Television - Friend or Foe

By the time she was seven, Sarah had witnessed countless murders and numerous horrifying acts of violence ranging from spousal abuse to violent beatings, rape and other atrocities of war and gang violence. You may ask yourself, where could this child have grown up? Was it some war-torn country? Could it have been some country lacking the securities of decent law enforcement where criminals are free to roam and tyrannize innocent citizens? How do children manage to grow up under these circumstances, you ask yourself. But wait, Sarah is your neighbor. Nearly every day you see her and her brothers getting off the bus in the afternoon and running into their house. They aren't a violent family, and they haven't moved from some ravaged country. Sarah is just the average school child whose preferred after-school activity is television viewing. This year she will spend 1500 hours in front of the television set. Compare that figure with the 900 hours she will spend in her classroom at school. She even has her own television set in her room like more than a third of the young children her age (Feig 2). Averaging three to four hours of viewing a day, by the time she completes elementary school, she will have taken in more than 100,000 acts of violence and 8,000 murders. Oh, but it's just entertainment, right? Wrong, our children are facing a threat that should not be ignored. Television comes directly into our homes, and its influence needs to be addressed and dealt with. FCC Chairman Newton Minow said, "In 1961 I worried that my children would not benefit much from television, but in 1991 I worry that my grandchildren will actually be harmed by it" (qtd. in Kaufman 4).

Let's consider the fact that the average c...

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...990. ERIC. EBSCO Publishing. WVUP Parkersburg Library. 6 Nov. 2003 <>.

Kaufman, Ron. "How Television Images Affect Children." Kill Your Television home page. 6 Nov. 2003 <>.

Miller, Karl E. "Children's Behavior Correlates with Television Viewing." American Family Psychologist. Feb. 1, 2003. WVUP Parkersburg Library. 6 Nov. 2003 <>.

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