Children from the ages 6-11 spend more time watching television than they do in the classroom. The level of violence that they see on prime time television is about five violent acts per hour and the level of violence on Saturday that includes cartoons morning programming is about 20 to 25 violent acts per hour. At this rate, the average American child will see 8,000 murders before they finish elementary school!
As a child sits in front of baby-sitting television, her eyes are glued to the viewing of shoot em up rip em up kind of entertainment. We have to remember that the entertainment media plays an extremely powerful role in the formation of values and morals, to all youngsters minds of all ages, all socioeconomic levels, and all levels of intelligence. These programs “play” with kids minds; these programs have a tremendous negative effect on our children. We, as a society, must save our future and take an active role in protecting our children from the violence on our television.
Television cartoons often feature dehumanized characters, such as Transformers and the Ninja Turtles, who engage in the destructive acts of violence by fighting our real life social problems. With acts of violence, kids learn to think thats how they should solve their problems. MTVs Beavis and Butt-head encourages fire, smoking, foul language, drinking and stealing. With these bad attitudes seen depicted as normal on TV shows kids are lead to believe it is cool be have that type attitude Is this what we really want our society, especially our younger generation, to believe?
If we truly thought that television had no impact on viewers, why would companies spend billion of dollars on television advertising? If commercials have an effect, then so do the shows that the children watch. For example, youngsters mimic many of the violent acts that they see such as Beasvis and But-head. One day, a five year old boy watch his favorite cartoon, Beavis and Butt-head, and sees the characters pull one of their famous arson stunts. And the result, he sets his own house ablaze and his younger sister is killed.
Children do learn from television especially when they lack direct exposure or first hand experience with violent grotesque acts. These do take a toll on children and the way they will view life as they grow up. I know some who that are sweet, innocent, full of dreams, hopes, laughter, and life. These kids have learned about there environment from their parents, not by watching television. When I am a parent, I will not show programs with bodies flying around the room and blood spurting ever where. At this point, the parents role must be to watch television with their children so they can help children understand that violence hurts people physically and emotionally.
Our society should take a long hard look in the mirror; the values of todays youth are reflections of the values of their elders. We should remember the words of the father in Harry Chapins song “Cats in the Cradle” when he comes to realize his son “Hes grown up just like me. My boy was just like me.”
Violence on the television is a very real problem is our culture. We most see that it only causes negative effects on our society. It is hard to tell if the problem is the media or if the problem is in our values as a culture. We must help turn back the growing culture of violence as quickly as possible. The human toll on our society is too great to look the other way.