How Does Television Violence Affect Childrens Behavior

Table of Content

The behavior of children is influenced by the presence of violence on television.

Is television responsible for promoting violence and crime among children? Some argue that there is an excessive amount of violence in TV programming, which can influence young people to become aggressive and accepting of it. Recent scientific findings suggest that constant exposure to violent television can shape innocent individuals into becoming monsters just by watching. Despite its absurdity, imagine the scenario: it’s 5:00 p.m., you want to relax by watching a talk show after a stressful day at work, only to find out the topic is “He killed my sister and I want REVENGE!!” Many are drawn to the excitement of violence. This raises the question: why were movies like “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th part VIII” so popular? When the hero shoots the villain and receives applause from the audience, what goes through a child’s mind? They learn that harming someone is acceptable if they are considered bad. So if cousin Joey takes my toy, hitting him is okay because he’s a bad person. Such behavior distorts children’s perception of how society deals with criminals. It is unfortunate but true that all major networks – ABC, NBC, CBS, etc.- contribute to this problem.

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

Regrettably, incidents of individuals being targeted due to their appearance or race are frequently reported in news articles. These acts of violence occur regularly across the country and involve not only adults but also students from high schools and elementary schools.

For years, psychologists and scientists have examined the effects of television violence on children’s behavior. Their goal is to understand the causes of youth violence and develop preventive measures. As crimes committed by younger children are increasing, there is mounting pressure on these researchers to provide answers for our nation’s future. Consequently, the government is considering implementing new laws to protect children from violence.

Multiple studies have identified television violence as a major factor that influences children’s aggressive behavior. Despite this, television networks deny any responsibility for these claims. Although other factors like a child’s environment should be considered, it is crucial not to dismiss the findings of these researchers. Thorough examination and analysis of their findings are necessary in determining validity.

This paper aims to explain the connection between television violence and the increase in aggressive behavior among children by reviewing past research and analyzing its findings.

Society is in an uproar due to these events and the government is fearlessly searching for answers. One of the most publicized events in the country was the killing of a New York principal who was searching for a missing student. “The killing occurred around 9:40 a.m. when Mr. Patrick Daly, Principal of Public School PS51, was walking through the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, which is known for its high crime rates. Mr. Daly was searching for one of his students who had left the school upset after a fight with a classmate.” Mr. Daily was walking on a rain-slickened concrete mall when he was shot once in the chest by a 9-millimeter slug and fell to the ground.

This marked the end of the life of one of the city’s most dedicated Principals, whose 26-year struggle on behalf of his students had gained significant media and national attention.

On July 6, 1993, two out of three individuals involved in Mr. Daly’s death were sentenced to 25 years to life after being convicted of second-degree murder: Mr. Kahry Bekka and Mr. Shamel Burrough both aged 18 at that time Their attorneys pleaded for leniency but their pleas were disregarded.. The third individual, Jermaine Russell aged 19 without any previous criminal record received a sentence of 20 years to life as well . This unfortunate tragedy affected all parties involved.

Scientists are currently investigating the cause of aggression in today’s youth and its connection to non-aggressive individuals. Although they may not find all the answers, they are specifically studying how television violence impacts children’s temperaments, which can continue into adulthood.

The Institute for Social Research asserts that the media violence our children encounter every day imparts aggressive behavior to them. This is demonstrated in the crimes recorded by our local news stations’ cameras. In reality, children in the United States view an average of 7¼ hours of television daily, totaling 5,000 hours by first grade and 19,000 hours by high school graduation. These figures raise concerns as they exceed the time spent in school and indicate that the United States possesses more violent television programming in comparison to other industrialized nations.

Younger children are more affected by these facts because they have a less developed understanding of reality compared to adults. This suggests that aggressive behavior in adults often originates from learned behavior during childhood. Additionally, the more violence children witness, the greater the likelihood of them becoming violent adults.

Researchers have conducted a study to investigate the impact of television shows on children, finding that regular exposure to violent programs can lead to increased aggression in school. Moreover, these kids tend to identify with aggressive characters in these shows, develop violent fantasies, and adopt the attitudes depicted in such aggressive programming.

TV shows such as “Power Rangers” and “Beavis and Butthead” rely on fighting as the only resolution when dealing with apparent villains, which could possibly encourage aggression in children.

