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Violence Essay, Research Paper

In society today, violence is any deliberate act involving physical force or the use of a weapon in an attempt to achieve a goal, further a cause, stop the action of another, act out an angry impulse, defend oneself from attack, secure a material reward, or intimidate others. Television is a display of violence. Although when first invented it was used as a family entertaining device, its purpose has been greatly altered. Now with over sixty channels to choose from, people of all ages can easily find a show that will grab their attention. This, however, is not the problem. The problem is caused when the person starts to change their daily routine in order to tune in to their favorite programs (Husemann 166). With new programs being created more often now than ever before, it is easier for children to become very attached to a certain shows (Husemann 166). Even though the program is aiding the child, it is also causing an addiction to a show at a very young age (Husemann 166). An addiction to a television show is repulsive when it jeopardizes the life of a human being (Husemann 167).

The effects of television violence are crucial to a developing child (Raspberry 6). They can be long lasting, if not never-ending. Violence seems to do a lot of harm when it looks harmless (Goodman 7). What are the effects of television violence on children?

More than two-thirds of Americans believe television contributes to violence, erodes family values and fosters a distrust of government (Poll Points 11). There are many factors that influence television violence. Violence becomes such an everyday scene for people that it makes them numb to the real world (Husemann 166). Almost every video game has a violent theme. For example, Mortal Kombat, Wrestling, and even Star Wars. What ever happened to Mario and Luigi or simple sports games? Now it all has to be blood, guts, and gore to sell.

In spite of public outcry, congressional threats, and industry promises, violence on broadcast TV and cable increased by about forty-one percent over the last two years (Hickey 38). Television shows like Cops, WWF, Jerry Springer, and even cartoons flood the ?must see? hours (Goodman 7). Most movies that are released are no longer action but just plain violent. The so-called ?action? in these films grabs attention and keeps people interested (Goodman 7). Love stories and comedies do not bring in as much money as action films. Pulp Fiction, for one, is full of drugs, guns and blood. Sadly, when a person sees these gruesome acts they laugh it off.

TV shows show people how to dress, act, what to buy, etc. Values are based on what is shown to a person and no longer earned from their parents or peers (Husemann 169). The fact is that TV shows reflect negative behavior (Husemann 170).

This negative behavior brings plenty of consequences. The violence on television is able to be more exciting and enthralling than the violence that is normally viewed on the streets (Husemann 170). Instead of just seeing a police officer handing a ticket to a speeding violator, the officer can beat the offender bloody on television (Husemann 170). However, children do not always realize this is not the way things are handled in real life (Husemann 170). They come to expect it, and when they do not see it, the world becomes bland and in need of violence (Husemann 170). The children can create the violence that their mind craves (Husemann 170). The television violence can cause actual violence in a number of ways.

As explained above, after viewing the television violence the world becomes bland in comparison (Husmann 170). The child needs to create violence to keep satisfied (Husemann 170). Also, the children find the violent characters on television fun to imitate. Children do imitate the behavior of models such as those portrayed in television, movies, etc. They do so because the ideas that are shown to them on television are more attractive to the viewer than those the viewer can think up (Husemann 170).

In most films, shows and videos examined, violence is often portrayed as harmless or without consequence, but this does not make it okay to kill someone as long as they are a villain (Husemann 169). Violent acts like this are seen so much that most people become less and less affected by it when it becomes the true consequences (Husemann 169). Little kids are getting a hold of guns and shooting their friends accidentally because they are unaware of the reality (Husemann 169).

One of the lesson children learns watching television is that there are few consequences to the person who commits violence, or to the victim (Goodman 7). In seventy-three percent of the scenes, the violence went unpunished (Goodman 7). In nearly half of the programs with slugfests and shootouts, the victim miraculously never appeared harmed (Goodman 7). In fifty-eight percent they showed no pain (Goodman 7). In fact, only sixteen percent of the programs showed any long-term problems?physical, emotional or financial (Goodman 7).

Children are greatly affected by television violence. Not only can television violence affect youth, but it can also affect the adulthood of the child (Husemann 171). Some psychologists and psychiatrists feel that continued exposure to such violence might unnaturally speed the impact of the adult world on the child (Husemann 171). This can force the child into a kind of premature maturity.

Television violence can destroy the mind of a child (Husemann 171). For some, television at its worst, is an assault on a the mind of a child, an insidious influence that upsets moral balance and makes a child prone to aggressive behavior as it warps their perception to the real world (Husemann 171).

Television substitutes easy pictures for the discipline of reading and concentrating and transforming the young viewer into a hypnotized non-thinker (Husemann 171). Television violence can disrupt the learning and thinking ability of a child which will cause life long problems (Husemann 171). If a child cannot do well in school, their whole future is at stake (Husemann 171).

There are three types of effects that can be caused by television violence. The aggression effect includes so-called copycat violence (Raspberry 6). Younger children are affected more than older ones, boys more than girls are. In terms of types of show, the violently erotic are the worst (Raspberry 6). Studies show that there is more copying of violent acts when the violence is justified and/or rewarded in the script, when it involves how-to specifics and when victims of violence are shown quickly recovering from their injuries (Raspberry 6). The victim effect principally involves an increased level of fearfulness about the world in general (Raspberry 6). The bystander effect is that televised violence increases the degree of callousness and indifference to actual violence (Raspberry 6). People who watch TV violence become less helping toward the victims of violence and display more tolerance for higher and higher levels of aggression (Raspberry 6). Understanding the relationship between television and behavior may help not only to reduce aggression, but also actually enable a person to increase desirable effects instead.

Even though there are many problems with television violence today, there are certain precautions or actions a parent can take to prevent their child from being exposed to it. Perhaps the most important to prevent children from watching television violence is to stop it where it starts. Parents should sit with their children, talk about the violence, and monitor their viewing that sort of thing (Raspberry 6). Various channel-blocking devices could be helpful in locking out certain cable channels (Raspberry 6). Parents can use a v-chip, a device to help parents block out programs rated too violent.

The American Medical Association is releasing guidelines to help doctors counsel parents about the television and movie choices of their children (Violence in Media 13). The guidelines urge parents to know what their children are watching and to limit the amount of television their children watch. For movies, parents should learn about or even screen the films before their children do (Violence in Media 13).

The parents are the role models from which the child learns (Husemann 172). If the child can learn at an early age that violence on television is bad, then the child can turn the set off when something inappropriate comes on (Husemann 172). Education should start at home.

Fixing the problems of children and television violence is not easy. There are many factors that have to be considered and people to be convinced. Every effect has a consequence. This problem, will, no doubt, never go away and continue to get worse as years go by. However, there are measures that can be taken to prevent the children from ever being exposed to such things.

Much research into the topic of the effects of television violence on children has been conducted. All of the results seem to point in the same direction. Every child is different and television has a different effect or reaction on each child.


Goodman, Ellen. “It’s Not Just the Violence, But How It Is Being Presented.” State Journal-Register 16 Feb. 1996: 7.

Hickey, Neil. “New Violence Survey Released.” TV Guide 13 Aug. 1995: 38-39.

Husemann, Rowell L. “Social Channels Tune TV Effects.” Science News 14 Sep. 1995: 166-72.

“Poll Points the Finger at Sex, Violence on TV.” State Journal-Register 7 Apr. 1996: 11.

Raspberry, William. “Can We Do Anything About TV Violence.” State Journal-Register 4 Feb. 1995: 6.

“Violence in Media Linked to Teenage Crime by AMA.” State Journal-Register 10 Sep. 1996: 13.

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