Media has the supremacy to influence millions of individuals through countless formats. Media is everywhere in our daily lives, in television, motion pictures, and radio, influencing what society consume to what society wear. “Media is a very powerful tool capable of mobilizing people’s contemplations and ideologies” (Mock 2004). Most people find television an escape from their hectic daily lives. In our society today, there is an ongoing debate about violence in the media. Media violence has been an issue that most of the literature seems to avoid, but it is important in our lives.
To give you perspective on just how much violence kids see on TV, consider this: “The average American child will witness 200,000 violent acts on television by age 18. Kids may become desensitized to violence and more aggressive. TV violence sometimes begs for imitation because violence is often promoted as a fun and effective way to get what you want” (Kids Health, 2010). With this one can see how much of an influence T. V has on kids. As the teens and kids continue to watch and read these violent images depicted in music and film, detrimental effects affect their judgment, attitudes, and behaviors.
Concerns about media violence have grown as television has acquired a global audience. While TV violence is not the only cause of aggressive or violent behavior, it is clearly a significant factor. Television can be a powerful influence in developing value systems and shaping behavior. Unfortunately, much of today’s television programs include violent images! The impact of TV violence may be immediately evident in the child’s behavior or may surface years later. Media is responsible for inciting violence.
Thus said, there are many profession; scientist, doctors, educators, police detectives, etc. spending a lot of time trying to fully understand the cause and effects of media violence in order to bring about the best solutions possible. Two solutions that I would propose are for parents or any adult to reduce the exposure to media and change the impact of violent images that the kids are seeing. These two solutions will be affective in reducing media violence because if children are exposed to the television less, they will see less violence.
This can be accomplished by enforcing limits on how much time children are glued to the screen, in addition to setting guidelines on what they can and can’t watch. This can be done through the V-chip technology. This technology was made to block programs based on their ratings category. With this device, parents can block any programs that show voluminous amounts of violence by adding a four-digit code. In fact parents don’t have to completely neglect the child during the blocking of programs. To make the kids feel like they have some ruling in the decision. Parents can allow the children to select the programs within the family’s guidelines, while seeking to add positive programs and limiting negative ones” (Thomas 2010). On April 6-26, 1999 there was a random sample survey done to 1001 parents of children ages 2-17. Parents were asked 34 different questions regarding their opinion on television, the v-chip technology, and the T. V ratings system. The Kaiser Foundation and Princeton Survey Research Associates (PSRA) designed the survey.
Based on the survey, 62 percent of the parents were more concerned “a great deal” that their children are being exposed to too much violent content on T. V. When the parents were asked whether or not they would use the v-chip technology, 77 percent said they would use it. Despite the big commitment to use the v-chip, “In 2001, 2 out of 5 parents (40%) owned a V-chip set and 7% had used it to monitor their children’s T. V viewing Of all parents who have a V-chip T. V set, more than half (53%) don’t know it. Of all parents who knew they have a V-Chip T.
V set, t-thirds (64%) have chosen not to use it and one-third (36%) have used it” (Kaiser Foundation 2003). One can agree that, the neglect of parents also contributes to the violence seen on T. V by kids. Despite their concerns about media’s influence, most parents provide a freely environment, where minimum to little supervision is done. Thus increasing the impact of media violence on kids. On the contrary the implement of the V-chip technology will have a huge effect on how media impacts kids. For without it kids will be brainwashed with the idea that what they view on T.
V is absolutely normal. In There are four ways television violence may affect children: “imitating, reduction inhibitions, desensitizing to violence and increasing arousal” (Kids Health 2010). Children often behave differently after they have been watching violent programs on television. They may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others. In addition, children may be more fearful of the world around them. Children learn from media violence how to express their aggression through violence by imitating what they see or have seen others do.
