Dr. Warren Washington
February 14, 2006
Television Violence and Children
Does television promote violence and crime among children? Although most people look at television as an entertaining and educational way to spend time, some people think there is too much violence in television and it is influencing our youth into becoming aggressive in nature and to tolerate violence. Now scientists have discovered that all the violence in television can in fact mold a young innocent person into becoming a monster right under our eyes, just by watching television. It might sound absurd, but think about it. It is 5:00 pm and you feel in the mood to relax and watch a talk show after a stressful day at work, only to find out the topic is, “He killed my sister and I want REVENGE!” It sounds odd but most people like the thrill of violence. Why do you think “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th” were so popular? What do you think goes through a young person’s mind when the bad guy is shot dead by the good guy and everyone applauds? The child learns that it is fine to hurt someone as long as they are bad, so if cousin Sam takes my toy, it is ok to hit him because he was bad. This type of behavior can promote a false idea in a child’s mind of how the real world deals with criminals.
All major television networks contribute to this problem. If you think about it, it is not uncommon to turn on the news or open a newspaper and find out someone was murdered because of the color of their skin or their face was slashed up because they were pretty and someone was jealous. Many of these senseless violent acts have been committed all over the country. Acts of violence are committed everyday by high school and even elementary school children. Psychologists and scientists have been trying to figure out what is causing these violent acts among our youth and how to stop it. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. They have been researching television violence and how it affects our children’s behavior for many years and know that the more violence a child watches, the more violent that child reacts. The recent increase of crimes committed by younger children has put a lot of pressure on researchers to find answers for our nation’s future. It has also put pressure on the government to pass new laws to protect our children from the violence. Many of the studies conducted point to television violence as the primary influence in our children’s aggressive behavior. Even though results from many of the studies point to the violence content which is present in today’s television programming, television networks have denounced any allegations against them (Abelard, 1999). We still have to consider that other factors such as the child’s environment contribute to their behavior; we must not ignore the researchers’ findings. They must be carefully studied and examined for validity. In this paper I am going to review some of the studies conducted, research their findings, and explain how the results on television violence relate to our children’s violent behavior.
Society is in an uproar due to the increase in violent acts by young people and the part television may play in these events. Among these, the killing of a New York principal while looking for a missing student. The New York Times states, “The killing happened around 9:40 am when Mr. Patrick Daly, Principal of Public School 51 was making his way through cold and rain to am apartment building complex in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn.” This is one of the most notorious crime-ridden neighborhoods of New York City. Mr. Daly was simply looking for one of his students who earlier that morning had left the school upset because of a fight with a classmate (Fried, 1993). “Mr. Daly was walking on a rain-slickened sidewalk of barren concrete, when the gunfire crackled shortly before noon, the...