In the last few years we have seen a new and frightening phenomena comeacross our TV screens. Young kids, mostly boys, walking into their schoolsand opening fire into crowds of schoolmates and teachers. The airwaves havebeen filled with “experts” claiming the cause is everything from too manyguns available to arcade games to violence on TV. In the last few years wehave seen a new and frightening phenomena come across our TV screens. Youngkids, mostly boys, walking into their schools and opening fire into crowdsof schoolmates and teachers. The airwaves have been filled with “experts”claiming the cause is everything from too many guns available to arcadegames to violence on TV.Children who watch a lot of TV are less aroused by violent scenes than arethose who only watch a little; in other words, they’re less bothered byviolence in general, and less likely to see anything wrong with it.

Oneexample: in several studies, those who watched a violent program instead ofa non-violent one were slower to intervene or to call for help when, alittle later, they saw younger children fighting or playing destructively.Studies by George Gerbner, Ph.D., at the University of Pennsylvania, haveshown that children’s TV shows contain about 20 violent acts each hour andalso that children who watch a lot of television are more likely to thinkthat the world is a mean and dangerous place.’Children who watch the violent shows, even ‘just funny’ cartoons, weremore likely to hit out at their playmates, argue, disobey class rules,leave tasks unfinished, and were less willing to wait for things than thosewho watched the non-violent programs,’ says Aletha Huston, Ph.D.

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, now atthe University of Kansas.In spite of this accumulated evidence, broadcasters and scientists continueto debate the link between the viewing TV violence and children’saggressive behavior. Some broadcasters believe that there is not enoughevidence to prove that TV violence is harmful. But scientists who havestudied this issue say that there is a link between TV violence andaggression, and in 1992, the American Psychological Association’s TaskForce on Television and Society published a report that confirms this view.The report, entitled Big World, Small Screen: The Role of Television inAmerican Society, shows that the harmful effects of TV violence do exist.Screen violence is the biggest TV turn-off, according to a report by theBroadcasting Standards Commission (BSC). Sixty per cent of peoplequestioned for the report complained there was too much violence on TV.

Thestudy showed that increasing numbers of people are switching offprogrammes, which disgust them. Concerns about the amount of sex ontelevision, however, seem to be dropping as the issue fell from being theprimary concern of viewers to the third. Almost 40% of those interviewedsaid they had been “personally disgusted” by something on TV and hadswitched off the programme – a rise of almost 10% on last year. When askedto name the issue, which concerned them most 39%, said violence, 25% saidoffensive language and 21% said sex.Recently 30 people complained to the TV watchdog, the IndependentTelevision Commission (ITC), about violent scenes in Coronation Street.Viewers complained over the level of violence and menace in the soap at atime when children could be watching.

But the ITC ruled that the scenes hadbeen filmed so that very little violence was in fact shown.Wild coyote_ violent

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