Censorship of Violence in Television Media
My topic is based on research in the United States regarding television violence and its impact on juvenile crime. Since the beginning of television broadcasts there have been investigations regarding television violence and its effects on juvenile who watch it.
In the early 1950s the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency held a series of Congressional hearings to address juvenile crime. Because there is no definite answer on the effects of television violence on juvenile crime, the investigations continue. In 1963 a major experiment was conducted by Bandura, a psychologist, that showed that when children after viewing violence on television they acted in aggressive manners. Another study done by Gerbner showed that over a 22 year period analysis eight out of ten every plays broadcast during the survey period contained some form of violence and eight episodes of violence occurred during each broadcast hour of broadcast time. Especially those designed for children such as cartoons. Studies have shown cartoons are the most violent of all programming.
They first tried to allow the television industry to censor itself. The industry agreed to place warning labels on violent programs. People felt that by doing this the warning labels would be ineffective for two reasons: A) The children would want to watch the television shows labeled violent. B) The children were unsupervised during the television viewing. Then in 1990, Congress passed the Children’s Television Act to provide funding for increased children’s programming and limit advertising. In 1993, The Children’s Protection from Violent Programming Act was put in place to restrict violent programming during the times children would be watching TV.
Current options in 1997 include, President Bill Clinton signed legislations to implement the v-chip as part of the telecommunications act. Beginning in 1998 all the television manufacturers were required to equip new television sets with the v-chip. The v-chip is an electronic chip in a television that enables parents to block programs with objectionable content. The v-chip can be used by parents to block any show that has been given a rating of violent or sexually explicit. The networks were supposed to put the ratings on the show. But then many of the civil liberty unions opposed the v-chip saying that it violated the first amendment to the constitution guaranteeing the right to freedom of speech. Network broadcasters opposed the v-chip because they felt they would lose advertising dollars when a show was labeled with a (V) or violent label. Many critics also felt that the v-chip would make television violence worse because if programs could be blocked the producers could put more violent programs in that slot. People who were for the v-chip, argued it would give parents control over what their children watched. Also many felt that it would prevent and eventually decrease the issue of violence among teenagers.
I’m opposed to the v-chip and the banning of violence on television because I feel that adolescents will see violence in reality anyways. Also I feel that because many families are not aware of the v-chips existence or because they just don’t feel using a v-chip is necessary, that its just a useless idea that isn’t making any changes to the objectionable content that is shown on television. I believe that the consequences of parents not using the v-chip will hinder their ability to monitor what their children are watching thereby allowing television to influence violence in reality.