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Effects of Tv Violence on Viewers

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The effects of TV violence on viewers has been the topic of debate for decades. Through several studies and evidence of sociological and psychological behavior, it has been said that violent acts portrayed on television have a direct impact on audiences young and old, male and female. The biggest problem concerning the effects of TV violence is that the impact involved on viewers is a negative one, particularly when shown without consequence or when carried out by an attractive villain. Young children make up the majority of viewers that are severely affected by TV violence. Children may not always understand the difference between right and wrong or reality from fiction but they do understand when a crime goes unpunished. A case that provides evidence of the effects of TV violence on youngsters is that of Ronald Zamora. Zamora, at the age of 15, murdered his 82-year-old neighbor in 1977. At the time, Zamora 's lawyer had claimed that the boy was influenced by television violence. “According to the lawyer, the countless hours Zamora had spent watching cops-and-robbers shows such as Kojak and Baretta had 'brainwashed ' him into living in a 'television fantasy world, ' which left him incapable of realizing that he was committing cold-blooded murder (Moeller).” The effect of TV violence can occur in varying degrees depending on the age of the child. The younger a child is, the less they understand the consequences of violent actions as seen on TV. Part of the reason why children are so affected by violence portrayed on their home television set is due to the fact that they are so easily influenced at a young age. Television has a tremendous influence on how children view our world. “Children spend more hours watching TV from birth to age 18 than they spend in the classroom” (Schmitt). The reason children spend so much time watching violent episodes on TV, especially today, is due to the fact that both the mother and father have to work in order to make ends meet. This leaves a child with less supervision than is required for monitoring what they watch on TV. Adolescents that display aggression have typically been affected by TV violence as a child. Adolescents have a better understanding concerning the differences between reality and fantasy. Adolescents, when guided by good parenting, are taught the difference between right and wrong and that there are ramifications for violent actions and are therefore less influenced by what they see on TV. Adults that expose themselves to TV violence have the best advantage over younger viewers. They have fully developed their sense of reasoning and know that there will definitely be a punishment involved with criminal and violent behaviors. The worst side effect of TV violence on an adult is the fact that they are desensitized to acts of violence. News about war, crime, death and decay, as well as television shows depicting a plethora of violent actions can cause people to turn their heads in an uncaring manner to realistic acts of violence. It is virtually impossible for Americans, of any age, to avoid the depiction of violence on their TV screens. One scientist estimates that “by the age of 15 the average child will have witnessed 13,400 televised killings” (Horwitz). Almost every home in America is equipped with one or more television sets. It is estimated that there are at least 109.6 million TVs within American homes and that children spend at least 4 hours a day watching those televisions which means more exposure to TV violence. Statistics go on saying that 54% of children have a television set of their own right in their bedroom which also means less monitoring by parents. “Witnessing repeated violent acts can lead to desensitization and a lack of empathy for human suffering” (Parents Television Council). When acts of violence are carried out by a villain that is portrayed as handsome or beautiful, viewers tend to then idolize that character and his/her criminal actions. Villains that are good looking may be viewed as heroic and can lead to a direct impact on how many viewers actually repeat the violent actions that they see. There are currently an approximate 4,000 studies being conducted in order to determine the effects of TV viewing on children. Currently, 79% of Americans believe that violent acts portrayed on TV can lead to real acts of violence and mayhem. Even the news can have a negative impact on viewers since 53.8% of news stories are dedicated to the topic of war and acts of criminal violence. Viewers tend to get so involved in their television sets that they actually fit the bill for substance abuse. An addiction is not necessarily in the form of drugs and alcohol. People can form addictions to their TVs as well and considering the fact that so much violence is depicted on TV means that they are suffering the impact of their television in a very negative way. Through a vast amount of research and statistics, it is proven that the greatest effect caused by TV violence is due to the fact that viewers spend too much time watching their television sets, too much time looking up to good looking villains, and too much time being exposed to violent actions without proper consequence. Parents that are unable to constantly monitor their child 's choice of television programs can use parental settings to block shows that depict too much violence. In order to understand the level of violence that a child is exposed to, parents should try and understand the ratings set forth by the Motion Pictures Association of America which is meant to inform viewers of explicit language, sexual content, violence and crude humor. Unfortunately, too many viewers do not fully understand what the ratings on their television sets mean. It is best to preview a television show before allowing a child to sit down and watch it in order to determine whether or not it is something they should be viewing. It is also recommended that parents take the time to explain to their children what the difference is between reality and fiction. If a child happens to see a violent crime on TV, one must sit down and discuss the action with him/her and have the child think about why the action was wrong and what should be done to punish the action accordingly so that he/she understands there are consequences to violent actions.

References

1. Horwitz, Lucy, and Lou Ferleger. Statistics For Social Change. Quebec: Black Rose Books, 2001. 2. Moeller, Thomas G.. Youth Aggression and Violence : A Psychological Approach. Mawah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2001. 3. Schmitt, B.D. “Television: reducing the negative impact.(Behavioral Health Advisor)." Clinical Reference Systems 2008.3 (Nov 2008): NA. Health Reference Center Academic. Gale. Kansas State Library. http://find.galegroup.com/ips/start.do?prodId=IPS>.

References: 1. Horwitz, Lucy, and Lou Ferleger. Statistics For Social Change. Quebec: Black Rose Books, 2001. 2. Moeller, Thomas G.. Youth Aggression and Violence : A Psychological Approach. Mawah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2001. 3. Schmitt, B.D. “Television: reducing the negative impact.(Behavioral Health Advisor)." Clinical Reference Systems 2008.3 (Nov 2008): NA. Health Reference Center Academic. Gale. Kansas State Library. http://find.galegroup.com/ips/start.do?prodId=IPS>.

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