VIOLENCE IN THE MEDIA OF AMERICA
MR. DAVID KERWIN
AUGUST 27 2013
Many Americans feel that the viewing of violence in the media reinforces negative behavior in society, especially among children and young adults. "Three thousand studies have been done since 1955 on the link between television and violence; 2,980 of them found a correlation between the two. We hear little about that because we get most of our news from television" (Peterson). With this much research one must acknowledge that there is a problem in America involving sex and violence in the media. We cannot blame all societal problems on the media and its portrayal of these issues, but we can ...view middle of the document...
"In just one hour, children can see five to six violent acts on prime time television, and 20 to 25 violent acts during each hour of Saturday morning children's programs" (Blumenthal). With some cable services providing hundreds of channels, one may be able to catch even more of the previously mentioned incidents in a matter of seconds simply by channel surfing.
"Children born today will witness 200,000 acts of violence on television by the time they are 18" (Peterson). One must realize that eliminating all violence from the screen would mean that most programs including history, nature, and many educational shows would have to be canceled as well. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, in his press release, "Tune out the Violence," cites the National Institute of Mental Health, a government agency who found that "80.3 percent of all television programs contain acts of violence. The typical program includes 5.21 incidents." These are surprising and alarming numbers. This leaves one wondering; what would be left to watch? Taken these circumstances into consideration, the media does have the power to alter the viewpoints of its audience, especially the all-too impressionable minds of children.
Not just your every day Tom, Dick and Harry decide to go out and commit a random act of violence, after seeing violent images portrayed in the media. However, studies have shown that just watching one violent act can create more aggression in children. Therefore, family and social guidance play key roles in the lives of children, and are very important aspects of interpreting the true cause of any individual's actions.
Studies have shown that children often act very different after watching television. In one study done at Pennsylvania State University, about 100 preschool children were observed both before and after watching television; some watched cartoons that had a lot of aggressive and violent acts in them, and others watched shows that didn't have any kind of violence. 'Children who watch the violent shows, even 'just funny' cartoons, were more likely to hit their playmates, argue, disobey class rules, leave tasks unfinished, and were less willing to wait for things than those who watched the nonviolent programs,' says Aletha Huston, Ph.D., now at the University of Kansas.
The parents who are most disturbed by violence in the media often forbid the viewing of specific channels and games in an attempt to shield their children from what they view as harmful. This causes even more interest in the topics, especially when dealing with teens, because they often do things just for the sake of rebellion. "Sex and violence in popular music, rock videos, films and, most recently, video games and collector cards portraying serial killers are the forbidden fruit for today's curious adolescents. The more adults threaten to censor, ban or restrict the availability of these items - the more alluring their appeal to youth"...