TV Violence and Children

Children from the ages 6-11 spend more time watching television than

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they do in the classroom. The level of violence that they see on prime time

television is about five violent acts per hour and the level of violence on

Saturday that includes cartoons morning programming is about 20 to 25 violent

acts per hour. At this rate, the average American child will see 8,000 murders

before they finish elementary school!

As a child sits in front of baby-sitting television, her eyes are glued

to the viewing of shoot em' up rip em' up kind of entertainment. We have to

remember that the entertainment media plays an extremely powerful role in the

formation of values and morals, to all youngsters' minds of all ages, all

socioeconomic levels, and all levels of intelligence. These programs "play"

with kids' minds; these programs have a tremendous negative effect on our

children. We, as a society, must save our future and take an active role in

protecting our children from the violence on our television.

Television cartoons often feature dehumanized characters, such as

Transformers and the Ninja Turtles, who engage in the destructive acts of

violence by fighting our real life social problems. With acts of violence, kids

learn to think that's how they should solve their problems. MTV's Beavis and

Butt-head encourages fire, smoking, foul language, drinking and stealing. With

these bad attitudes seen depicted as normal on TV shows kids are lead to

believe it is cool be have that type attitude Is this what we really want our

society, especially our younger generation, to believe?

If we truly thought that television had no impact on viewers, why would

companies spend billion of dollars on television advertising? If commercials

have an effect, then so do the shows that the children watch. For example,

youngsters mimic many of the violent acts that they see such as Beasvis and But-

head. One day, a five year old boy watch his favorite cartoon, Beavis and Butt-

head, and sees the characters pull one of their famous arson stunts. And the

result, he sets his own house ablaze and his younger sister is killed.

Children do learn from television especially when they lack direct exposure

or first hand experience with violent grotesque acts. These do take a toll on

children and the way they will view life as they grow up. I know some who that

are sweet, innocent, full of dreams, hopes, laughter, and life. These kids have

learned about there environment from their parents, not by watching television.

When I am a parent, I will not show programs with bodies flying around the room

and blood spurting ever where. At this point, the parents' role must be to

watch television with their children so they can help children understand that

violence hurts people physically and emotionally.

Our society should take a long hard look in the mirror; the values of

today's youth are reflections of the values of their elders. We should remember

the words of the father in Harry Chapin's song "Cat's in the Cradle" when he

comes to realize his son "He's grown up just like me. My boy was just like me."

Violence on the television is a very real problem is our culture. We

most see that it only causes negative effects on our society. It is hard to

tell if the problem is the media or if the problem is in our values as a culture.

We must help turn back the growing culture of violence as quickly as possible.

The human toll on our society is too great to look the other way.