Type: Review
Pages: 3 | Words: 821
Reading Time: 4 Minutes

According to research by the A.C. Nielsen Co, an average American child watches television for about four hours a day. This translates to over two months of watching TV in a year. However, it should be noted that most of these programs being aired are extremely violent. An analysis of the effects of violence on children and young adults has revealed that these programs have more negative effects than positive ones. There are a number of studies that have been carried out and they all point out a number of factors. Firstly, children end up imitating the violence they see on television. Secondly, they usually identify with some characters and become immune to violence. Lastly, the children eventually accept violence as a problem solver. Television violence and its effects on viewers have been a heated debate for quite a long time.

The term violence refers to deliberate actions which can cause harm to individuals, animals, or non-living things. Violence is always associated with aggression. There have been a number of researches into the relationship between the viewing of violent scenes and aggressive behavior by the viewers of such material, especially children. Therefore, we should ask ourselves a very important question. How does television violence affect our children and does it inspire them to be violent? After some study, UNESCO found out that close to 93 percent of children in most parts of the world watch television an average of three hours a day. This is more than half the time spent on any other activity done out of school. This proves the fact that television is the most influential medium in the lives of most children in the world today. The study also revealed that television exposes children to violent scenes on a daily basis.

Recent research has also suggested that young children watch a lot of television and end up becoming bullies. The increasingly violent nature of cartoons is blamed for this trend. Therefore, parents should be made to understand that a television show or movie made for children is not automatically good for them. Children who have problems controlling their behaviors, emotions, or impulses are likely to be influenced by violent programs. The impact may be felt immediately or may come out years later.

Children of different ages watch and react to television scenes differently. Infants, for example, can easily imitate behavior from the television if it is simple and instructional. However, they only pay attention to the TV when it is on. At the age of around three years, children are able to extort meaning from TV content. This makes them likely to imitate the things they see on television.  Children at the preschool age actively search for meaning in the contents of a program they view. They like vivid production features. It should be noted that television violence is usually accompanied by vivid production features. This makes the preschoolers attracted to violence, especially cartoons. Most toddlers prefer cartoons that expose them to violence in their viewing. Research has shown that most preschoolers behave more aggressively than necessary after watching action-packed and violent content (Bandura 580).

Children at the age of eight tend to show aggressiveness from watching violent television if they view the violent behavior as being real or if they identify with a violent hero. It is also evident that, apart from watching cartoons, elementary school children begin to develop a taste for horror movies in an attempt to overcome their fears. However, they end up desensitizing themselves to violence and become tolerant to violence in the real world. They are not yet able to differentiate fantasy from real life. On the other hand, adolescents are reasonable and cannot be influenced easily by TV violence. They tend to doubt the reality of television content or identify with television characters as their heroes. However, their superior reasoning ability and tendency to challenge authority make the adolescents capable of imitating some kinds of TV violence, crime, or portrayals of suicide. There are fewer cases that come from this age group than the younger ones.

There are a number of factors that are usually misinterpreted by children when they watch violence in the media, movies, or the games they play. Firstly, when a character gets beaten by another character and gets up immediately without harm, children will start to believe that violence is not harmful. This trend is common with cartoons. Secondly, a character is shown on television that commits a crime and goes unpunished will teach children that violent acts are never punished. Lastly, most violent programs teach children that violence is the solution to most of our problems. Children are likely to copy when they see their favorite characters use violence and get what they want. It is also evident that television programs usually glamorize a hero that commits a crime. This will eventually make the children think of criminals as role models and engage in the activities they do (Bandura 575).

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