Televised Violence is Here to Stay

One of the most heated issues debated, ever since the invention of the

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television, is the effects of media violence on society. Many try to wipe it out,

but will undoubtedly fail. It has great educational and entertainment value.

There have even been studies showing that viewing television violence will

actually relieve stress. For these reasons, televised violence, including fights,

with or without weapons, resulting in bloodshed, will never diminish.

Many parents try to shelter their kids from the violence portrayed on

television. They only look at the negative aspect because the parents complain

by saying the violence only teaches their children how to kill and to get away

with it (Leonard 92).

Television is the most credible and believable source of information on

the reality of the world. It teaches that the world is a violent and

untrustworthy place (Bennett 168). It reports on how the world really works.

Televised violence cultivates dominant assumptions about how conflict and power

work in the world.

Violence is an important fact of life (Howitt 17). It is very much part

of the human condition. The media cannot pretend that violence does not exist.

Televised violence orients people to their environment. It helps them

understand their world. It serves as a mirror in which people examine themselves,

their institutions, and their values (Comstock 357).

The exposure of children to televised violence is functional to the

extent that it prepares them to cope with reality. Conflict is important for

children to grow up with. It is part of their life. Kids should not be lead to

think that nothing is going to happen to them (Comstock 354). Exposure to

violence in childhood is not a bad idea. Ghetto children see violence unknown to

other children. They have to live with it, and because it is so hateful, they do

not get influenced by it. People who grew up in a tough ghetto situation regard

others who did not as patsies, naive, and easy to use.

Children learn a good deal of their society's culture by viewing the

violent television shows. People acquire definitions of appropriate behavior and

interpretations of reality from the mass media. Lower income persons often think

they are learning the style and etiquette of middle-class society from

television programs (Ball 305).

The viewing of televised violence helps children academically, as well

as socially. One study shows that children entering school, raised on the

violent television shows, picked up a one-year advantage in vocabulary over

children whose parents prohibit the viewing of violence (Clark 136). Here, the

positive effects clearly outweigh the negative.

There have been many attempts to ban violence from television. The

majority of the viewers prevent the idea through the ratings. There is a

discrepancy between public attitudes and private behavior; while people may

publicly condemn television violence, they may actually enjoy it in private

(Howitt 6).

The majority of people get whatever they want in the mass media. There

is substantial public demand for violence. The key question is: Why? To a large

extent, the answer to this question lies in the social and cultural structure of

society. Violence constitutes a significant and recurring theme in the value

structure (Leonard 91).

There can be little doubt that topics of violence are of intense

interest to the public and attract large audiences. Television gives people what

they want to see. In entertainment, it is a more acceptable truism to assert

that the supply creates the demand. Leisure time cries for fulfillment

(Lineberry 24).

Violence is the dominant theme of all mass media. The audience ratings

do correlate positively with the percentages of violent programs. Violent types

of programs gain great popularity; networks regard violence as good bait. It is

a tool for attracting audiences (Howitt 124).

Mass media organizations spend countless hours producing and presenting

entertainment, and the American public spend a comparable amount of time in

consumption of such productions. The media identifies entertainment drama with

conflict. Conflict translates into action, and action is equal with violence

(Lineberry 21). The networks make violence their prime test for inclusion in

their content.

The significance of violence is that it helps define, move, and resolve

dramatic situations (Comstock 29). Violence allows conflict to be quickly

establish or resolve; it is visual and understandable; it is attractive to large

segments of the audience. There is indeed violence in the real world, and to

ignore it in drama is in effect to lie.

There will never be a cure for the addiction to violence. Media viewers

hunger for the violent action on the television. The people speak through

ratings, showing that violent programs are exceedingly popular (Lineberry 23).

Some parents believe that violence, whether portrayed as fantasy or

reality, will arouse aggression or increase aggressive behavior. They think it

will harden their kids to human pain and suffering. These parents also believe

that the televised violence will lead them to accept violence as a solution to

personal and social problems, creating an increase in social delinquency

(Zuckerman 64).

However, such exposure has precisely the opposite effect. Viewing

violence on television will allow the media user to discharge in fantasy what he

might otherwise act out (Ball 239). It provides a safe and harmless outlet for

human frustrations and aggressive-hostile impulses in much the same manner as

hitting a punching bag.

The viewing of aggressive scenes brings about a reduction in the

aggressive drives of the viewer. Children get rid of hostility feelings in an

innocuous way by watching violent television programs. These programs provide a

necessary social function by presenting young people with a harmless outlet for

latent hostility and by enabling them to relieve their pent-up aggression

(Larsen 143).

It is wrong to blame television for outbreaks of violence and the

alleged increase in crime and delinquency rates. Many factors other than

exposure to the media, such as relationships and experiences with parents,

brothers, sisters, teachers, and companions, cause real life violence.

Interaction in primary groups (such as the family) develops the human

personality. As a child matures, he undergoes a process of social preparation

for adult roles. Much of this preparation ordinarily takes place in the family,

while some of it occurs in play groups and formal education. It occurs all the

time the child is awake and active, even when he and the persons with whom he

interacts are not consciously concerned with shaping his character. He becomes a

residue of what he has done and experienced, which in turn depends on his

genetic endowment and the social heritage into which he was born. If there is

any "social damage," it is the faults of the home, the school, the neighborhood,

or other social settings (Larsen 141).

Exposure to violent stimuli has no effect on already established

attitudinal commitments regarding violent mortality. Empirical research has

found no evidence that exposures to explicit violent materials play a

significant role in the causation of delinquency or criminal behavior among

youth and adults (Clark 131). Television violence does not cause one to act out

aggressive actions.

Although many critics object to the viewing of televised violence, there

are too many reasons explaining why it will never disappear. Parents who

prohibit their children from viewing violent topics will shelter them too much

from the reality of the world. Violence on the television is essential. People

need to know what is happening in the world (Tuchscherer 95). Those who would

prefer to avoid exposure to the media's portrayal of violence have the option to

turn off the television set. Doing this, however, will only result in their loss.