4/16/2012

Negative Effects of the Media

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It is everywhere you look. Turn on the television, it’s there. Go to a movie, it’s there. Even a cartoon that a five year old watches is filled with it. Media violence. Movie plots often revolve around violence and television programs are making violence increasingly more popular. The witnessing of daily acts of violence is now taking a toll on the youth of today.


By the time a child turns 18, they will have witnessed 16,000 murders and 00,000 acts of violence on television alone. Often times, these programs do not show the consequences of these acts of violence, either. Only five percent of children’s programs depict the long-term consequences of aggressive behavior. In addition, 58 percent of the time the victims were not shown suffering from pain. Therefore, the children who watch these programs will think that there is no consequences for resorting to violence when trying to settle a conflict, as many of there movie and television heroes do. Moreover, they will think that by lashing out on someone, it will do the victim of their violence no harm. Children who are exposed to violence are more likely to assume that violent behavior is acceptable, has no consequences and will cause no suffering.


In today’s society children spend approximately 8 to hours a week watching television or going to the movies. This is the same amount of time they spend on an average week in school. Undoubtedly, this makes the media one of the most influential forces in a children’s life because of the time spent in front of the screen. What children see and hear in a movie or television show, they are more than likely to imitate. In a study by epidemiologist Brandon Centerwall, who surveyed a group of men imprisoned for violent crime, he found nearly one-third of the felons had consciously imitated a crime technique that they saw in the media. The fact is children learn more about life through television than any other source.


An additional negative effect of media violence is the probability of the children becoming more aggressive later in life. In a study by The American Psychological Association, homicide rates more than doubled in 10 to 15 years after the introduction of the television, even though it was introduced at different times in different sites of examination. In the same analysis, researchers found that 8 year-old boys who were exposed to the most violence on television while growing up, were also the most likely to engage in aggressive and delinquent behavior by the age of 18 and serious criminal behavior by age 0. Furthermore, excessive exposure to the media can result in aggressive drinking, punishing others more harshly, decreased physical activity, obesity and insomnia. With all the negative effects of the media, you would think that parents would not allow their children to spend as much time in front of the screen.


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Perhaps that is the problem. Parents just do not care as much as they should, or maybe they are just uneducated about the effects of overexposure to the media. Maybe they think there is nothing they can do about the programming of television and the movies released. They are wrong. New technologies today make it possible for parents to control the programs their children watch, to limit the amount of time the television can be turned on and let parents know exactly what their children are watching. It is called the V-chip and at an approximate price of five dollars, I think you cannot afford to be without it. Media violence does have negative effects such as desensitization to violence, imitation probabilities and the long-term effects. Television and movies can be wonderful sources of entertainment, but when the entertainment turns to violence, it is no laughing matter.





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