brings networks more money. This all looks simple enough except for the fact that all of the viewers aren’t old enough determine fact from fiction or right from wrong. With violence in schools on the rise, the question arises: Does violent television programming influence our children and their actions?
According to some psychological research, violence on television affects children negatively. The three major effects of seeing violence on television are:
Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others.
Children may be more fearful of the world around them.
Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive ways toward others.
Sometimes kids act differently after they’ve been watching violent programs on television. In one study done at Pennsylvania State University, about 100 preschool children were observed both before and after watching television. Some kids watched cartoons that had many aggressive and violent acts while the others watched shows that didn’t have any sort of violence at all. The researchers picked up on a lot of real differences in behavior between the kids who watched the violent shows and those who watched nonviolent ones. The kids who watched the violent shows were more likely to strike out at playmates, argue, disobey authority and were less willing to wait for things than those children who watched nonviolent programs.
Some studies found that kids who watched many hours of television violence when they were in elementary school had a greater tendency to show a higher level of aggressive behavior as they grew older. One of these studies observed these same youngsters until they were 30 years old. The results show that the ones who had watched a lot of television when they were eight years old had significantly greater chances to be arrested and prosecuted for criminal acts as adults.
Some steps have been taken in the right direction, however. The television industry took steps toward implementing a rating system for its programming at a meeting with President Clinton in late February. The policy is to develop a ratings system for television programs that will give parents an indication of content not suitable for children.
The rating system may use letter codes (such as PG-7 for programs deemed suitable for children aged 7 and up, PG-10, PG-15, etc.), or the television industry may develop a short description of content which would be broadcast prior to the program.
Researchers and scientists can do all the studies they want to but the fact remains that children imitate what they see. Parents are treating their televisions like babysitters. Some kids have no business at all in front of the tube when movies like Terminator 2 come on. If parents would just use good old common sense, a lot of unnecessary controversy would come to an end in my opinion. Some parents just plop their kids in the living room with the TV on because they have “other” things to do and it makes them shut up. A lot of kids today are being raised by Sony and Hitachi rather than Mom and Pop.
If they only knew that extensive viewing of television violence by children causes greater aggressiveness. Sometimes, even watching a single violent program can increase aggressiveness. Children who view shows in which violence is very realistic, frequently repeated or unpunished, are more likely to imitate what they see. Some programs glorify the bad guy. The bad guy makes the good guys look stupid and gets what he wants in the process. What ever happened to The A-Team or MacGyver or Chips or Starsky and Hutch? In these shows the good guys may have had guns but they rarely got used. If they did get used (The A-Team) then nobody got shot.
The impact of TV violence may be immediately evident in the child’s behavior or may surface years later. Some young viewers can even be affected when the family atmosphere shows no tendency toward violence. This does not in any way mean that violence on television is the only source for aggressive or violent behavior, but it is a significant contributor. Parents can protect children from excessive TV violence in the following ways:
Pay attention to the programs their children are watching. Watch some with them.
Set limits on the amount of time they spend with the television.
Point out that although the actor has not actually been hurt or killed, such violence in real life results in pain or death.
Refuse to let the children see shows known to be violent, and change the channel or turn off the TV set when something offensive comes on, with an explanation of what is wrong with the program.
Disapprove of the violent episodes in front of the children, stressing the belief that such behavior is not the best way to resolve a problem.
To offset peer pressure among friends and classmates, contact other parents and agree to enforce similar rules about the length of time and type of program the children may watch.
Parents should also use these measures to prevent harmful effects from television in other areas such as racial or sexual stereotyping. The amount of time children watch TV, regardless of content, should be moderated, because it keeps children from other, more beneficial activities such as reading and playing with friends. If parents have serious difficulties setting limits, or deep concerns about how their child is reacting to television, they should contact a child and adolescent psychiatrist for help defining the problem. Parents need to learn how to tell their kids “NO.”
What do you do realistically? Everyone was a kid once. Most boys had a copy of Playboy under their mattress or went to a friend’s house to watch the latest Faces of Death. I’d even go as far to say that I’ve spent way more than a healthy amount of time staring at that glorified box in the living room. I grew up watching Looney Tunes, The Three Stooges and GI Joe but I haven’t strayed too far from the norm. My personal opinion is that you shouldn’t treat your kids like they’re stupid. They pick up on a lot more that you think. Take the time to explain to them right from wrong and fact from fiction. If they happen to be very young, then they have no business watching some TV programming. Common sense seems to be a rare commodity these days. Hopefully it won’t become totally nonexistent.
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