Violence in the Media

Topics: Television, Violence, Reality television Pages: 7 (2547 words) Published: March 11, 2007
Everyday people sit down in front of their television for the classic American form of entertainment. As Americans sit down to watch their favorite television programs many people do not think about all the violence they are viewing. Violence is found in almost all television shows. Elements such as weapons, blood and attempted murder are not only found in your run of the mill horror and/or action film. Violence can even be found in some unlikely television programs. Researchers report that some of the most violent television shows are America's Funniest Home Videos, Tom and Jerry, Three Stooges, and Road Runner (Potter, 85). These types of violence are categorized as media violence. Media violence effects America's children to a large degree and is found in many forms. Yet, the American public is becoming more aware of this influence and is avidly working towards a solution. There is basic information that needs to be understood in explaining media violence. There is not just one type of media violence. Media violence can be broken up into four different categories. The first type of media violence is heroic violence. Forty percent of all violence on television is started by characters performing a heroic deed. This description of a character greatly encourages children to mock the characters violent behavior. It shows children that if you're doing something noble and good, it is okay to use acts of violence to achieve your goal. The second type of violence is "happy violence." Happy violence is thought to make children become very insensitive and lets children think that violence is funny. This is because in many cartoons, the characters are hurt repeatedly until the acts of violence becomes humorous. The third type of violence is "unpunished violence." Research shows that one-third of the villains who perform acts of violence on television programs are not punished until the end of the program. If the villain was punished soon after the act of violence was committed it would show young viewers that violence is wrong. The last category of violence is wrong. The last category of violence is "painless violence" almost one-half of all television shows do not show the victims in pain. This shows that violence is painless and cannot result in death (Carter, 3). Studies have shown that there are many reasons why children are highly attracted to these types of violence and there are many different explanations for this. One reason why children are attracted to violence on television is because it can increase a child's emotional arousal. Children who are bored or under stimulated are most affected by this form of stimulation. This makes these children "sensation-seekers." This means that people need different kinds of emotional stimulation. Children need a very high stimulation. Another reason why children are attracted to violence is to defy restrictions. Many parents do not allow their children to watch violent shows. This gives children a "forbidden fruit" complex. Children are not allowed to watch these shows and these shows are exactly what they want to watch. Studies have also shown that young males are more interested in aggressive television shows than girls. Studies show that three times as many boys as girls are prone to name a violent cartoon as their favorite. This is because boys are taught that violent actions are more appropriate for them than girls. Data also reveals that a child's age has a lot to do with the genre of television that they enjoy watching. An example of this is that reality shows popularity with children increases as children get older and action cartoons are predominantly more unpopular as a child increases in age. Yet another theory why children are attracted to violent shows on television is that children are attracted to violent behavior on television because they see their own aggressiveness in the television show. This shows that only...

Cited: AAP, Some Things You Should Know About Media Violence and Media Literacy. American Academy of Pediatrics. 28 March 2004

APA Online, Violence on Television - What do Children Learn? What Can Parents Do? American Psychological Associaton. 28 March 2004.

Carter, Cynthia and C.Kay Weaver, Violence and The Media. Philadelphia : Open University Press, 2003. 1-3
Goldstern, Jeffrey, Why We Watch: The Attractions of Violent Entertainment. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. 88-109
Potter, James W., The 11 Myths of Media Violence, California: Sage, 2003. 85-196
Potter, James W., On Media Violence, California: Sage, 1999. 83-85
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