Psychologists used to believe that watching violent content on TV could have a cathartic effect and decrease real-world violence. However, doubts arose when research with children showed that they perceived TV action as reality. In 1986, L. Rowell Huesmann and Leonard Eron conducted a study involving 875 children in grades 1 to 3 which found that television had an impact on children’s behavior, particularly if they frequently watched violent content. The researchers concluded that TV violence served as a model for aggressive behavior during their interactions with others. Moreover, these children displayed poor academic performance and were generally unpopular among their peers.

Although television exposure has been linked to aggressive behavior in children, it is not the only factor that determines violent actions. Nevertheless, research suggests that television does have a considerable influence on people from a young age.

Huesmann and Eron conducted extensive research over several years and found that excessive exposure to media violence has a significant impact on children’s adulthood. In 1971, they surveyed 875 children and located 500 of them at age 19. The results revealed a strong correlation between watching violent content at age 8 and increased aggression at age 19, as well as a notable association with destructive behavior.

In 1981, Huesmann examined the same individuals when they reached the age of 30, many of whom had become parents themselves. The study indicated that those who displayed higher levels of violence at age 8 had higher rates of drunk driving arrests, committed more violent crimes, and showed more abusive conduct towards their spouses.

Furthermore, the research discovered that the 8-year-olds who watched more violent television had higher arrest rates and admitted to engaging in more fights while under the influence of alcohol. Of particular concern was that these individuals’ children exhibited similar or even greater signs of aggression compared to their parents.

After these findings, certain television networks may have felt the need to perform their own investigations. The purpose of these studies is still unclear – whether it was to question the previous research or assess the direct effects of violence. However, what is clear is that they uncovered further evidence supporting the idea that television does indeed influence our children.

A study conducted by Temple University for the ABC network revealed that a significant percentage of young males who had been imprisoned for violent crimes admitted to imitating criminal techniques they had learned from television programs. The findings indicated that this was particularly true for those individuals who were most violent. Moreover, it was found that these males watched an average of six hours of TV per day, which was twice as much as children in the general population at that time.

In London, the CBS conducted its own study on 1,565 teenage boys with the aim of examining the behavioral effects of watching violent television programs, many of which were imported from the United States. The study uncovered that those who watched more than the average amount of TV violence before reaching adolescence had a 49 percent higher likelihood of committing serious acts of violence compared to those with below average levels of violence exposure.

Ultimately, the final report strongly supported the hypothesis stating that high exposure to television increases the likelihood of boys engaging in serious violence.

Boys’ violent behavior was influenced by five categories of TV programming, as identified in a study conducted in London.

1) Television shows or movies that depict violence within intimate relationships.

2) The text illustrates the incorporation of violence in television programs with the sole intention of integrating it into the storyline, even when it is not essential.

3) Realistic fictional violence

Programs that depict violence as being justified for a noble purpose.

While TV networks have made strides in reducing violence in prime time series and made-for-television movies, the issue of violence persists in theatrical movies, children’s shows, and promotional spots. Most violent content on TV last year originated from previously screened films. Disturbingly, approximately 42 percent of these films portrayed explicit bloody killings and shootings perpetrated by the supposed “heroes.” Although networks can eliminate the most extreme scenes, doing so for movies such as “Terminator 2” or “Under Siege” would significantly shorten them. Moreover, there are concerns regarding the growing prevalence of “combat violence” in children’s programming, where characters engage in fights over even minor provocations.

Numerous studies have produced similar findings to Huesmann and Eron’s research, showing that exposure to violent television leads to persistent aggressive behavior in children into adulthood. Despite this, the media and others still question the extent of violence on TV and its impact compared to non-violent programming. Given today’s society where parents often work or there is a single parent, it becomes challenging to prevent continuous exposure of children to violence. Additionally, how can we eliminate children’s TV watching entirely and what consequences might it entail? Nevertheless, there may be existing research available on this matter.

Research in public communications suggests that exposure to television violence is connected to higher levels of aggression and violent behavior. According to Centerwall (1989, 1993), studies comparing crime data in areas with and without television before and after its introduction demonstrate a doubling of homicide rates within ten to fifteen years following the introduction of TV in specific regions of the United States and Canada. Centerwall emphasizes that children are primarily affected by violent programming on TV, and there is a delay of ten to fifteen years before homicide rates begin to rise. Although other factors also contribute to violent crimes, Centerwall’s statistical analysis indicates that eliminating the negative impact of TV would result in 10,000 fewer homicides, 70,000 fewer rapes, and 700,000 fewer injurious assaults.

