Television Violence's Effects on Children Essay

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Television Violence's Effects on Children

Most people read statistics like “Before the average American child leaves elementary school, he or she will have witnessed more than 8,000 murders on television” ( “Does T.V. Kill?” ), and worry about the negative effect viewing violence on television will have on their children. Research into the effects of childhood exposure to violent television programming shows that there is cause for concern. Watching violence on television does have a negative effect on the way children see the world and the way they behave towards others.

Researchers have discovered that repeated exposure to violence on television causes children to become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others.
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Why is this the case? Children often have difficulty understanding that what they see on television is not reality. To them, the acts of violence that they see seem very real. George Gerbner discusses what he has discovered about the feelings of fear children exhibit after prolonged exposure to television violence:

What television seems to cultivate is what we call “The mean-world syndrome”. If you’re growing up in a heavy viewing home, for all practical purposes, you live in a meaner world than your next door neighbor who

watches less television. The major, most pervasive message of violence

is that of insecurity and vulnerability and fear.

The question then becomes, how do children react to their fear of the world?
How should a person react to a dangerous situation? The reaction most researchers noted in their studies was very interesting. Television has shown children how dangerous the world around them is. According to many television programs, violence is the answer. According to the National Television
Violence Study , when violence is portrayed as morally proper, it lowers children’s inhibitions against aggression. Because the perpetrator of on-screen violence is often the hero of the show, children can become easily convinced that violence is not only the correct way to react to a frightening situation, but in fact

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