Violence in the Media
Violence on Television
November 16, 2009
A German physicist named Karl Ferdinand Braun developed a device called a cathode ray tube in 1897, which could transmit light if struck by a stream of electrons. Scientists across the world began developing means of using the tubes to transmit images. By the end of the 1920s, the U. S. had established about 15 experimental broadcast signals for television.
The 1939 World’s Fair, held in New York City, offered commercial television to the U. S. public. Production of televisions was put on the back burner during the U. S. involvement of World War II, but ...view middle of the document...
a twisting or wrenching of a sense, phrase, etc, so as to distort the original or true sense or form 6. an instance of violence; violent act or deed.
Compared to the early television programs the programs that can be seen today, such as “Law and Order”, “CSI”, and “Smallville”, to name a few, are extremely violent. Many of these investigative type programs depict real life crimes and how they are solved. There is no shortage of blood, guts, and gore on most channels at any time of the day. Although these types of shows are directed toward adult audiences, children have access to them all hours of the day thanks to cable and satellite television syndication.
Currently, the FCC only regulates “indecent” content, which usually refers to sexually suggestive or profane material, not violence. Indecent material is punishable by fining the television or radio station, but under the current FCC regulations, violent material is not punishable. However, in April of 2007 a report was released by the FCC arguing that it should be authorized to regulate violence on television. The report stated that the use of the V-chip, a technology required by law in televisions made after 1996 that allows parents to block out shows that they deem inappropriate for their children, is an ineffective method of shielding children from violent television programming (Key Events).
As the occurrence of violence on prime-time television increases, so does the interest over the effects of violence. Many studies indicate that children who watch
several hours of violent television each day are more likely to act aggressively toward
their peers, now and later in life. Studies have shown that many children are watching violent programs on television daily. One study shows that 57% of programs on television today include some type of violence (Studies sidebar). By the time the average American child turns 18, he or she will have witnessed approximately 100,000 acts of televised violence, says Gloria Tristani, a former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a government body that regulates U. S. telecommunications (Update: Television Violence).
Television violence critics suggest that when a child watches a series of violent acts, they become “desensitized” to the damaging affects of disturbing behavior and may feel less sympathy for the victims of these acts. They also state that children pattern their behavior after the violent characters that they see day to day on television. They cite long-term studies that show an association between viewing violent programming and violent behavior and crime (Television Violence)
The FCC reviewed many studies conducted by the medical and social science communities to assess the impact of violent programming on children. The debate as to whether viewing violent programming daily actually results in violent behavior is inconclusive. However, studies by the Surgeon General and the Federal Trade...