All of these statistics contribute to concerning outcomes, but how can we determine the exact impact on our children and comprehend the factors that contribute to an individual’s persistent violence despite their grasp on reality? Are children inherently predisposed to being immoral? Are they akin to a dormant weapon, with television serving as the catalyst for their explosive behaviors? How does violence persist in their lives even as they mature? Some insight may be gleaned from a 1982 study, which claims to offer explanations.

Since the mid-1970s, researchers have broadened their investigation from the behavioral consequences of watching violence to the cognitive repercussions. There is considerable proof indicating that exposure to violent programs can impact children’s emotions and thinking. These emotional and cognitive impacts may not only result in heightened aggressive behavior over time but could also manifest in more subtle forms of conduct.

According to researchers, being exposed to violence can diminish an individual’s sensitivity towards aggression. Those who frequently watch violent content on television showed decreased responsiveness when confronted with violence once more. This phenomenon is called Habituation, in which strong reactions lessen after repeated exposure to stimuli. If people become familiar with violence through TV watching, they might demonstrate lower sensitivity towards acts of aggression in reality.

This research represents a significant breakthrough in comprehending human responses to various real-life scenarios. Furthermore, it highlights the fact that certain circumstances perceived as hazardous or unusual might not have an impact on us. Nevertheless, our current apprehension lies in the critical issue of children being influenced by television and the need to enhance their capacity to discern between reality and fiction. It is imperative for us to safeguard the future of our nation and the world; hence, discovering a resolution is paramount. The introduction of a novel curriculum centered on altering children’s viewpoints seems to be the most encouraging solution thus far.

A curriculum was developed to modify children’s attitudes towards TV violence, with three specific objectives. The first goal of the curriculum was to address the habituation effect of violence by encouraging children to take violent actions in television more seriously. The curriculum specifically focused on the idea that children should view the violent actions of the good guys as less significant, as they already took the violent actions of the bad guys seriously on their own.

The second goal of the curriculum aimed to combat aggressive attitudes that children might acquire from television. It was important for children to be less blindly accepting of the violent behaviors they witness on television. This objective specifically focused on the violence perpetrated by the “hero,” as determined by a preliminary study.

The government is making efforts to prevent TV violence by introducing the V-Chip, which enables parents to block undesirable shows on their TV. Additionally, they aim to establish a rating system for TV shows based on their level of violence. However, these measures have faced opposition from the TV media and Hollywood, who argue that they are unconstitutional.

Throughout the decades, families have gathered around the TV set to watch their favorite programs, ever since the invention of television. However, what was once a source of great movies and shows has now become a cause for controversy. As a child, I was captivated by the classic westerns where the good guys always triumphed over the bad guys. Like many boys, I aspired to be a cowboy and defeat evildoers. The impact of these movies on me and society at large remains uncertain, but studies have confirmed that television violence has a significant influence on the behavior and upbringing of our children. The rise in acts of violence and the number of aggressive young individuals is not limited to urban areas but also extends to the suburbs. This leads me to believe that despite a child’s immediate environment being a major factor in their development, TV violence has created an additional issue for today’s youth.

In summary, various studies have confirmed that television violence has a significant impact on children’s behavior and can lead to long-lasting effects in adulthood. These findings are supported by additional research, leaving no room for doubt. I believe that television violence not only influences children’s behavior but also has broader societal implications as these children grow up to become today’s adults.

The New York Times reported on June 6, 1993 that Joseph Fried stated that the principal slaying was committed by youths who were found guilty.

Duricka, John. Gene. “Beavis, Butthead and Thomas Jefferson” U.S. News & World Report: Volume 115. November 1, 1993.

The Education Digest published an article in October 1994 called “How TV Violence Hits Kids” by Jeffrey Mortimer.

Hepburn, Mary A. “TV Violence: Myth And Reality” Social Education: Volume 59. September, 1995.

Mifflin, Lawrie. “Study Of TV’s Violence points To Films” The New York Times: September 20, 1995.

Zuckerman, Mortimer B. “The Victims Of TV Violence” U.S New & World Report: Volume 115.August 2, 1993.

The text is a citation from an article titled “Learning About Television Violence: The Impact Of A Critical Viewing Curriculum On Children’s Attitudinal Judgments Of Crime series” by Vodus, Marcel W. and Van Der Voort, Tom H.A. in the Journal of Research and Development in Education, Volume 26, Spring 1993.


Cite this page

How Does Television Violence Affect Childrens Behavior. (2018, Jul 02). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront