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Effects Of Violent Television On Children

1440 words - 6 pages

Effects of Violent Television on Children Violence on television is a concern to society as children are now watching more of it than ever before. The amount of violent programming has also increased. The majority of studies on the subject have researchers believing that there is a causal relationship between violent television programs and violent behavior. Some studies have failed to prove the existence of such a relationship while other researchers deny that a relationship exists at all. The general public is not fully aware of the effects of violent programs even with the vast amount of available research. Studies on these effects have been done in both laboratory and natural or ...view middle of the document...

Researchers classify violent behavior as ranging from minor to severe. Minor violence is defined as violence directed at toys while severe violence is the physical aggression involving intent to hurt another person (Felson, 1996 & Cantor, 2000). Studies by Freedman and McGuire have concluded that no such relationship exists between violent television and violent behavior (Felson, 1996). Still other studies have not been able to prove, nor disprove, the existence of a relationship among the two. Researchers do tend to agree that television does have a potential to influence behavior as so much time is spent viewing (Phillips, 1982).The general public is not fully aware of the results of effects research even with the vast amount of studies conducted. This is due to the variety of concluded results and the lack of television programming to report these results as they may hurt their industry (Cantor).Both laboratory and natural or real-life studies have been conducted in short term studies as well as longitudinal studies . Conclusions of laboratory results support the belief that violence on television can generate violent behavior (Phillips, 1982). These laboratory results are somewhat difficult to place on real life situations that don't contain the same controls. In real-life studies there is a social context in which the viewing takes place involving various factors not found in the laboratory. Children who view violent television may not act out violently in front of parents or a researcher for they believe they will be punished. Instead, their violent behavior may be acted out when no adult is around to prevent it (Charlton & Gunter, 1999). This makes it hard to conclude a causal relationship between violent television and violent behavior.Developmental stages in children play a role in the effect of violent television. The imitative-competitive stage will find children trying to imitate the violence they see as if it were some sort of game. Young children are often unable to differentiate between fantasy and real life making it hard for them to determine what behavior is appropriate in society. The type of socialization received by children will also play a part in how they respond to violence seen on television (Palermo, 1995). It is not just violence learned from television that makes children behave more violently but also what they learn from their parents and peers ( Felson, 1996).Cognitive priming affects how associations in the memory are made and activated (Felson, 1996). When a child views a violent scene on television the scene is stored in their memory along with other ideas. When one of those ideas is activated, the child's mind is organized in such a manner that it responds to the activated idea in a violent manner because of the set of associations made with the original violent scene.Some children may be more vulnerable to violent television than others (Charlton & Gunter, 1999). This includes children who...

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