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Effect Of Violent Television Programs On Children In The U.S Essay

In 1996, the federal government of the United States passed a law demanding that every television set from the size of 13 inches and above to be installed with a V chip to control content being watched by children. This move was inspired by the recognition of the impact that violent television programs were causing on the children (Centerwall 69). More recently, some senators in US lead the drive to the enactment of laws that would control broadcast of sex ad violence on TV. TV violence has been a matter of greater concern since it occupies much of the TV content programmed in the US today.

Research shows that concern for behavioral effects began as early as the 1950s and 60s following the introduction and popularity of televisions in US. Currently, TV broadcasting has evolved a lot in US such that content is being broadcast without much concern for age rating, especially following increased access to TV the children. Violence can be from news programs or fictional entertainment programs. A 1995 article in the Journal of American Medical Association points out that television has detrimental impacts on the normal development of children due to the increase in physical aggressiveness and health concerns (Centerwall 644).

Later, the American Psychological Association published a policy statement urging pediatricians to advise their clients to control TV viewing among their children to not more than 1 or 2 hours. Effects of physical aggressiveness have also been confirmed by the US National Institute of Mental Health. This has especially impacted negatively on the religious foundations of children since aggressiveness contrasts the fundamental principles of most religions. Children usually learn by imitating what they observe, hence if exposed to violent programs they tend to emulate the violent behaviors shown on the program.

Two separate studies conducted among young inmates convicted of violent crime cases including rape, assault and homicide indicates that between 22 % and 34 % confessed to have been consciously inspired by the crime techniques leant from TV programs they used to watch (Nathanson 141). A number of these were from a strong religious background. Some 1990 data shows that children in US between the age of 2 and 5 years of age were spent about 27 hours of their time every week watching television most of which were had violent content.

Although religious principles may guide behaviour to some extent, psychologists argue that children of such age are usually unable to differentiate fantasy ad facts when it comes to television and hence end up accepting and believing what they watch, this erodes their moral and religious believes with time. A study conducted for close to 22 years among US children of age 8 and addressing the correlation of this group to the severity of crime committed by the same at age 30, found out that viewing of violent content correlated highly positively to the nature and seriousness of crime most were convicted of at age 30: at a probability of 0.

05% (Brandon 1). This number is inclusive of religious children implying that violent programs introduce them gradually to crime. A study on 100 male crime convicts, whereby 65 of them had no past association with crime; were of same age, residence background and race and aged between age 10 and 14, shows that there was significant statistical relation between exposure to TV violence and violent behaviour in adults. This proves the finding that violence has great potential to shape the behavior of a child irrespective of religion.

A poll conducted among adult Americans show that about 43 percent of Americans believe that contribution of TV violence to increasing violence in the society is high than any other factors. Given that most Americans are religious people and so are their children, it is apparent homicide is against their principles. However, there is the data that states that the per annum rate of white homicides in US increased by 92 recent from 1945’s 1. 3 homicides/ 100000 US white citizens to 2. 5 / 100000 in 1974 (Centerwall 646).

TV violence has been the leading cause of religious negligence among most young US people as they are inspired by the reality of TV the set of religious principles. This is regarded as the effect of high market competitiveness driving TV companies to broadcast violence in a “fantasy” manner to generate mass audiences for advertising purposes. There is less concern for responsibility. Religious children have been victims of juvenile crime as pointed out by senators Kefauwer and Dodd regarding relation of TV programs to the increases in juvenile crime.

A study by The Centre of Research on the Effect of Television indicates that young people usually become insensitive to pain or other activity that inflicts suffering on others especially in real life. This has been noted more specifically by church leaders as the most basic factor driving religious children used to violent TV shows to try out violent activity. This is because they tend to believe what they see is the real world.

Children, including the religious as well perceive violence in such program as fantasy since they lack the ability to differentiate fantasy and reality at below age 8 (Wood, et al. 375). In this regard, most children also tend to believe that violence is the most appropriate means of getting what one wants as is depicted by their heroes. Children also grow fear of the world that they live in. This affects their self drive and may make them to apply the violent activity in self defense on being made to perceive the real world as bad. This is in contrast to what religion advocates for.

This rate of influence is even more alarming given the fact that about 54% of children in America have access to a TV set in their bedroom with 44% (religious children included) confirming that they watch totally different subjects when not with their parents. Research from Michigan University notes that TV contributes to abut 10% of the violent witnessed among religious children. The American Psychological Association notes that children who watch a lot of violent TV shows have more tendency to show violent behaviors such as disobedience, arguing and striking out at playmates irrespective of religious background (Harrison and Joanne 93).

The Kaiser Family Foundation argues that most religious children as well as the non-religious ones have come to accept violence as an alternative to solving life problems due to prolonged exposure to programs depicting the same on TV. According to the Center for Disease Control, US, violence among children who watch a lot of television is the topmost public health challenge with the influence of the same on murder rates increasing at rates more than population growth (American Academy of Pediatrics 1119). Violent television has also been associated with increased levels of blood pressure which is a contributing factor to aggressiveness.

It is undeniable that TV affects negatively the behaviour f children and it is even worth noting that religious children are not spared unless with the intervention of seniors. Works Cited Centerwall, B. S. “Television and violent crime. ” The Public Interest 111(1993): 56-77. Harrison, Karin, and Joanne Cantor. “Tales from the Screen: Enduring Fright Reactions to Scary Media. ” Media Psychology 1. 2 (1999): 97–116. Nathanson, Amy J. , and Joanne, Cantor. “Children’s Fright Reactions to Television News. ” Journal of Communication 46. 4 (1996): 139–152. Centerwall, B. S.

“Exposure to television as a risk factor for violence. ” American Journal of Epidemiology 129 (1989): 643-652. Wood, W, Wong, F. Y. , and Chachere, J. G. “Effects of media violence on viewers’ aggression in unconstrained social interaction. ” Psychological Bulletin 109 (1991): 371-383. American Academy of Pediatrics. “Committee on Communications: Children, adolescents, and television. ” Pediatrics 85(1990):1119-1120. Brandon, Centerwall S. “Television and Violence: The Scale of the Problem and Where to Go From Here” JAMA 267. 22 (1992). Retrieved August 3, 2010 from http://cursor. org/stories/television_and_violence. htm.


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