Television Violence and its Effect on Society
Scientists have been studying the relationship between television violence and its effect on viewers, especially children, for more than two decades. The effect of television violence is a highly-debated topic, with some people believing there could be no possible correlation because television is fake and others believing that television violence begets more violence. So, which of these opinions is accurate? We will take a look at the effects of television violence on adults, children, and society as a whole.
From action series to slasher films, adults have access to a whole slew of television violence. However, it is not believed that this violence affects most adults. Mentally healthy adults can differentiate between actions that are and are not acceptable as they watch television. This means that violent television had little to no effect on most adult viewers.
Something that has been studied for many years is the effects of television violence on child viewers. The most well-known study was published in 1977, with a follow-up study being conducted in 1992.
In the initial study, a group of 557 male and female children were studied. These children had ages ranging from 6-10 years and lived in 5 separate countries. Scientists Huesmann, Moise-Titus, Podolski, and Eron collected information in this initial stage, including how often the child was exposed to violent TV shows, which characters they identified with, how realistic the television violence was, how aggressive they acted as a child, and intellectual abilities. Scientists also considered parents socioeconomic status and educational level, their own TV usage (frequency and how often it was violent television), and parenting attitudes and practices.
The follow-up study was conducted in 1992, using the original sample. Scientists collected data on 329 of the children (now adults between 20-25 years of age). They interviewed the children, interviewed friends and spouses, and looked at archival records such as moving violation records and criminal convictions. It was found that early exposure to television violence correlated to more violent outbursts, especially when children identified with a same-sex aggressive television character at a young age. It was found that while men were more likely to engage in criminal activity and be physically violent, women were more likely to be indirectly violent.
It is not uncommon for people to refute the proof behind television violence because they do not believe it effects great society. However, television violence that effects children do effect society. The children of our society are the adults of the future. Since television violence has been proven to affect children later in adulthood, this means that television violence is paving the way for angrier, more violent adults. The best way to stop this downward slope is to limit your child’s exposure to media violence. Parents can limit the number of hours children spend watching TV and take precautions like blocking certain channels or websites visited on the Internet. They can also be aware of what their children are watching. Remember, less societal violence starts with limiting exposure to television violence at home.