Shortly after a Boston television station showed a movie depicting teenagers dousing a
derelict with gasoline and setting him afire, six youths attacked a woman and set her on fire in an
identical manner. Several months later, NBC televised Born Innocent, a made-for-television-
movie, which showed the sexual violation of a young girl with a broom handle. Three days after
this program aired, a group of girls committed a similar attack on another 9-year-old girl (“Wild”
A20). These are just a couple of shocking examples out of many illustrating how televised violence
can spark violent behavior. Violence in society is a complex problem, and numerous sources can
be cited for blame. If control is to be gained, one obvious place to begin is television, for television
violence can promote violence in those who see it. This is especially true for our children and the
programming provided for them.
Many people claim that no cause and effect link can be established between violence seen
on television and behaviors in children. They insist that those who do assert such a connection are
merely engaging in an elaborate post hoc fallacy which hinges on simple coincidence. However, an
experiment at Penn State University begins to establish the conclusion that a strong tie does exist
between children’s behavior and the violence they are exposed to on television. In this experiment,
92 kinder- gardeners were divided into three groups according to measured levels of aggression
they displayed (high aggressive, middle aggressive, low aggressive). Over a four-week period, each
group watched set quantities of different programs. One group of programs contained high-
violence programs such as Superman and Batman. A ...
... middle of paper ...
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Levesque, Roger J.R. Adolescents, Media, and the Law: What Developmental Science Reveals and
Free Speech Requires. Cary, NC: Oxford University Press, 2007. Ebrary. Web. 3 Mar.
Lyon, Royce l., John Newti, and Elan S. Dunn. Television: The Bent World. Ottumwa,
IA: Hawkeye State Press, 1975. Print.
Nathanson, Amy I. “Identifying and Explaining the Relationship between Parental Mediation and
Children’s Aggression.” Communication Research 26.2: 124-143. Social Sciences Full
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“Wild Nights.” New York Times. 29 Nov. 1995: A20. Academic Search Complete. Web. 7 Feb. 2011.
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