Television violence and children
With the modernization of societal structure children have now become the main targets of popular programming which promote violent behavior. This essay will explore the thesis that television violence affects children in a negative way.
In order to understand why television violence affects children so much it is important to know present societal structure. With ever increasing responsibilities in society today parents are known to use the television as a crutch to distract their children while they work. Whether due to shortage of time or disinterest parents usually don’t know or understand the content of the programming their children watch. Thus, they are unable to monitor what their children see on screen. It is immensely important especially in the case of 3-12 year olds to not only know what these children are seeing but also clarify what they are watching, so that the difference between right and wrong, fantasy and reality can be made clear. It is surprising that today’s children can watch programming which can not only show altercations between individuals, along with instances of bleeding, disease and/or death. But that these themes are present in animated programming in the form of the Y7 rating. Additionally children are also quite capable of watching programming more suited towards teenagers which show these themes in a realistic setting. Children at these ages are extremely susceptible to the images they see on screen. They can imitate the actions of the characters they view, due to stunted mental development and a distant perception of reality. These perceptions can in turn cause major psychological damage later on in life (Wendy L. Josephson).
While I can accept that television violence does not affect every child. It has been proven that violent programming can hamper a child’s perception of reality and lead to aggressive behavior later on in life. It is thus imperative for their caretakers to ensure that not only are these images explained in context, but that viewing of these images is limited and/ or monitored to ensure the proper development of children.
Wendy L. Josephson, Ph.D. Television Violence: A Review of the Effects on Children of Different Ages. Febuary 1995. 25 May 2009 <http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/research_documents/reports/violence/tv_violence_child.cfm>.