The pro's and con's of violence on television and its effects on children


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Purpose: The purpose of this thesis was to determine whether or not the portrayal or depiction of violence on television acts as a go-ahead signal in stimulating aggressive impulses and criminal behavior upon preadolescent and adolescent children, who are often the principal viewers of such programs. Methods: The methods used in this study were: (1) the collection of available research evidence from the psychological sociological, and criminological fields of reference; (2) the division of this information into two specific areas of argument; and (3) the assimilation of the major arguments from these specific areas of arguments toward a conclusion as to whether violence on television influences the behavior of children. Findings: The experimental studies bearing on the effects of aggressive television entertainment content on children support certain conclusions: 1. Violence depicted on television can immediately or shortly thereafter induce mimicking or copying by children. 2. Under certain circumstances, television violence can instigate or incite an increase in aggressive acts. 3. There is evidence that among young children (ages four to six), those most responsive to television violence are those who are highly aggressive to start with—who are prone to engage in spontaneous aggressive actions against their playmates; and, in the case of boys who display pleasure in viewing violence being inflicted upon others. The very young have difficulty comprehending the contextual setting in which violent acts are depicted and do not grasp the meaning of cues or labels concerning the make-believe character of violence episodes in fictional programs. 4. There is evidence that any sequence by which viewing television violence causes aggressive behavior is most likely applicable only to some children who are predisposed in that direction. In other words, only those children who are already preconditioned to aggressive tendencies or have developed a highly aggressive behavior because of certain socio-oriented and culture-oriented factors, are more predisposed toward aggressive behavior. 5. There are suggestions from the literature that the way children respond to violent film material is affected by the context in which it is presented. Such elements as parental explanations, the favorable or unfavorable outcome of the violence, and whether it is seen as fantasy or reality may make a difference. Generalizations about all violent content are likely to be misleading. Although this study indicates various significant arguments from both fields of reference concerning the effects of violence on television on children's behavior, a specific, direct conclusion is impossible due to the lack of evidence predisposed in one specific argument. More research and evidence is needed to find out if children are predisposed in the direction of violent behavior due to the viewing of violence on television.



Television and children., Violence on television., Television--Psychological aspects.