.. established, and with some idea of just how much violence there is on an average day, it is time to look at an even more telling tale. Yes, we said that children may be subjected to more than six hundred acts of violence in a three-hour time period, but whos to say that these acts are in any way severe? Well, the truth is that while many acts are subtle in their appearance, they still have an overwhelming effect over time. This is not to mention the fact that the major acts of violence add up as well. By the time a child of todays world reaches the age of eighteen he will have witnessed over 8,000 simulated murders on the television.
That is an average of 1.22 murders per day, counted from birth. What you see here is a repetitive bombardment of violence and violent material upon children. Seeing this every day gives it the same effect as eating, or sleeping; its nearly habitual, which is a truly sad state of affairs. Getting into a habit of seeing murders and violence on television, is an obvious sign that should lead us to believe that it will influence children in a negative way. Numbers are easily crunched and manipulated by both sides of the argument.
I see that there are quite a few numbers involved here in the argument. They are mostly in favor of violence being a bad influence, making these facts hard to ignore. Especially when they are as blatant and obvious as they appear. Statistics, when used responsibly, are perhaps some of the best insights we have into helping us discover problems and their solutions. As helpful as they may be, there are still other kinds of information even as persuasive as statistics. What I have to show now are case studies.
There have been numerous case studies performed over the past few decades involving children and television. I can throw out statistics all day at people in the hopes that they will see that violence on television is bad. While it is effective, my argument is much like any claim a scientist would make: it is not truly valid until tested. With this in mind, we see testing the real influence of violence on television shows that it is dangerously harmful. For an example, there is a case of a study done by a group Stein and Friedrich for the Surgeon Generals project in 1972 (Murray, 1996, p.
3). Their study consisted of taking 97 preschool children and exposing one third of them to a television diet consisting of Batman and Superman cartoons. The middle third were exposed to a diet of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, while the final third were exposed to neutral programming (neither antisocial or pro-social). These children watched over twelve half-hour episodes of their respective programs over a four-week period. They were then observed in their classroom and playroom environments.
The psychologists running the study found that the children who watched the Batman and Superman cartoons were remarkably aggressive and not very apt to share and interact. While on the other hand, the children who watched Mr. Rogers Neighborhood were more social, and more likely to share and interact. The middle third remained close to the same as they were before. There are many more studies just like this previous one, and all of them lead to the same conclusion: violent television does foster more aggressive and violent behavior in children.
It feels like just yesterday that I was sitting down to watch my Saturday morning cartoons on my family room television. Every Saturday was like clockwork for me. I would always eat my cereal and toast and then watch my GI Joe and Transformers. I was so in love with GI Joe, I can remember always wanting to re-enact the scenes with my plastic toy soldiers. Explosions, death, and carnage were my rations on Saturday and I loved every minute of it. In fact, although this is embarrassing, I still remember to this day getting in trouble at pre-school for hitting a classmate who took a toy away from a friend of mine.
Why? You might ask. Well, it was because I saw on GI Joe that your supposed to stick up for your friends and protect them from the enemy at all costs. So me, being the noble and “informed” friend that I was, carried-out the mission and took the heat for my violent actions. I received timeout for the rest of the day. This may seem a little preposterous, or maybe even dumb. Regardless, the truth is that GI Joe partly formed my identity as a young child and the only reason I was able to later tell the right from wrong was because I had parents to tell me.
My parents would often try to sit with me and watch a few shows, not for just their pleasure but rather to tell me what was fake and not to be repeated. Many children go without the parental supervision when watching television, and it leads to a lack of knowledge from determining right from wrong. They eventually forget the real and the fantasy, the violent and the non-violent. Now do not get me wrong, there are measures that prove and a few studies that show that with proper supervision children will not be affected by television violence. Case studies are out now that show children being unaffected by television violence as a whole.
I previously mentioned a study done for a Surgeon Generals Project, which acknowledged an existence of non-violent cases. When I read this information, I thought to myself, “thats awesome, if children are not really affected by the television.” Only, I found but one or two instances of these reports meaning that they were few and very far between. Leading me to conclude that it was merely wishful thinking to be able to reverse my study and maybe argue from the other side. The amount of studies showing that violence is a factor in the lives of children is just too large in number to even compare the reports that oppose it. To be honest, I have only shared a few statistics and studies with you.
I could have rattled off a thousand; it is just not necessary though. I believe that you can agree with me when I say that violence on television is detrimental to the lives of children and that it has a bad influence upon them. You should agree with me, and if you do not, well I can not wait to hear about your child in the police blotter. Bibliography BIBLIOGRAPHY 1.Bajpai, S., & Unnikrishnan, N. (1996). The Impact of Television Advertising on Children.
London: Sage Publications. 2.Murray, John P. (1996) Impact of Televised Violence [Online]. Available via Kansas State University:.