Drive-by shootings and school massacres are just two of the many violent past-times of today’s youth. Is television a contributor to this insidious erosion of children's respect for life? Much research that has been done in an attempt to answer this question. The majority of the findings are very similar in content, and the results are grim. Television violence has been shown to cause four major changes in children's behavior: "Increasing aggressiveness and anti-social behavior, increasing their fear of becoming victims, making them less sensitive to violence and to victims of violence, and increasing their appetite for more violence in entertainment and in real life." (AAP Committee) Television is causing a change in America's children, and it is not a change for the better.
If watching television is increasing children's aggressive behavior, then is it also causing a higher crime rate? Once again, the answer is a resounding yes. "Longitudinal studies tracking viewing habits and behavior patterns of a single individual found that 8-year-old boys who viewed the most violent programs while growing up were the most likely to engage in aggressive and delinquent behavior by age 18 and serious criminal behavior by age 30." (Booth, Mullins, Scott, and Woolston) Not only do our children exhibit an immediate reaction to violence in the media but also a long term effect of a higher propensity toward committing crimes. Another population study stated that the homicide rate doubled within ten to fifteen years after the introduction of television into several different locations where television was introduced at different times. (Facts About Media Violence) We are all affect...
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...can child reaches the age of 16, he or she will have witnessed 200,000 acts of violence on television, including 33,000 murders. (Juvenile Crime and TV) Apparently we accept what we see over and over again as normal behavior. We are teaching our children that violence is acceptable by inviting it into our homes everyday. They, in turn, are becoming more violent from the playgrounds all the way to the prisons.
Booth, Vicki, Mullins, Heather, Scott, Erika, and Woolston, Jonathon. "Juvenile Crime and TV." Online. http://staff.gc.maricopa.edu/mdinchak/eng101/juvenile.htm
"Facts About Media Violence." Online. http://www.ama-assn.org/ad-com/releases/1996/mvfacts.htm
AAP Committee on Pediatrics. "Some Things You Should Know About Media Violence and Media Literacy." Online. http://www.aap.org/advocacy/ChildHealthMonth/media.htm
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