Media violence may also have very strong direct effects on children, such as making them very scared or insecure. Based on Abigail O’ Connell’s article, “the negative messages kids receive via the media have an injurious affect on their psyche and can create serious societal problems” (Abigail O’Connell, 2010). Thus later affecting their values and behavior. Teens who spend an excessive amount of time strapped by their couches watching media violence may carry out violent acts when they’re at school. About 32 percent of students report being bullied during school according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention” (Abigail O’Connell, 2010). Children and teens that bully others are more likely to get into fights with classmates, vandalize property, skip school and drop out of school. We have witnessed a plethora of shootings by high-school students in the past few years. For example, the Columbine High School massacre that took place on April 20, 1999, two seniors decided to embark on a massacre killing twelve students and one teacher.
This shows how the lack violence limitation can have a detrimental impact on kids, as they get older. Furthermore, if one was to look biological to how excessive amount of media violence has a detrimental effect on teen’s standard of living, one should read Dr. Vincent P. Mathews study. Dr. Vincent Mathews is a professor of radiology at Indiana University School of Medicine. He conducted a study that showed how violence affects the brain function within the frontal cortex: the area of the brain that controls concentration and self-control. To conduct his research, Dr. Mathews compared MRI brain scans of two groups of teens.
The first group was children with behavior disorder; the second group was the control group with no history of aggressive behavior. Dr. Mathew made sure both groups are to be exposed to a variety of violent media for a year. After properly conducting his experiment, he later found that “individuals in the control group with high media violence exposure showed a brain activation pattern similar to the pattern of the aggressive group” (Mathews) Based on the MRI scans, the first group of teens showed a decrease in the frontal cortex which “would indicate a lessened ability for attention and impulse control” (Mathews).
One can see how effective media is regarding influencing kids. The other solution that I would propose to decrease the effect media violence is by changing the impact of violent images seen on T. V. Children can be taught by elders, on the difference between good television show and a restricted show. This can be done by spending a day watching T. V with them and discuss with them about the contents that they see. This allows for responsible elders to discover what they comprehend and don’t. It is important for children to learn the difference between reality and fantasy at an early age and to know how costumes, camera angles, and special effects can fool them” (Thoman 1989). This in fact will be the x-factor that will allow them to see the difference. The approach that parents should bring during the discussion should be in a more calmed and vibrant way. Don’t simply say kids, “What you’re seeing is terribly wrong, and you shouldn’t dare put your eyes to it for you kill people”. Instead, encourage them to be able to develop an awareness of violence when they see it and understand its consequences through their own experience” (Thoman 1989). By doing this, children will build a sense of matureness that will not only allow them to watch those types of media, but also have the awareness to distinguish the difference between reality and fantasy. Even when parents are not available, they will have already learned critical-thinking skills, which will become an everyday habit. If parents want more solutions to help decrease the impact of media violence, there are alternative solutions that can be used.
Such as getting involved in national debates regarding media violence. If parents want to get there voices as well as their children’s there many organizations that are willing to start petitions etc. This in fact will provide a good example for the young ones to follow on their parent’s footsteps by doing what’s right for their household. “Even young children can learn to communicate their concerns to local media owners and their elected officials” (Thoman 1989). As long as commands are positive and straight to the point, I don’t see how laws wouldn’t get passed.
Other methods that can be used to find solutions are through discussing with other parents and locating alternatives to media that could solve conflicts with violence. Parents can have group meetings and discus about T. V management have Q’s and A’s and share intellects. This allows for parents to communicate their standards to babysitters or others who may care for their children. There are many ways that one can get more information about setting limits and guidelines, one can contact local parent/teacher organizations such as The National Parent Teacher Association, (PTA).
The PTA is the largest volunteer child advocacy association in the nation; “its duties are to remind our country of its obligations to children and provide parents and families with a powerful voice to speak on behalf of every child while providing the best tools for parents to help their children to be successful students” (PTA 2010). In addition, other sources such as churches, libraries and other community groups are there to help the good work along. Thus said, there are multiple alternatives other than T.
V that can be used to resolve the conflicts. There are many books, music, pictures that provide role models to counter the actions and attitudes of today’s violent super heroes. For example one can go to a near library and ask if there are books or novels such as Superman or Batman. Overall there is no definite solution to the problem of media violence, nor will we completely delete violence from society’s views. Though there are multiple steps that parents and other elders caretakers can do to reduce the affect media violence has on kids.