Violence is very wide spread in society today and is growing at an alarming rate among our children. Everyday we seem to hear of children beating on one another, ganging up on the elderly, invading homes, and even murdering people. One has to question how much effect different sorts of media have on our children. From the time we are very young we can be exposed to seeing and hearing horrible acts of violence on the television and radio, and through video games. Sadly, I believe this is where it all starts – in the comfort of our own homes.
Over and over again children watch violent programs and play video games with the goal of killing others. Eventually many of them find it amusing and enjoyable to see others being hurt and killed. Parents, in general, are not protecting their kids from this invasion of media violence. Many children laugh at violence and think it’s funny to hurt others. According to David Grossman, a former psychology professor and author of a Pulitzer-nominated book on the psychology of violence, the most dangerous of all media is that which teaches the child to laugh.
Once you get beyond the early age where kids are stunned and mesmerized by TV and can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality, you find they begin to laugh at the violence”. (Grierson, Adbusters 2) Children who view a lot of television become hardened to violence. “ Media violence systematically brutalizes and desensitizes its recruits”. (Grierson, Adbusters 1) Children are entertained by violence so often on television that they no longer find it offensive.
Watching programs that glorify violence, such as “Monday Night Wrestling”, give children the impression that hurting thers is amusing. Even though young children have some understanding of what it means to pretend, they are developmentally unable to distinguish clearly between fantasy and reality. ” (Grierson, Adbusters 1) Children not only commit acts of violence but they actually enjoy it. They are conditioned to enjoy violence from an early age, often while curled up on the living room couch. “Children watch vivid pictures of human suffering and death, and they learn to associate it with their favorite soft drink and candy bar”. (Grierson, Adbusters 2)
Many imes over, disgusting scenes are viewed with Mom and Dad during family times together. TV violence does not kill you. It destroys your violence immune system and conditions you to derive pleasure from destruction. ” (Grierson, Adbusters 2) Kids who play video games get a sense of pleasure when they “kill the enemy” and win the game. Grossman, who spent time as a lieutenant-colonel in the army states that something psychologists call “classical conditioning” can take place in our children when they act out violently, such as n video games, and are rewarded for it, as they are by winning the game.
He calls classical conditioning “the forced association of an emotional state with an action-to train its soldiers not only to kill but to like it”. (Grierson, Adbusters 1) Are parents doing enough to protect their children from media violence? They provide comfortable homes for their children. Most parents also provide televisions, stereos and video games. Myriam Miedzian, a social philosopher, insists, “By the time American kids are 18 years old they have watched 26,000 murders on television alone….
It is contrary to common sense and research to think you can create such a culture and not have any effects. ” (Benson/Roehlkepartain Youth Violence 1) Even parents who try to limit their kids’ TV viewing by installing a V-chip, are leaving the decision of which programs are watched in the hands of the networks and “they are doing a horrendous job of it”. (Grierson, Adbusters 5) Parents seem to be much better judges of what and how much television their children should watch. Video games and TV are often used as babysitters for parents who are busy, tired or lazy.
Instead of being active and creative, children are entertained by the media. “We have powerful data, linking TV-viewing with obesity in kids…We have some of the smartest, most creative people in the nation being paid vast sums of money to convince your child to eat sugary cereal. ” (Grierson, Adbusters 5) Violence has escalated amongst our young people to the point that they find it amusing and enjoyable to see and take part in acts of violence. Parents have let the media invade their homes so that violent programs and games are taken for granted and seen as an acceptable form of entertainment.
Parents, in general, need to wake up and realize that it could be their children who are someday beating others, invading people’s homes and murdering, all because they have been exposed to violence day in and day out through the media. If parents care and want to raise kids with good morals, they must do it themselves rather than expecting television and other forms of media entertainment to raise their children for them. Their childrens’ exposure to the media should be limited and carefully monitored. This would be a step in the right direction to raising loving, non-violent children.