Television and Media Violence – Affect on Children
Exposure to Violent Television Causes Aggressive Behavior in Children
Mrs. Martha Jagel, Professor
Rogers State University
Ashton Duncan, Student
Rogers State University
June 20th 2013
Television is the most powerful medium the world has ever seen. Never before has it been possible to communicate and so strongly influence millions of people at the same moment right in their own homes. But its misuse has been felonious, and society is paying an increasing price (Langone, 1984).
Almost weekly the press carries some story about the harmful effects of television on children. Parent-teacher ...view middle of the document...
The on-off switch is the ultimate defense, and parents wield it (Mortimer, 1994). Parents do have a duty to protect their children from the effects of violent television (Zuckerman, 1993), and one way that parents protect their children is to teach them such moral values as honesty, courage, and self-control (Browden, 1995). However, because the children are directly involved in this problem, and are the ones who are watching and being affected by the violent television they are viewing, they need to participate in the effort to resolve this issue. Parents can’t do it all by themselves; especially in these days of single-parent and two-career families, parents just can’t be with their children all of the time (Mortimer, 1994).
Several definitions of violent behavior in relation to the media have been put forth. A violence index compiled for cable television programs defines it as "a clear-cut and overt episode of physical violence--hurting or killing or the threat of hurting and/or killing in any context." Another definition reads that violence is the "overt expression of physical force against self or other compelling action against ones will on pain of being hurt or killed, or actually hurting or killing" (Siano, 1994). Other definitions are: "physical acts or the threat of physical acts by humans designed to inflict physical injury to persons or damage to property"; "acts involving the use of force, threats of force, or the intent of force against others"; and "how much fighting, shouting, yelling, or killing there is in a show" (Pearl, 1984). When you combine these definitions of violence with the content of television programming, the result is increased aggressive behavior in young children.
Studies indicate that violent television does cause aggression in young children. One of the founding studies on this topic was conducted in 1960 by Leonard Eron, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. Eron surveyed all of the 875 eight-year-olds in Columbia County, New York, and found that those children who watched television shows with a high content of violence were the children who expressed the most aggressiveness at school. In 1970, a committee on television and social behavior, which was formed by the U.S. Surgeon General, asked Eron to do a follow-up survey on the children of Columbia County. Eron, together with L. Rowell Huesmann, an expert in cognitive development, re-surveyed 500 of the original 875 children, then 19 years of age. They found a cumulative effect in the aggressive children at age eight and in the same individuals at age 19. In 1981, a subset of this group was surveyed (400 of the 30 year-old men, plus 80 of their own children). These results showed a high rate of alcohol abuse, spousal abuse, violent crimes, and aggressiveness in the children of the original subjects. Eron and Huesmann concluded that this behavior was learned, and that one of the teachers was media violence. A situation a child...