Television has become increasingly more popular through the years since it was first invented. In fact it is so popular that almost every home in America has one or more television sets. TV started when Edwin Belin, an English man, held the patent for the transmission of photographs by wire as well as fiber optics and radar, which demonstrated a mechanical scanning device that was an early ancestor to modern television. With TV sets almost everywhere in sight, a problem with not only the youth of America but also involving teens and adults has erupted. As the popularity of TV increased so did the hours watched and therefore, the rate of violence sky rocketed. If the hours of television exceed three hours a day the rate of violence both seen and committed increases dramatically.
In 1993, the average child was watching 8,000 murders and 10,000 acts of violence before leaving elementary school (Hepburn 244-249).With all the choices of premium cable, HBO and many others, it’s not surprising that TV is rising in price too. TV has caused numerous acts of violence and the statistics are still rising. If the hours of television are slimmed to less than an hour a day the violent acts, will decrease. Many people watch television as a routine and everyday at almost the same time they will watch their favorite show or shows. Mixing television into your daily routine is not only bad for you but sets aside priorities that are more important like school work.
Television draws in Families every night
Almost every family in the USA watches prime time television (5-9 o’clock) on week nights and with 99% of households that own at least one television, there are not many families that don’t watch TV on week days (“Television”). In fact, studies show that 66% of U.S. homes have three or more TV sets (“Mediascope”). It is very costly not to mention if you are in search to buy the newest or biggest televisions out there. Televisions not only can put a strain on a family financially but with some families that watch up to or more than three hours of TV it can side track a family from its objectives. During the 90’s each family averaged about 50 hours of television weekly (“Teen-agers”). Now entering the new decade the statistics have grown with the new types of television since the 90’s. Once families start watching TV, it becomes a routine that is not easy to break. Many families are drawn to competition shows, where the whole family can participate and play along.
The Steady Increase of Violence on Television Shows
TV shows have become more violent in time and it targets the youth and manipulates the children to believe it is acceptable to commit acts of violence. 59% of violence is shown on basic cable which is what most children watch (“Mediascope”). Children are very easily swayed to finding someone to look up to. Many kids are into the “bad guys” and the strongest or most evil TV characters out there. When children idolize characters on television they are more likely to act the way they do. 67% of programs depict violence in a humorous way (“Mediascope”). Showing the acts of violence in a humorous way makes it seem harmless to the children. Kids who have premium channels on their televisions are even more prone to committing a violent act. Shows like HBO’s Oz, averaged 76 violent acts per episode (Hepburn 244-249). Cartoons often depict there plots in a violent way. Cartoons are a perfect example that shows how the youth of America is targeted at an early age. The major TV networks like Fox, CBS, and ABC play a big role in the rise of violence across the country.
TV networks like these, feel that violence brings in the viewers and the more viewers the more money that the network makes. When TV was just growing in popularity, the shows then were a lot different. Of course, there was still some violence but very limited and no swear words or realistic special effects. For example “Leave it to Beaver” and “Dike Van Dyke” which started in the 50’s, was non-violent and still popular enough to pull in the viewers starting whole new trends. Today on the other hand, realistic effects to make horror scenes seem almost real have corrupted the public. Shows like “CSI” and “Space Troopers” have numerous violent acts that are very graphic especially to kids. The change through the decades has been great and more become more violent than ever. What is to come in the future? Will the violence become even more violent? Or will there be a stop to the up rise in violent acts all together?
In the long run, television will affect not only children but teens and adults too. With all the violent acts seen on almost every TV show the children become frightened of the world around them. “Eventually after watching all these crimes and violent acts, the children will be less sensitive to pain and suffering of others” (Zuckerman). As most parents know, children will do what they see. Many children, not aware of what’s wrong and right yet, will “mimic what they hear and see on TV” (Zuckerman). It’s a parents job to watch over his or hers child and make sure they are not witnessing an excessive amount of garbage or television, assuming the parents are stable and not already addicted to TV. Statistics show that teens watch more television than anything else that includes listening to music and reading (“Mediascope”). Teens are now in the years of rebellion against their parents and want to watch more mature shows that they can relate to.
“Most teen prefer adult programming that deals with growing up, drugs, sex and alcohol” (Zuckerman). Teens that are stressed out by everyday things like school, grades and parents are more likely to watch TV every free minute they get. Television gives them a chance to relax and forget about daily chores and troubles. Adults are also part of the uprising in violent acts committed due to the effects of television. 76% of typical violent perpetrators are adults (“Mediascope”). As we look around the violent world we live in, it’s not shocking that all children turn out as a crazed criminal or murderer especially when children look up to adults for guidance. With the crime rates steadily increasing and television in the hot seat for the blame perhaps a banning of televisions is in order.
TV’s influence on the population
Television affects everybody including kids, teens and adults when they watch excessive amount of TV each day. Parents should limit there kids while they are young so it’s not hard to pull them away when they’re in their teen years. Today shootings and murders are more common than 20 years ago and no coincidence that the average hours of television a day have been rising ever since. Television makes real murders seem like nothing to kids because they don’t yet understand the reality from their TV world. If the kids watch excessive amounts of TV when they are really young, they will react to what they saw on TV when they are in a crisis or problem in there life, when they grow up.
TV is one of the negative effects of technology and discovering new things. “Our findings suggest that responsible parents should avoid permitting their children to watch more than an hour of TV a day.” (Hepburn 244-249). Hepburn also stated “I was surprised to see a five fold increase in aggressive behavior from less than one hour to three or more hours” (Hepburn 244-249). The world with television does not go hand in hand any more. With violence rapidly increasing, the crime rates rocketing, it’s only time before there’s no more TV or people left.
Television, in the end
These large dosages of television are shown by the crime rate of today. Children who watch more than three hours of TV a day are very likely to commit a violent act with in their life. TV will probably be around for a very long time and it is the parents that are responsible for how much time their kids watch. Parents are not to be blamed totally but there is a good part that does rely on them to guide their kids the right way and limit the hours of TV they watch everyday. Jennifer Zuckerman claims “parents are responsible on how much TV is allowed and what steps should be taken”. If you watch your children and limit there hours of TV a day there is a good chance that the kid will be less likely to be involved in a violent act.
TV is usually a result of boredom, a time to relax and not do any physical work. 73.5% of people watch TV when they are not doing any thing (“Television”). Television is a major cause of the majority of violent acts committed in the last few years. The only way for a decrease in the nation’s violence is to limit the amount of television we watch and to limit the children from large amounts of television. If the rise of violence still increases at a steady speed, the only way to stop it is to either go to the producers or convince the people to turn on televisions and remove them from their homes.
Hepburn, Mary A. “TV Violence! A Medium’s Effects Under Scrutiny.” Social Education. Sept. 1997: 244-249. SIRS Researcher CD-ROM. CD-ROM. SIRS Mandarin. Fall 2002.
“Mediascope, National Television Violence Study.” Executive Summary. 1994-1995: N.P. SIRS Researcher CD-ROM. CD-ROM. SIRS Mandarin. Fall 2002.
“Teen-agers Who Watch More Television are Prone to Violence”, The Seattle Times. March 28, 2002: N.P. SIRS Researcher CD-ROM. CD-ROM. SIRS Mandarin. Fall 2002.
“Television Violence: A Review of the Effects on Children of Different Ages”, Science 1995; N.P.
Zuckerman, D. “What is to Blame for Youth Violence?” 21, March, 2003. www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/youthviolence