watching - does it influence violence in kids?
Nowadays more and more adults are alarmed with the affect
of TV on their children. One may come across different mass
media publications on this topic. These are mainly the results
of Gallup poll, personal observations and numerous experiments.
It became a serious matter for discussion. Children up-bringing
is a long and complex process. Atmosphere in family and at
school influences character and behavior of a child. In the
last few decades TV impact also became an important factor.
In many cases it became the main leisure activity: children
devote more time to TV watching than reading books, talking
with parents or friends, school studies, etc. Television wins
indisputable authority among new generation. Children often
follow the model of behavior of their favorite TV characters.
But what problems it may cause?
American psychologists reckon that average teenagers manage
to watch at least 100 thousands violent scenes on TV till
the age of 12. Frequent watching of violence on TV may rouse
the tendency to aggressive behavior. It is justified by numerous
experiments of American psychologists and sociologists. Usual
preschool aged child shows high level of aggression after
watching aggressive cartoons. It is obvious that the more
children watch aggressive cartoons or films, the more aggressive
they become. What it more, it doesn’t actually depend
either on IQ or socio-economical state in family [Kaufman,
An over-indulgent child begins to identify himself with the
favorite character and imitate his behavior. A child may start
thinking that aggression is the way to solve life problems.
It may cause irreparable harm to child’s psyche. There
are four major factors which influence child’s aggression:
? degree of aggression and duration of watching;
? personal peculiarities of children, the way they interpret
? family style of up-bringing;
? influence of friends.
There is an opinion that aggressive films may be useful as
they help to get rid of negative emotions. Investigations
however show that it’s absolute nonsense. People get
hold of even more negative emotions after watching such films.
Television and children’s fears
Adults and children watch films with aggressive plot, action
movies and horror films. Dynamic plots, active physical interaction,
emotional tense, skillful trick effects make people watch
such films again and again. But unlike children adult people
have critical attitude to what’s happening on the screen.
Adults are able to distinguish made-up plot from reality.
Children however are more sensitive to what they see. They
explore world around through TV and as a result many of them
tend to mix up real and virtual life [Murray, 2001].
Six year old children may watch monsters or criminals rather
calmly. But a traumatic factor is how those monsters and criminals
treat children. Nowadays many films show extreme violence.
Film producers work for the audience. If people like watching
such films, there would appear more and more of them. Nobody
cares of how harmful and traumatic it would be for children.
Nobody can entirely protect children from watching violent
scenes. At the age of 8 children begin to understand that
films are mainly fantastic and have little relation to reality.
But then they begin to watch news programs about terrorism
and understand that real world is full of violence too. We
should take into account that negative emotions are especially
strong and may be harmful to sensitive and naive children.
They may picture themselves in the role of victims. Sensitive
children often suffer from nightmares, compulsive thoughts
and constant anxiety [Chandler, 1992].
It’s of no doubt, that children should be warned of
different life dangers. But it doesn’t mean that watching
criminal news would make children self-confident and ready
to meet real dangers. Children’s psychological readiness,
individual vulnerability and susceptibility have to be taken
Welcome to the world of horror and aggression!
Little children try to explore and understand world around,
its values and models of behavior. TV screen creates certain
model of reality which influences children’s views on
adult life. In this way television obviously has negative
aspects. Violence on TV is likely to cause violence in reality.
According to the statistics level of juvenile delinquency
gradually rises. A lot of children commit crimes for different
reasons. Many children are likely to imitate the behavior
of film and cartoon characters. In this way TV is capable
to teach children what is good and what is bad. But instead
of this we see more and more violence and aggression on TV,
which causes children’s abnormal behavior.
Attentive parents are deeply concerned with the impact of
violent programs, films and cartoons on their children. What
is to be done in this situation?
Psychologists presume that parent should be more attentive
to what their children watch on TV and control them as much
as possible. Parents should help their children to choose
noteworthy films, which would develop children’s mind
and intellect, and help to understand world around better.
Emotional experience in front of TV-sets are so intensive
and sharp, that children may become either indifferent and
aloof to real world, or aggressive and violent [Murray, 2001].
There is no pleasure in watching death or physical torments.
The most effective way to change the situation is to form
proper public opinion and protect pure children’s psyche
from all that violence.
Ron Kaufman. (2004). Filling their minds with death: TV violence
American Academy of Children Adolescent Psychiatry. (2007
November). Facts for Families: Children And TV Violence. http://aacap.org/page.ww?name=Children+and+TV+Violence§ion=Facts+for+Families
John P. Murray. (2001 October). TV Violence and Brainmapping
in Children. Psychiatric Times, Vol.XVIII, Issue 10.
Daniel Chandler. (1992). Television Violence and Children’s
W. Shramm, E. Parker. (1981). Stanford University Press. Television
in the Lives of Our Children.