The Horrible Truth About Television: TV Violence Has Real-World Consequences

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Children witness 16,000 TV murders.

The most frequently reported number is that by 18, the average American will have seen 16,000 murders and 200,000 violent actions on television. However, with increased viewing time and a trend toward more violence on television, that statistic will need to be updated shortly.

Cartoon violence can lead to inappropriate behavior.

Contrary to popular belief, cartoons are among the most violent programs on television. Cartoon violence is particularly harmful because it trivializes violence, making it often amusing. Wile E. Coyote, for example, falls to the ground after one of his countless efforts to murder the Roadrunner. He stands up, and his body moves up and down like an accordion. It appears amusing, yet it teaches children that violence is not serious. It also teaches kids that violence has no severe, long-term consequences.

Your children are unlikely to grow up to be killers or criminals. Nonetheless, the American Psychological Association states that they may:

• Lose sensitivity to other people’s sorrow and suffering

• Be more scared of their surroundings

• Act aggressively or negatively toward others

• Have a lower propensity to notice anything wrong with violence

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University watched roughly 100 preschool children before and after watching television in one study. Some people watched violent cartoons, while others watched nonviolent shows.

According to Aletha Huston, Ph.D., children who watched violent cartoons were “more likely to hit out at their playmates, argue, disobey class rules, leave tasks unfinished, and were less willing to wait for things” than children who watched peaceful shows.

Children who watch violent television become bullies.

Another study discovered that four-year-olds watching too much television were likelier to become bullies. Each hour of television observed every day raises the chance of bullying behavior in children. These findings remained even after the authors statistically adjusted for previous bullying conduct.

Television violence alters brain function.

Another recent study discovered an additional impact of watching violent media. The effects of watching media violence on a vital brain function known as “executive functioning” were studied. The research looked at violence in both television and video games. It discovered that violence deleteriously impacted what scientists call “executive functioning.” Executive functioning includes the ability to focus on a concept or task, plan, avoid distractions, and use past experiences to govern behavior. Dr. William G. Kronenberger claims that “the adolescents in the study with the most media violence exposure had the weakest executive functioning.”

Long-term aggressiveness is caused by television violence.

Watching violence on television may also have long-term implications. According to Dr. Leonard D. Eron’s long-term study, watching violent tv at age 8 was the most significant predictor of aggression 22 years later–more potent even than demonstrating violent conduct as a youngster. The breakthrough study considered early aggressiveness, IQ, and socioeconomic class.

A following study of students in grades one through four revealed similar scary outcomes. Men who were heavy viewers of violent TV shows as youngsters were twice as likely as men who were light viewers to push, grab, or shove their spouses and three times more likely to be convicted of criminal activity by their early twenties. Women who watched violent television as youngsters were more than twice as likely as other women to have thrown something at their spouse and more than four times as likely to have hit, battered, or choked another adult.

The researchers statistically adjusted for childhood aggression, social class, intellect, and various other aspects. Dr. Huesmann, the social psychologist in charge of the University of Michigan study, stated, “We also found that greater identification with aggressive same-sex characters and a stronger belief that violent shows ‘tell it like it is’ predicted violent adult behavior.”

Even if you are an otherwise perfect parent, allowing your children to watch violent television may unintentionally prepare them for a violent future.

The Series ‘The Awful Truth About Television:

What happens when the average American watches television for 4 hours and 32 minutes daily? In eleven hard-hitting essays, Trash, Your TV’s ‘The Awful Truth About Television’ Series, investigates the many problems with television. If you finish the series, you will never look at your television the same way again.

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