Summary: The effects of violence in children's cartoons on their behavior with the conclusion that violence on television harms children and that the media should show self-discipline in not airing too much of this type of programming. Television is everywhere these days, not just in our living rooms but in bathrooms, kitchens, doctor's offices, grocery stores, airplanes, and classrooms. We have access to TV virtually anywhere and as American's we are taking advantaged of it. Adults aren't the only ones watching TV; children today are watching more TV than ever before. TV has even become known as "America's baby-sitter." (Krieg). Meaning that parents are now using the television as a way of entertaining their children while they attempt to accomplish other things such as cooking and cleaning. Most American's would agree that children watch a lot of TV. It's common to see a child sitting in front of the TV on a Saturday morning with their Coco Pebbles watching their favorite superhero. This sounds harmless enough. However, many parents and teachers across the country are worried about the cartoons their children are watching. They feel that the cartoons have become too violent and are having negative long-term effects on children. It is common to see young boys pretending to shoot one another, while jumping on the couch and hiding in closets as a sort of make-believe fort. But parents say that children are learning these behaviors from cartoons and imitating them. Others however, disagree, they say that violence in cartoons does not effect children and that children need this world of fantasy in their lives. They say that children would show these same behaviors regardless of the content of the cartoons they watch.
On average and American child will watch 32 acts of violence per hour on TV. This number has skyrocketed from 20 years ago when it was just 12 acts per hour (Krieg). This being said a child will have watched anywhere from 8,000 to 100,000 acts of violence before they even finish elementary school (Weiss). While adults can watch violence on TV and understand that it is not real, children on the other hand have difficulty differentiating the between what is real and what is make believe.
Those arguing that children's cartoons are too violent say that these cartoons will greatly affect these children's behaviors growing up. Violence is a learned behavior and therefore children need to see violence in order to become violence themselves (Krieg). If a child is viewing their favorite character hitting, kicking, and beating up the "bad guys" a child will learn these behaviors too. And because most of these cartoons do not show any consequences for these behaviors and in a sense glorify violence, children think that this is an acceptable form of problem solving (Benham). Children also experience other negative effects from viewing these violent cartoons such as, increased anxiety, antisocial behaviors, and nightmares containing TV characters (Chandler).
It was found in one study that what a children watches on TV at age 8 will be one of the best predictors of how aggressive they will be as an adult. The children's TV viewing outweighed other factors such as child-rearing practices and socioeconomic factors (Grace). Grace also found that what a child watches after age 8 is not nearly as important as what they watch before age 8. Others argue that this violence desensitizes children to real life violence. They see the cartoon characters beating up the bad guys so when they see a bully at school picking on another kid they are less likely to find anything wrong with that situation.
Parents aren't the only ones concerned about the increase in cartoon violence. Teachers are also worried about the effects these shows are having on children. Teachers have noticed that children have been more obsessed with characters, they write stories, draw pictures and build models of...