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Essay/Term paper: Television violence

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Domestic Abuse

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Television Violence

Violence in television, is it turning our children into violent,
destructive, and hateful toddlers. Yes or no? In today's society television
plays such a big role in our everyday lives that it is hard to see if it
effects our children's behavior. Television has the potential of being a very
constructive learning tool, if used correctly. On the other hand if used in a
destructive manner it could, hypothetically, turn our children and future
leaders of tomorrow into deadly hate mongers. I believe that television does
effect the way people think and behave.

In a survey given in 1978 at an unnamed college in Washington D.C., when
asked if what was seen on T.V. effected the way they acted ,2% thought it did ,
7% didn't know and ,91% didn't think it effected them at all(2). In 1993 a
similar survey was given in London by the Broadcasting Standard Council( BSC ).
When people were asked if they thought T.V. effected the way people behaved
41% said yes, 4% left without finishing the survey, and 55% said that they
didn't think it effected the way people acted(14).

As seen in the survey the problem of television violence is being made
more aware to the people of the world. The problem has also grown over the
years to a more serious dilemma making the government start to try and solve
the problem by initiating laws in which television stations must limit violence
on T.V.(6). It is still not enough though the problem must be taken care of
promptly before it changes society as a whole. If the problem is not taken care
of swiftly then it could effect the future of the world by having violence
rampage the streets of our towns.

In the past when television was first invented it was a much happier
time. people could walk on our streets without having to care if they were
going to make it home alive. I'm not trying to say that television is the reason
that society today is so dangerously violent, but as violence on television
evolved so did the violence on our streets. In the past there were not as many
violent T.V. shows if there were even any. Also T.V. was more of a family
recreation, most families could only afford one T.V. set so when children
watched T.V. they were supervised by their family making violence almost an
impossible thing to see if parents were not interested. Today, there are an
average of three televisions per household so it is harder for parents to make
sure their children are watching suitable programs. This also makes it easier
for a child to watch unsuitable violent television shows(7).

In today's society violent acts occur commonly that can be linked to
television or movies. In December of 1993 a young ten year old child after
watching an episode of Beavis and Butthead went into his two year old sisters
room and lit her baby crib on fire. This not only burnt the house down , gave
the ten year old kid serious third degree burns, but also killed the two year
old baby by burning to death(8). Also in October of 1993 after watching a
movie intitled " The Program " a handful of college kids mimicking a scene from
the movie laid down in the middle of a busy intersection and dodged traffic.
This little sheraid killed two of the kids, gave another two serious injuries
which put them in the critical care unit of the hospital for a month before
recovering , and gave one student a fractured collar bone and multiple
fractured ribs(15). Because of these two incidents and many more television
violence has been brought to the attention of the citizens of the world. It has
also grabbed the attention of the United States government. Since these
occurrences the government has strengthened there hold on the collar of the
television stations around the U.S. by making stricter restrictions on T.V.

In the future, The government has put together laws that they would like
to pass to limit television violence. Such rules are 1) A set of 1-800 numbers
for parents to call to get information on T.V. shows that contain violence.
This way the parents can choose or limit the viewing of violent programs for
there children. 2) Also there would be a count of violent incidents in a show
before each program on the television, this would also allow parents to
regulate children's viewing. 3) Violence warnings would be shown before each
show containing violence ( This is already done with most television stations ).
4) The government would monitor promotional spots for violent shows. The
government would prohibit a commercial for violent television shows until an
hour later in the evening when children are asleep. 5) There would also be the
organization of a presidential commission to identify other potential solutions
to television violence. 6) Finally, there would be a disallowance of tax
deductions for the cost of advertising on violent shows(9). Also there is anew
invention out called the V-chip that would be put into all new television sets.
This invention takes signals sent from the television stations, and then
translates them telling the T.V. if there is violence in the television show
being watched. Then if the parents want to program the T.V. set to not show
violent material the T.V. blacks out such material preventing children to

There are many arguments why television can't be completely abolished.
One of these reasons is the constitution. The first amendment states freedom of
speech, this is the biggest reason for television stations to continue
delivering violent programs to are homes through television sets. Any time the
government makes a substantial move towards relieving the problem of television
violence the television stations cry out that it is interfering with their
right to freedom of speech(5). This may be true but where in the constitution
does it state that we can not have the choice to choose what are children can
watch. The T.V. stations believe that it is are right to choose what we watch,
but the best way to do this is not by limiting what the stations can show but
by screening television viewing in the home by the parents. Many people feel
the same way, in a book intitled Classroom Combat teaching and television by
Maurine Doerken she writes that it is not the responsibility of the television
stations to keep children from watching violent shows, but is the
responsibility of the parents to teach their kids to turn such garbage off
themselves(4). Another argument for the television stations is that children
here violent terms and see violence any way so why take it off the air. This
argument states that children at school hear such terms as "drop dead out-fit ",
and " break a leg " so why stop it on television . They also state that at
schools children see fighting and hate between other students so why don't
people try and ban violence at school before they try to ban anything else(1).
Television stations also fight that there is no substantial evidence saying
that violence on television directly effects the way people and children act,
and until there is they refuse to take such violence off the T.V.(11). Although
all these reasons if looking at them from their point of view sound good enough
there are also some very good reasons to put a stop to television violence.

First there are the stated deaths of many adults and children that can
be linked back to a scene from a television show or just the show itself.
Included in these are the ones mentioned earlier in this paper, but there are
also more. Such as: In 1990 when the movie "Natural Born Killers" came out two
kids one male one female went on a killing spree stating they had gotten the
revelation after watching the movie, in which to similar people go around
killing person after person just for fun. Also after the movie "Dracula" was
released three teenage kids in Florida killed a tourist and tried to suck her
blood. There are also many more accounts of incidents such as these all
relating to a movie or television show that contained a violent nature. All
these violent occurrences and yet television stations see no direct relation
between them and television? Another thing is that when the constitution was
written there was no such thing as television, so how can that be used as an
excuse to keep violence on television(12). T.V. stations also suggest that it is
not there responsibility to teach children what is right and wrong, but it is
the responsibility of the parents. This may be true but with so many families
with two working parents it is almost an impossible feat to regulate what their
children watch, so there has to be some kind of regulation on the violence to
keep the children from getting these horrible ideas in their head. Television
violence is a problem, there is no possible way to say that it isn't. We have
to stop that problem, and the only way to do so is to put tougher restriction's
on television stations.

There is no doubt that television and movies can be used to help
children as a learning tool. In New Mexico, an organization offers entertaining
alternatives to television violence, to families afflicted by violence. This
organization puts video's out so parents can give their children something to
watch other than the violent material on television(10). Organizations such as
these are great. They are trying to help the youth of today before the problem
gets to big.

In conclusion, I hope that this information given can help show the
problems with television violence. It is said that by the time children
graduate from high school they would have seen eight-teen thousand murders or
other violent acts on television(10). That is to many acts of violence to not
effect the way children or adults behave. There must be something done before
it's to late, and our children grow up violent, non-caring, hate filled people.
We must stop it now or in the future, our future leaders who are the generation
X , who learned from watching television well be terrible people doing terrible
things around the globe. It is not to late we just have to get busy and make
things right, starting now.


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