February 11, 2004
Today it seems that the connection between youth violence and
entertainment is getting closer and closer. Analysts, doctors,
psychologists and everyone else who studies the minds of children are
always stating that children being driven over the edge because of violent
entertainment they associate themselves with. Children and teenagers seem
to acquire nothing but negative influences from violent entertainment and
that will only corrupt a youth’s mind. Influencing them to create horrible
and shocking crimes.
But this is just a lie from desperate mouths searching
for some type of scapegoat. It’s not only the media that influences
children to corruption, but the environment around them. Maybe for once
someone should look in the direction of the mental health of children and
their surrounding environment, instead of placing all the blame on the
In 1950, only 10% of American homes had a television and by 1960 the
percentage had grown to 90%. Today 99% of homes have a television. In fact,
more families own a television than a phone.
Now, 54% of U.S. children have
a television set in their bedrooms. Children spend more time learning about
life through media than in any other manner. The average child spends
approximately 28 hours a week watching television, which is twice as much
time as they spend in school.
During the past decade, America has witnessed an alarming increase in
the incidence of violence in the lives of children.
On a daily basis,
children in America are victims of violence, as witnesses to violent acts
in their homes or communities, or as victims of abuse, neglect, or personal
assault. The causes of violent behavior in society are complex and
interrelated. Among the significant contributors are poverty, racism,
unemployment, illegal drugs, inadequate or abusive parenting practices, and
real-life adult models of violent problem-solving behavior. It is not the
children’s fault that they posses a violent nature. This is what the nature
they have been brought up around. It has been the only world they have ever
At the same time that there has been an increase in the number of
reported violent acts directed at children, there has been an increase in
the amount and severity of violent acts observed by children through the
media, including television, movies, computer games, and videotapes, and an
increase in the manufacture and distribution of weapon-like toys and other
products directly linked to violent programming. Although, the media does
reflect the violence across the world it also gives children a different
perspective on crimes acuring frequently. But, if you limit your children
to what they watch on T.V., you might limit the violent nature they might
attain over the years.
For most kids, the effect of media violence is fairly small, so long
as the examples they see on TV and in movies are balanced with good
examples, values and morals, set and followed through by parents and peers.
But for children who grow up with poor adult examples or an unclear idea of
what’s right and wrong, media violence can have a greater effect. When
children grow up with few examples and morals set by others around them,
they sometimes adopt a celebrity as a role model. If they see someone they
look up to promoting violence either on TV or in movies, they may think
that violence is the right or “cool” thing to do. This mindset is very
often the cause of violent acts by children and teens.
The prevalence of violence in American society is a complex social
problem that will not be easily solved. Violence in the media is only one
manifestation of the larger society’s fascination with violence.
media violence is not just a reflection of violent society, it can also a
contributor sometimes. If our nation wishes to produce future generations
of productive adults who reject violence as a means of problem solving, we
must reassert the vital role of government in protecting its most
vulnerable citizens. This starts with creating more programs across the
nation keeping kids out of hostile environments. No matter where you go,
there will always be violence. It is just human nature to commit crimes on
one another. So instead of blaming the media, why don’t people start
Johnson, J., Christie, J., & Yawkey, T. (1987). Play and early childhood
development. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman.
National Institute of Mental Health. (1982). Television and behavior: Ten
years of scientific progress for the eighties. Vol 1: Summary report.
Washington, DC: U.S.
Government Printing Office.