The Link between TV Violence and the Violence of Children
Children watch a lot of television. TV has even become a babysitter.
There is more violence portrayed on television than in earlier years. Crime has increased
steadily over the years as well. Many children have been involved in violent crimes in recent years, and
there is a link between violence on television and the increase in crime.
As early as 1960, Leonard Eron and L. Rowell Huesmann, researchers in Columbia County,
New York, discovered a connection between violence on TV and how aggressively children behaved.
Children seeing violence on TV, beginning as young as eight years old, ...view middle of the document...
This deregulation allowed toy manufacturers to make TV programs to sell
their products. Teachers began to notice an increase in violence in the children in their classes. But it was not
until the fall of 1993 that the teachers could link their students' aggressive behavior to a specific program and
toy line, namely, "The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers". The show portrayed five normal teenagers who could be
transformed into costumed superheroes when unexpectedly attacked by villains. Although the "Power Rangers"
was similar to other children's cartoon programs, it contained more violence than any previous show. The show
used real people, as well as animated characters, performing violent acts, where previous shows had only used
animated characters (Levin, 1-5).
The teachers noticed how the "Power Rangers" affected the children's play activities. There was a definitive
negative effect on the children They saw increased violence among the children, as well as repetitious imitation
of the show, less imagination and creativity in their play. The children seemed to be confused as to what was
real or pretend, since the "Power Rangers" show used real teenagers and animated characters (Levin, 1-5).
In March of 1998, the largest school massacre in American history happened in Jonesboro,
Arkansas. Jonesboro is the hometown of Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, director of the Killology Research
Group, who also teaches psychology at Arkansas State University. Being a military expert on the
psychology of killing, he explains how TV and other media are "training our children to kill" (Grossman,1).
"Children don't naturally kill; they learn it from violence in the home and, most pervasively, from
violence as entertainment in television, movies, and interactive video games" (Grossman, 3). Increased
violence is not only happening in America, it is occurring worldwide. The common cause of this violence
is "media violence presented as entertainment for children" (Grossman, 2-3). Grossman states that it is
unnatural to kill our own kind. Armies condition soldiers to kill, and media violence is doing the same thing
with our children, but with no restrictions (Grossman, 1-11).
By watching violence on TV, children are becoming desensitized. If a young child watches a violent
program on TV, he copies the actions seen into real life. Being a young, inexperienced child, he has trouble
distinguishing between reality and fantasy. "The Journal of the American Medical Association published
the definitive epidemiological study on the impact of TV violence. In every nation, region, or city with television,
there is an immediate explosion of violence on the playground, and within 15 years there is a doubling of the
murder rate " (Grossman, 5). It takes 15 years for the desensitized child to reach "prime crime age"
(Grossman, 5). ...