Running Head: Reality Television and Children 1
Values Portrayed On Reality Television Programs
Instructor Bernadette Anayah
October 4, 2010
Reality Television and Children 2 Values Portrayed On Reality Television Programs
Television violence affects all who watch it, but its biggest effect is on children. Children’s minds are like a blank page, and television is writing violence on that page. Television violence is one of the causes of aggression and violent behavior in children. This problem is not new, but in recent years it has gotten worse. In the last few years, violence in television programs has increased greatly. A study in 2000-2001 compared to a study in 1998-1999 showed violence is, in fact, on the rise. Verbal violence and coarse language alone increased by a staggering 78% (Lavers). How did violence become so prevalent on television? Sadly, violence is what people want to see; it sells. Society has slowly put its guard down allowing violence to creep in. Now we are faced with this detrimental situation which has been created. Reality television has affected the morals and minds of our young children in today’s society. The values portrayed in reality television have had a big impact on the morals of our adolescent children in today’s society. Young children and adolescents have no respect for older people, parents or people in authority. Due to these issues it is felt that reality television is very harmful to our children and something needs to be done to stop the harm to our young people’s cognitive thinking. Young children, starting at about age three, begin to really watch a television program designed for their age. They will begin to imitate what they have seen on the television. Children ages six through about ten often do not fully understand the difference between reality,
Reality Television and Children 3 and what they see on T.V. (Ledingham). With that in mind, consider the violent content in television programs. A recent content analysis, The National Television Violence Survey, had several interesting findings in regard to violence in television programs: 1. 61% of television programs contain some violence, and only 4 percent of television programs with violent content featured an “antiviolence” theme. 2. 44% of the violent interactions on television involve perpetrators who have some attractive qualities worthy of emulation. 3. 43% of violent scenes involve humor either directed at the violence or used by the characters involved in the violence. 4. Nearly 75% of violent scenes on television feature no immediate punishment for, or condemnation of violence. 5. 40% of programs feature “bad” characters who are never or rarely punished for their aggressive actions. (Office) Many television shows do not portray the harmful consequences of violence, and if they do, it is in a unrealistic way. Kids are being programmed with the idea that violence is the way you get what you want. The disadvantages to violence on television far outweigh the advantages- which are none. Research suggests that television is poisoning our children, and we are allowing this to happen. The research encountered a few complications in constructing a methodology for this study (PTC 2001-2002). This was due to the fact that reality series are designed to last only a couple of weeks. Shows like smack down, cartoons, and cop shows are just a few of the reality shows that are so full of violence and it is causing our children to think this is the way they are to Reality Television and Children 4...
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