Extensive viewing of violent programs on television can lead to aggression in children. Children watch an average of three to four hours a televison a day. Television is a powerful influence in shaping behavior and developing value systems. It may lead to a gradual acceptance of violence, imitation of violence, and the identification of violence within themselves.
The more a child views a violent television program the more they will become immune to violence and learn to gradually accept it. Research has shown ideal to be true. “One example: in several studies, those who watched a violent program instead of a nonviolent one were slower to intervene or to call for help when, a little later, they saw younger children fighting or playing destructively. (What do…)” Viewing the violent program caused the child to take more time to react to the situation. He had been desensitized to the violent act because he had been viewing a violent programmed show. Television can cause a child to grow to feel immune towards violence.
Perhaps our child in this case simply felt nothing but seeing what he witnessed, or maybe he had accepted it as something “normal”. In either case the violent programs that children are watching are causing adverse effects. A child who has no been exposed to such violent programming on television would have reacted much quicker and intervened when they saw a younger child fighting. But television doesn’t only cause children to become immune to the horror of violence, or to gradually be able to accept it as a part of the world. It also can lead to the imitation of violence from the children.
Television violence causes an imitation and a heightened sense of aggression among younger children. This proposes a much more of a problem then simply accepting violence and becoming immune to it. Younger children are more likely to carry out violent acts on other children if they are exposed to a substantial amount of violence on television today. This can cause problems in school, home, and even work environments. The child will come to believe that violence is the answer to his problems. Any act of aggression carried out upon another human being will result in a adverse condition being put upon the person committing the act. A child may feel that they need to lash out again someone who took a toy from them as then seen it done on television. This is where the problem begins to make itself apparent.
‘Children who watch the violent shows, even ‘just funny’ cartoons, were more likely to hit out at their playmates, argue, disobey class rules, leave tasks unfinished, and were less willing to wait for things than those who watched the nonviolent programs (Children…).” We can see clearly these children are going to find themselves in a whole lot of trouble and many quicker then they realize. From watching the violent programming on televison they accept it as a solution, and the imitate what it is that they have seen. So its not just the imitation alone that effects the children watching the programming it’s a series of steps. They gradually accept it, then they imitate it, and in imitating it then learn to identify with it.
Identification on violence in televison programming leads to an extended identification of the world, aggression, and themselves. Identification with violence on televison can become the most dangerous relationship between TV and the younger person. “Studies by George Gerbner, Ph.D., at the University of Pennsylvania, have shown that children’s TV shows contain about 20 violent acts each hour and also that children who watch a lot of television are more likely to think that the world is a mean and dangerous place (What do..).” Believing that the work is a “mean and dangerous place” can put fear into a child. They have already learned to accept and imitate violence, through identification they may react in a way that fits in with the ideal of mean and dangerous.
Also, they may become more aggressive in order to fit in with their perspective of what should be. Drama televison often shows a teen going through many difficult situation in their life. Perhaps the program is about a teen committing suicide as a way to deal and cope with his problems. The young child has already learned to accept this violent act and feel immune to it. He could imitate it, or identify with it. In either case this is where a serious problem can begin to show an ugly head. These situation could perhaps been avoided if less violent programming was viewed, or moderated.
The violent acts carried out in children is not simply one of these three factors, but it is a progression of the three. Children can accept the violence, then imitate, and identify with it. One in itself doesn’t present as serious as issue as the three combined. Televison programming does indeed have an adverse relationship with aggression among children. We most come to realize that this relationship is only going to progress and in some cases could even result in the loss of many lives.