Does TV Violence Cause Violence?


| 4 Comments
Jack-Bauer-24-36841_1024_768.jpg   
    Do you think the shows today on television have caused more violence?  On average, American children watch four hours of television a day.  Unfortunately, many shows on T.V. are now violent.  Children may become immune to the horror of violence, gradually accept violence as a way to solve problems, imitate the violence seen on T.V., and begin to relate to the victims or criminals in the crime.  The biggest problem is the shows that are violent and seem realistic.  These are the shows that most likely will make a child repeat it's actions.  
   Violent content on television shows about three to five violent acts per hour.  Children's Saturday morning shows, portray about 20 to 25 violent acts per hour.  Research done by the American Psychiatric Association in 1996 reported that adolescents will have witnessed 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 violent acts by 18 years old.  Statistics show 73% of the time the good guy is usually the one who is the most violent but always goes unpunished and is usually justified.  Think about shows such as 24 and Blue Bloods.  The good guys kill people and it looks really cool when they do it.  This is just showing kids it is okay to just take out a gun and kill someone.  It also shows people jumping 10 stories out of a building and surviving.  We all know these things are not okay.  
   The National Institute of Mental Health has concluded that violence on television does lead to aggressive behavior by children and teenagers.  Obviously this does not happen to all children, but it does happen to many.  A main problem of television violence is the fact the children become numb to the violence and aggression.  This means these kids are desensitized to the violent acts on TV and witnessing the violence does not effect them anymore.  Overexposure to aggressive television shows can make children think the world is an unsafe place to live.  This will make them overestimate the amount of violent situations they will come into contact with.  This will cause a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.  
The Experiment 
   A well-known experiment was done by Bushman in 1998.  He discovered that when we watch violent shows, we store in our memory, a perceptual and cognitive representation of the scene.  The experiment was done on 8 year old boys.  At a later age, they realized the violent scenarios they stored in their brains were pulled up and activated when they were adults.  This influenced their behavior.  They were more aggressive men.  Chronic views of TV violence leads to constantly accessing the parts of the brain where these memories are stored.  This is called primed aggressive constructs.  The younger the child is, the more harmful the violent television shows are.  

  Parents should determine what age their child is ready to witness violent acts.  Although not all children will react to violent TV shows in a negative way, some will.  We want to avoid at all costs anymore crime coming into this country.  I wonder if most criminals today get their ideas off of movies or television shows.  Sometimes when I watch certain shows I joke saying, "That's a good idea to cover up a crime."  Of course I would never do such a thing, but I know some people that watch might seriously think that way.   
   Do you think that the crime today is from the media and Hollywood? Or do you think it is just how a parent raises a child with their morals?  If a good child knows their rights and wrongs TV shouldn't effect them at all right? Well for a lot of kids it seems to.  So what do you think ? 

articles used: http://www.aacap.org/page.ww?name=children+and+TV+violence&section=Facts+for+Families

http://www.thesuccessfulparent.com/children-and-media/the-impact-of-tv-violence-on-children-and-adolescents

4 Comments

This is a very interesting topic! As an avid TV fan, I totally understand the familiarity with violence, yet I do not consider myself a violent person at all. think this overexposure to acts of violence on television makes a person less shocked or outraged by it. I am used to watching shows like American Horror Story that depict scary, horrifying, and violent situations, yet people like my parents, who traditionally do not watch these kinds of shows, are completely turned off by the idea. However, you could definitely look at this situation from another point of view and understand that the television you watch doesn't always influence your personality. For example, does watching a lot of comedies make you a funnier person? I think some people might say yes, but it depends a lot on the personality of the person. Trying to deliver the same kinds of jokes as people on TV do only works if you are already funny. TV shows cannot really teach you how to be funny. In the same respect, can violent TV shows teach you how to be violent? Personally, I could never see myself doing half the things I see on television, so I think a part of your being has to already have certain capabilities that are enhanced by the television you watch in order for it to have a real influence on your personality.

