Most children consume their time in front of the television screen for about three hours a day. The estimated number of hours that can be spent by an average child in watching television is 5,000 by the time he/she enters first grade and the estimated number of hours by the end of high school is 25,000---more than the time used for other necessary things like studying. Moreover, television has been a potent agency of communication and socialization since it provides the child with experiences that shape their attitudes and affect their behaviors. Thus, the influence of TV violence to the children particularly in the Cebu can cause negative changes in their behavior.
An experiment shows that children when exposed to televised violence, exhibited the aggressive behavior they have observed – hitting, kicking and using hostile language. Prior to that time, the prevailing theory was that televised violence drained aggressive impulses. This is also the reason why television has become a growing source of parental anxiety where parents worry about the amount and kinds of program their children watch. This study aims to talk about TV violence and its effects on the behavior of the children and the ways to handle it. In order to achieve this goal, this paper is organized into three sections. The first section helps us know about the children’s understanding of television. The second section discusses the influence and effects of TV violence to the behavior of Filipino children which is the main concern of this study. And the third section offers suggestions in handling and regulating TV violence.
Presentation of Data
Children’s Understanding of TV
According to research, before age seven, children have difficulty integrating separate scenes into a continuous story line. Instead, they treat each scene as an isolated incident and are unable to relate a TV character's behavior to its prior motives and eventual consequences. Thus, young children cannot see the connection between violence and its consequences if the perpetrator of violence gets to be punished only at the end of the program. Studies show that young children recall little information that is central to the plot of a story. Their difficulty ranges from their inability to differentiate what is essential to the plot and what is nonessential. Character actions, especially those showing physical actions and confrontations, are remembered better than scenes offering explanations for their actions. Children find it hard to recall scenes recounting inner feelings that explain previous events. Young children also have a hard time distinguishing make-believe from reality. A five-year-old child wondered why an actor who "died" in one TV program "came back to life" in another show; and if Superman can fly, why can't he (the child) even if he wears a Superman cape. Children observe that cartoon characters manage to recover from severe violent acts almost immediately. This kind of exposure could lead them to interpret that in real life, people who are victims of violent acts do not really get hurt at all.
A conversation between an author and a six-year-old clearly illustrates the kind of message a child gets from a cartoon program: "Why is GI Joe your favorite show?"
"Because it has a lot of fighting."
"Who would you like to be like when you grow up?"
"I want to be like Rambo because he has a big gun."
"What happens to the bad guys you shoot?"
"And what happens to you?"
Young children who watch a lot of television tend to believe that it is all right to hit someone if one is angry and have a good reason. (Source: http://www.childprotection.org.ph)
Influence and Effects of TV Violence
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