CHILDREN AND TV VIOLENCE
This paper seeks to find the possible effects of television Violence on Children Behaviour as highlighted by psychologists. It gives a detailed explanation of how violent episodes negatively affect the children after watching them. It also looks at the moral norms behind the act of watching such episodes.
According to Taylor (2007) Psychology can be defined as the science of mental life, it therefore follows that child psychology is the scientific study of a child's mental life. The mental life of a child can be affected in various ways and this includes family violence, media and age mates among others. Walker (1990) on the other hand define Morality as what is right and acceptable within the setting of a community while immorality may be looked at as what is not right and therefore unacceptable in the community.
Moral judgment is very tricky to define because what one community sees as a moral behaviour can be immoral in another community. According to Macintyre (1957) Moral judgment may be literally be defined as what is perceived to be acceptable in a specified community. This study will look at the some of the children immoral behaviours caused by watching violent acts on television.
Effects of Television Violence on Children Behaviour:
In studying the effect of Television violence on a child's life, Psychologists argue that television violence will affect the child's behaviour negatively. Taylor (2007) argues that when children are exposed to violence, they are likely to become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others. In this respect many children will end up being hurt by others as the rest of the children watch, this is because they are used to such kind violence and to them it's a normal act.
Secondly television violence will make the children fear the world around them. According to Eron (1992) some of these forms of violence are too extreme to the extent that the children get scared of what is around them. Some are even get more afraid during the night. This makes even the children to be scared of strangers and may cause nightmares among the children.
Thirdly, according to Eron (1992) television violence will trigger the children to have an absolute negative behaviour towards other children. In other words it makes the children to be aggressive to others. Such children do not mingle easily with others for according to them violence is the order of the day. When they meet with others they think of fighting as a form of exercising "their powers" on the other children assuming that they are as strong as the people they watch on the televisions. This is because we are living in a world where most parents are so busy to the extent that they do not have time for their children, and the moral standards among children slowly diminishing as a result. The parents are busy at work to make ends meet, they give their children lots of freedom to watch whatever they want just to keep them busy not considering the outcome.
Approximately 20% of television shows contain violent acts. This is according to a study by Eron (1992). He states that such programmes make the children be scared of the world around them and they feel that the world is mean on them. After watching such programmes children are more likely to change their behaviour by becoming more violent or by fearing the world around them.
In order to end this problem, children should be education on the dangers of watching these violent acts on the television. The parents should take a leading role in this debate and spend time with their children. This is because the media owners can not do it, the television manufacturers can not do it, so it's upon the parents to take it head on and do it themselves. They should watch at least one episode with their children and get the reactions of the children and educate them on the same.
The children should be taught to differentiate between fictions and what are real life episodes and discourage them from acting violently against other children for what they watch on television are fictions and not fact. Children should not be banned from watching such programmes but should be educated on the dangers of the same. Banning can never be a solution for if you ban them they will look for every opportunity possible to get access to these episodes, and this will make it even worse.
Alasdair Macintyre. "What Morality is Not", Journal of Philosophy, volume 32, page 325 to 335, 1957.
Alksnis, C. and Taylor, A. "The Impact of Experiencing and Witnessing Family Violence during Childhood" retrieved on 2nd February, fromhttp://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/pblct/fv/fv04/fv04e02-eng.shtml, 2007.
Huesmann, R., Podolski, C and Eron, L. "Relations between Children's Exposure to TV Violence and Their Aggressive and Violent Behaviour" Developmental Psychology Journal, Volume 39 (2), 1992.
Walker, A and Wallace, G. The definition of Morality. London: Methuen, 1990.
For more information see Facts for Families;
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#55 "Understanding Violent Behavior in Children,"
#59 "Children Online," and
#67 "Children and the News."
About the Author: Charles Kelly
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