First off, four hours of television a day? I don’t even know if that is a lot or normal anymore. As a child, I do recall watching A LOT of TV, it’s not my fault that our childhood shows were so amazing! But now, I rarely watch TV because of how busy my schedule is. Your blog topic is one that is highly debated upon as more shows have become violent, and more parents have become lenient to how much their children are exposed to.
Your quote “Statistics show 73% of the time the good guy is usually the one who is the most violent but always goes unpunished and is usually justified” is very interesting. I never thought about it this way. The good guy in movies always kills the bad guy, and almost always using violence. What kind of example does this set for children being socialized into this world? It shows them that violence is a solution and makes these good guys “heroes.” Society has become so accustomed to violence that we indeed have become immune from it. We see thousands of people dying daily on the news from bombs, war, disease, poverty, random acts, etc.
To answer your final questions, I think that crime is caused by a mixture of both influence and atmosphere. Sure, I can imagine many turn to violence because of the examples the media shows us. Some of the horror movies that come out today are truly gruesome, and it makes me question who is so sick of think of these ideas. However, on the other hand, many people must turn to violence because of the circumstances or atmosphere they live in. Someone living in a bad neighborhood might have to turn to violence to protect themself because violence is the means of the perpetrator. If someone was using violence to hurt you in some way, violence might be the only way to defend yourself. Words can’t always help, even if we like to think they do.
According to Web MD, researchers tested non-violent children who had been exposed to violence in the media, and found that these children’s brains’ showed similar patterns of activity as kids who had been diagnosed with disruptive behavior disorder. Two groups were studied, including 14 boys and 5 girls. I wonder if the fact that they used so many more boys than girls is relevant to the experiment. Could they be trying to insinuate that boys are naturally more violent than girls, therefore; they wanted more male test subjects? If not, I would deem this experiment as unfair because the unequal ratio of boys and girls. They did this experiment by observing activity in the frontal cortex; a part of the brain which is linked to self-control and attention. It is interesting that violence on TV can not only affect your thoughts, but also how your brain biologically functions. They did this experiment by observing activity in the frontal cortex, a part of the brain which is linked to self-control and attention. You can read more about this experiment in the link above.
I used to watch violent shows as a child as well, and to be honest, I am not sure if it had an effect on me now because there is no way to test this. I am the person I am today because of so many factors, TV being one of them. Did you not want to be like the Disney channel stars you used to watch on TV? I did! So yes, TV and media definitely has an influence on you, even if just the slightest difference.

There has been a lot of talk about this in society. NOt just with tv shows and movies but also with video games. Games such as grand theft auto which allow you to run around and shoot people are seen by many as a bad thing which should not have a place in society. However when this topic was approached by the supreme court they did not have enough or really any scientific evidence to make laws prohibiting this. Ithink that a big thing that you need to look at when dealing with this is your surrounding when playing these games. I always did as a child and i think i have turned out fine. These games did not make me any more of a violent individual. It would be interesting if scientists did a variety of tests regarding video games. One thing that i don't think many look at is how parents react to their children playing these games. Do they embrace the childs decision, disagree with the choice, or a mix of the two? I think that if parents talked to their children about these games and explained how many of the things seen in them is wrong then maybe there would be less negative affects than there already is. There could be a correlation between the parents and childs here and not just with the child and the video game. I also think it is interesting how violent acts affect us more when we are younger. When we are younger we are still developing our minds, values, and body. If violent acts are instilled at a young age to children without parent supervision then there could be greater problems seen with the child.

This topic is very interesting, especially since all of the shooting we have recently had in our society. I recall the Colorado movie theatre shooting and the man in New York City who got fired and went back the next day shooting up the street, gunning for his boss who had just canned him. This is a very serious matter. Our country is a country of freedom, and with that freedom we have the right to own and buy guns. I don't think I will ever purchase a gun, or shoot one for that matter for the rest of my life. I was never a Boy Scout, but I did partake in Indian Guides. I shot some guns on a camp outing once, and got 0 thrill out of it. When I matured to become the wise and adventurous 12-13 year old I was my buddies and I went out to Dick's Sporting Goods and somehow purchased pellet guns. I think the sales lady who sold it to us got fired, because there was no way she should have sold young immature boys pellet guns. But truthfully, I am happy he/she was fired (if they were) because guess what I did with that pellet gun, I shot a small bird on a chain link fence. I had such good aim at such a young age that I ended up killing a bird. I felt so bad. I still feel bad. Every morning I wake up I say the Shema prayer for that little birdy I killed. I then will put on Bob Marley's "Three Little Bird" song hoping that everything will be alright, and that bird hopefully ended up in little birdy heaven. They say all dogs go to heaven, I'm just hoping birds do to. I would hate to be hunted by birds later in life. I kind of bought in to the whole Alfred Hitchcock "birds are evil" thing after seeing that one movie, "The Birds."

What a great transition. This leads me to my next point about violence on the television. I did a paper in high-school on this and it is true, those who watch more violent tv shows or play violent video games will be more violent later in life.

Our brains are developing into our early 20's. Everything we see, do, eat, drink, etc has an impact on our brain. So there is no doubt in my mind that this is all true. It is the responsibility of parents to teach their kids valuable lessons. Parents are full of wisdom and experiences, it is up to them to decide when it is best to teach their children important life lessons. Many times kids tend to find out the hard way, and for parents that can be a devastating thing. It is a tricky game, and a fine line. With the invention of the iPad maybe my kids won't even be watching TV. Maybe they will be playing fun and interactive math games on their iPads.

As the great Cat Stevens said, "Teach our children well."

They are our future...

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