Critical Argument Analysis
Children’s programming has been a bone of contention for a very long time. As a parent and a grandparent, the article from this week that caught my attention was “Bang, You’re Dead” by Sara Rimensnyder. Since my daughter was young in the 1980’s, I have worried about the declining quality of children’s programming and the possible negative affects it would have on impressionable children. When I was a child, the worst violence on television was Elmer Fudd chasing Bugs Bunny with a shotgun, which Bugs always managed to turn on Elmer.
However, the realism of video games and the violence in movies and on television gives parents even more to worry about now. Many studies have been done to determine what fantasy violence is doing to young children. These studies have been presented in many different articles, each with a different approach. In “Cartoon Violence ‘Makes Children More Aggressive’” by Laura Clark and published in the British online newspaper Mail Online in 2009, the author explains the findings of a study performed at Iowa State University regarding children and cartoon programming.
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Explaining very little of the details of the study, Ms. Clark basically created a listing of the claims made by the researchers to catch the reader’s attention. These claims include that children’s cartoons contain more violence than programming aimed at older audiences, and can lead children to being more aggressive. In addition, by adding the researchers’ claim that “children copied and identified with fantasy characters just as much as they would with screen actors” (Clark, 2009), Clark has compared cartoon violence to that in regular feature films.
This makes the reader understand that even though the violence does not look like reality, it is just as bad. By using these claims, Ms. Clark is appealing to the emotions of the readers; she wants the readers to think about the children in their own lives and question if this could be happening to them. Ms. Clark’s style of writing indicates that she is a journalist reporting on a story. To obtain a different style of writing, there is the article, “Media and Children’s Aggression, Fear, and Altruism” by Barbara J. Wilson. Published in the online journal, Children and Electronic Media in 2008, this article clearly shows that Ms.
Wilson is not only a journalist, but a scientist. In the introduction, Ms. Wilson states her purpose: “In this article I review the research evidence regarding how electronic media influence children’s emotional and social well-being” (Wilson, 2008). With this statement, she tells the reader that she is reviewing evidence and developing her own conclusions. This article is well-formed with sections devoted to individual subjects, including Media and Emotional Development, Media and Moral Development, and Media Choices and Children’s Well-Being.
The listing of topics gives the reader the ability to go directly to the subject in which he or she is interested. Ms. Wilson also presents the findings from many studies with technical explanations. She demonstrates her authority over the subject, which will appeal to anyone looking for concrete, useful information. In the last article, “Violence and Aggression: Media Mayhem Affects Kids” from Great Schools, the anonymous author has presented information in a logical manner: asking why the reader should care about the subject and then offering facts that may be relatable to the children in his or her life.
This article also appeals to the reader’s emotions by giving an impression of troubled children that could possible endanger his or her own children. At the end of this article, the author has listed logical, common sense ways of dealing with children and fantasy violence. The advice is written to apply to children of all ages, based upon their appropriate level of understanding. Conclusion These three articles give readers three ways of obtaining information about the subject of children and violence in the media.
Each is written in a different style to appeal to different types of audiences depending on the degree of information being sought. The article by Laura Clark that appeared in a newspaper, would appeal to the average everyday newspaper reader as it gives the reader a basic overview of the highlights of the study. Ms. Wilson has written an article that would be beneficial to professionals that work with children and their parents, such as psychologists and therapists. Lastly, in the anonymous article from the Great Schools website, information is presented in a format that teachers and parents would find useful.
Clark, L. (2009, March 6). Cartoon violence ‘makes children more aggressive’. Mail Online. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1159766/Cartoon-violence-makes-children-aggressive.html This article, appearing in a British online newspaper in 2009, explains the conclusions of a study performed at Iowa State University regarding children’s behavior after watching cartoons on television. Many children were questioned about their television viewing habits and the shows were rated on their violence content. The study found children’s programming contains more acts of aggression than shows aimed at older audiences. Great Schools. (2011). Violence and aggression: Media mayhem affects kids. Retrieved from http://www.greatschools.org/students/media-kids/509-violence-and-aggression-media-mayhem-affects-kids.gs This article explains that children imitate what they see on television and video games.
As children see violent images over and over, it becomes more of an acceptable way of life. The article has important statistics and advice for parents to help avoid over-exposure of fantasy violence. Wilson, B. J. (2008, Spring). Media and children’s aggression, fear, and altruism. Children and Electronic Media, 18(1). Retrieved from http://www.princeton.edu/futureofchildren/publications/journals/article/index.xml?journalid=32&articleid=58§ionid=265&submit Written from a scientific approach, this article by Barbara J. Wilson takes a close look at how media violence affects children. She comes to the conclusion that it is the type of violence children see, rather than how much time they spend watching it. In the article, Ms. Wilson offers ways for parents to mold their children’s impressions of the violent acts seen on television, in movies, and in video games.