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Effects Of Television On Children Essay

1799 words - 8 pages

A major topic of conversation nowadays is whether or not violence on television causes children to behave more violently. Shortly after I began to research this topic, I realized that it is not a clear cut issue. Evidence can be easily found to support each position. In the following essay I will examine the different positions that can be taken on this topic and try to form my own view on the affect violent TV has on children.

The first position I will examine is the one in which it is believed that, without a doubt, violent TV increases the likelihood that a child will behave in a violent manner. This stands is examined in the Maclean's article entitled "Power to the people. ...view middle of the document...

In the end, it was concluded that violent TV significantly affected the way in which the children behaved.

The other position that can be taken when discussing this issue is one in which people believe that violent TV does not affect the behavior of children. In the Canadian Forum article, "TV and The Child Savers. Bad Habits and The Boob Tube" this position is discussed. The author, Thelma McCormack discusses the goals of the action group that refers to themselves as the Child Savers. According to this article, the Child Savers believe that "Programs which contain gratitous violence will not be shown on television."(McCormack 1993.P20) They basically want to force the CRTC to wake up and take action. They are also considering making an ammendment to the Criminal Code. The author of this article seems to be more interested with discrediting the Child Savers action group. McCormack quotes George Gerbner as saying "in reality, there is less violence on TV now than in the past.(McCormack 1993 p.20) Gerbner belongs to the Unniversity of Pensylvannia's Annemburg School Of Communications and has been studying TV for more than a decade. Gerbner believes that there is less tolerance for any type of violence. This article discusses rhe situation in which the American Psychologists decided to change their initial view on TV violence negatively affecting the behavior of children. They now believe that thier view was based on laboratory results. They also realize that the long term affects have not yet been determined. This article has vast importance because it shows that what is expertly reported is not necessarily true. If the American psychologists can make a mistake anyone can. The American Psychologists have not entirely dismissed their view, they have merely realized that they did not have enough concrete evidence to suoourt their view. This Canadian Forum article also realizes that most studies on violence and TV isolate TV as the only contributor to the children violent behavior. They forget about the other aspects of the subjects lives. They might have already been prone to act violently. This article states that "the result is that our studies tell us little violence or the culture of childhood."(McCormack 1993 p.22) The author believes that we need to understand how children react and respond to TV before we can make judgments on it's affects.

An experiment that supports this view that TV violence does not promote violence in children is a group of studies conducted by Seymour Feshbach and Robert D Singer. In their book, "Television and Aggression" they state that the issue "arises from a concern over an important contemporary social issue"(Feshbach & Singer 1987). This group of studies looked at the way violent TV affects adolescent and preadolescent boys. Feshbach and Singer believed this particular group had a natural tendency to watch more violent TV programs. Although this book was published in 1977, the trends it discusses are still...

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