Media Violence and the Affects It Has On Children

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Media Violence and the Affects It Has On Children

The media clearly has an impact on our lives and especially the young, impressionable and weak-minded people in our society. Children become desensitized to violence when they see it everyday on TV, in theaters and even in video games. They are not becoming properly aquatinted with what is real, what is not, and the effects of it all. Even TV news deadens anyone's perception of reality. People of all ages especially those who are at an impressionable time in their lives, need to know that murder, death and violence are real and that sadness comes with all of these.

The American media is the most violent in the world. Children in America are more likely to be shot than in any other country (AAP Committee on Communications, 1997; Derksen & Strasburger, 1997). With over 1000 studies supporting the causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children, we know the more life-like the violence depicted the more likely it will be learned. Yet 66% of children's programs contain violence and one third have nine or more violent portrayals in each episode.

Much of the violence is presented as humorous and less than half of the violent interactions show the victims experiencing any signs of pain (Clarke-Pearson, 1997). Violence on television is frequent, inconsequential, effective, and rewarded. The heroes even use it as often as the villains do. Violence ends confrontation quickly and effectively, without a need for patience, negotiation, and compromise. Moreover, violence is an acceptable method to solve conflicts on television. Rarely are real-life consequences or the lingering psychological and physical eff...

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...s that are viewed together as a family can be incorporated into later activities. For example, parents can suggest to younger children that they draw pictures of their favorite characters, write scripts for their favorite shows, or act out some of the scenes. Many shows have been drawn from children's literature or other reading matter such as comic books, and children can be encouraged to read the original sources.

Monitoring television programs and writing letters to network executives, advertisers, and members of Congress is a positive way of advocating for media control on a community level (Story, 1990). On a personal level, however, it is up to parents, teachers, and the rest of us to lesson the amount of violence kids actually see. So let's take such steps as have been discussed and put them into action. It just might prevent a tragedy from happening.
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