Violence on Television
In my experiment I will study the behavior of children before, during and after viewing a violent television program, specifically “The Power Rangers.” I will use the theories of Charles Horton Cooley, George Herbert Mead and Harold Wilensky to analyze the results according to their theories.
Cooley’s theory is that people shape the aspects of their identity so that it would fit what others would want. Therefore we would become the kind of person we believe others think we should be. Harold Wilensky said that the media produces a mass culture, in which people have similar culture, that people have similar cultural tastes and political values shaped by the media.
This produces a mass of people with similar thoughts and feelings, which can be manipulated by the media.
Mead believed that the self is a social product, acquired by observing and assimilating the identities of others. He believed that for identification and assimilation there is a need for communication. The communication is the interaction of language, culture, family, peers and with a new form of communication, media. For Mead, childhood play and games were important activities. These activities used the idea of role taking, the way we try to look at social situations from the standpoint of another person, and significant others, influential people in our lives.
The theorist that I think is the best for my experiment is Mead. For my experiment my hypothesis will be that after viewing a violent television program children will act more aggressive than before. That the children’s play will change so that it would become more violent, so that it would be similar to the show that they had seen.
In my experiment I observed two children 30 minutes before watching the “Power Rangers” 30 minutes during the show and 30 minutes after the show. The observation was done on the friends of my brother and the friends of my cousins.
My first observation was on my brother and his friend on November 1, 1999.
My brother’s name is Sina, he was born here and is 7 years old, but his parents were born in Iran. He is half Muslim and half Jewish; neither of his parents are strictly religious. He has an older brother and sister. His friend’s name is Alex and he is also 7 years old, and born in Russia. His father lives in Russia and he lives with his mother, grandmother and aunt. Both his parents are Jewish and he has a twin brother, but no sisters.
I started to observe Sina and Alex at 3:00 PM at my house, since I knew that they would watch “Power Rangers” at 3:30. At 3:00 they played with each other, first playing in the living room using their trucks and making roads for their cars to travel on. They would make bridges and they directed traffic as though one of them was a traffic officer. He would tell them when to go and when to stop and they would make the cars crash into each other so that the fire truck and the ambulance could come and rescue them.
Then about 10 minutes later they went into my Sina’s room, where he brought out his action figures. There were 2 Spiderman toys, 3 Power Ranger toys, 3 Batman toys, 2 Buzz Light-year toys (from the movie “Toy Story”) and 1 Ninja Turtle toy.
They divided the toys up, taking turns in choosing the toys. First my brother, Sina, picked a Power Ranger toy, then another one, a Spiderman toy, a Batman toy and a Buzz Light-year toy. Alex got the other toys picked the toys that I did not mention. They lined up their toys so that they were facing their opponent and each of them grabbed two of their toys. They started to battle against each other and pretended that the toys were real and that they were either jumping really high or flying. Then they put one of their toys down and started to fight with only one toy each.
They moved the arms and legs of their toys and each one would say that he had defeated the other ones toy. The other would complain and they .