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TV 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?

Aggressive films
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, 2004].
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 the film;
? 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 into account.

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.

TV immunity
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 and children.
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&section=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 Behaviour. http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Modules/TF33120/tv-violence_and_kids.html
W. Shramm, E. Parker. (1981). Stanford University Press. Television in the Lives of Our Children.


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