The Effects of Television Violence on Children

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Shortly after a Boston television station showed a movie depicting teenagers dousing a derelict with gasoline and setting him afire, six youths attacked a woman and set her on fire in an identical manner. Several months later, NBC televised Born Innocent, a made-for-television- movie, which showed the sexual violation of a young girl with a broom handle. Three days after this program aired, a group of girls committed a similar attack on another 9-year-old girl (“Wild” A20). These are just a couple of shocking examples out of many illustrating how televised violence can spark violent behavior. Violence in society is a complex problem, and numerous sources can be cited for blame. If control is to be gained, one obvious place…show more content…
These influential public health organizations signed a joint statement attesting to the dangers of media violence: “At this time, well over 1,000 studies . . . point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children.” (Levesque 22-23) Both the Penn State and the UNC studies (as well as others) have been criticized for not taking the children’s home life into account, doing little, if anything, to factor out or neutralize any effects of home life on the children’s tendencies towards or away from violence. However, the researchers defend the studies, insisting that they were not intended to be investigations of the children’s entire social milieu. They claim the most important concept drawn from these studies is that all the groups studied realized increased violence in behavior as immediate effects of viewing violence (Nathanson 138). The next study seems to establish that long-term effects also are realized. Not only does an individual’s aggression increase shortly after viewing violence on television, but the effect seems to have an astonishingly long life as well. The University of Michigan Research Center for Group Dynamics evaluated television viewing habits and behavior of 557
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