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Children and Television Violence

Powerful Essays
Children and Television Violence

Through what they experience on television, children are forced into adulthood at too young of an age. The innocence of youth is lost when children stare endlessly at a screen displaying the horrors of murder, rape, assault, devastating fire, and other natural disasters. Although these are occurrences in everyday life, things adults have grown accustomed to hearing about, children do not have the maturity level to deal with these tragedies appropriately. Children's behavior changes because they become desensitized to the violence. There are many preventative techniques that can be applied to ensure that negativity on television will not interfere with a child's development.

Children see violent acts on television and make an attempt to process it, and in doing so, their innocence is lost. According to Dr. David Elkind, president emeritus, National Association for the Education of Young Children, ?Television forces children to accommodate a great deal and inhibits the assimilation of material. Consequently, the television child knows a great deal more than he or she can ever understand. This discrepancy between how much information children have and what they can process is the major stress of television.? (160) Children?s minds are not fully developed; therefore, they can not be expected to understand the violence on television.

The media, specifically television, has become more and more violent, in not all too subtle ways, exposing many children to behaviors not appropriate to a young audience. Remember ?the Menendez brothers, who ruthlessly shot their parents as they ate ice cream and watched TV in their family room, planted in children?s minds the worst possibility -- that a parent could die violently at the hands of a child.? (Medved, et. al. 243) Seeing the violence, hearing about it, watching news reports about violent acts committed by real people, especially other children, affects the viewer negatively. Children can not relate to what they see when they are so young, making the act of watching violent television extremely questionable. Children should not know about murder and rape; however according to Gloria Tristani, Commissioner for the Federal Communications Commission, by the time they finish elementary school, children have witnessed 8,000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence. (Tristani...

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...ing violence on television, parents are helping to eliminate the desensitization that happens from witnessing such wrongdoing.

Bibliography

Black, Jay, and Jennings Bryant. Introduction to Media Communication. Iowa: Brown, 1995.

Eisenstock, Bobbie, PhD., and Cathryn C. Borum. A Parent?s Guide to the TV Ratings and V-Chip. Washington: Media, 1995.

Elkind, David. The Hurried Child. Reading: Addison, 1981.

Krcmar, Marina, and Patti M. Valkenburg. ?A Scale to Assess Children?s Moral Interpretations of Justified and Unjustified Violence and Its Repercussions.? Communication Research Oct. 1999: 608-635.

?Lock-Out Blocks Media Violence and Provides internet Safety for Your Children.? Lock-Out! n. pag. 6 June 2000 <http://www.lock-out.com>.

Medved, Diane, PhD., and Michael Medved. Saving Childhood. New York: HarperCollins, 1998.

Medved, Michael. Hollywood VS. America. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

Nathanson, Ian. Telephone interview. 6 June 2000.

Tristani, Gloria. ?Children and TV Violence Speech.? FCC 11 Feb. 1998: n. pag. 2 June 2002 <http://www.fcc.gov/Speeches/Tristani/spgt803.html>.
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