on Children Media Argumentative Persuasive EssaysTelevision Violence and Its Effect on ChildrenThe children of today are surrounded by technology and entertainmentthat is full of violence. It is estimated that the average child watches fromthree to five hours of television a day! (Neilson 1993). Listening to music isalso a time consuming pastime among children. With all of that exposure, onemight pose the question, “How can seeing so much violence on television andvideo games and hearing about violence in in music affect a child’s behavior?”Obviously these media have a big influence on childrens’ behavior: we can see itin the way they attempt to emulate their favorite rock stars by dressing in asimilar style and the way children play games, imitating their favorite cartoonpersonalities or super heroes.
Studies have shown that extensive televisionviewing may be associated with, aggressive behavior, poor academic performance,precocious sexuality, obesity, and the use of drugs or alcohol (Deitz).Television, video games, and music are very influential and if there is too muchviolence available for children to watch, play, or listen to, this can swaytheir attitudes in a negative direction.Television is especially influencial on the children today. The hardtruth is that children spend an average of 28 hours a week in front of thetelevision (Neilson 1993). This is almost two times the amount of time thatsome children are in school. At this very impressionable age it is no wonderthat the images that kids see sometimes has a profound impact on their behavior.Fifty-five percent of children watch television with a friend or alone.
(TV-FreeAmerica). Too often parents assume that their children are responsible enough tochoose suitable programming. But the sad fact is that even some shows deemed aschildren’s television are violent. A survey in Mediascope showed that astaggering sixty-six percent of children’s programming contained violence. Manytimes the violence occured in cartoons which were the least likely to show thelong term consequences of violence and in many cases portrayed the violence in ahumorous way (Mediascope 2/96).
Studies done in various countries across theworld show the homicide rates doubling 10 to 15 years after the introduction oftelevision even though the study was taken at different times in each country(Centerwall). Another study showed that eight year old boys who watched themost violent programming were the most likely to get into fights or problemswith the police (Eron). If parents knew what their children were watching maybethey could help to point out the shortcomings in television.Music is also a large part of children’s lives today. A recent studyshowed that between the seventh to twelveth grade alone children listen toalmost as many hours of rock music as they spend in school, for a full twelveyears (Entertainment Monitor, 1995).
As a teenager I can personally attest tothe fact that most parents don’t know what their children are listening to.Much of the popular music of today contains messages about sex and violence.The artists who sing the music often become the idols of countless childrenacross the country, many of whom copy everything from the singers habits (drugs,alcohol, violence, etc.) to their style of dress.
Another threat to children are video games. Today’s most popular videogames include many different fighting games. These games such as Mortal Kombatand Street Fighter include graphic images of blood and violence. Other populartypes of games include sports games such as NHL 96 also include many violentaspects.
The violence in these video games can desensitize children to violenceand alter their perception of reality. It can give them the idea that violenceis the way to deal with problems and conflict. Little is known of the actualnumbers of how video games affect children because the technology is so new. Ithas been assumed that studies dealing with other forms of media will also applyhere (McAfee).In the first few year of a child’s life he is very impressionable.
Muchof his personality is formed by the time he goes to his first day ofkindergarten. There is nothing wrong with him listening to music, watchingtelevision, or even playing video games. It becomes a problem when the parentslose control of what a child sees and how he interprets it. Many of the factsin this paper are startling, but does this mean we should ban all violence fromeverything? That will never happen.
In all of the examples I have presentedone thing is very clear: If parents played a more active role in what childrenwatched, listened to, or games they played, things would be fine. All too oftenchildren are left to make up their own minds about things. Next time you wonderabout how easily children can be convinced of something think of the myth ofSanta Claus: One man bringing presents to the WHOLE world, in one sled, pulledby flying reigndeer. All in the couse of one night.
If they believe that, how hard can it be to convince them of other falsehoods?