Violence on TV; Does It Really Matter?

These days, when television is such a major part of many people’s lives; it is only natural that there are different genres, and inevitable that one of these is violence, or ‘action.' Because of this, many people raise the question, “Does what young children watch on TV affect the way they act?”

Personally, I believe the answer is no. If a child has been brought up to know the difference between right and wrong, then they should, theoretically, know the difference between a game and real life.

Yet there are theories, and certain statistics and findings which suggest that what children view on TV directly affects their behavior; and calls for violent games to be stopped because they set a bad example. For example; findings show that the average child watches 7-10 years of television in their lifetime; and during this time, violent acts occur on screen4 or 5 times every hour. A scientific study by Columbia University shows that there is a direct link between watching violence on TV; and acting violently, and that teenagers are the worst affected; followed by slightly younger children. A study conducted by Iowa State University concludes that violent video games have the same affect on children; causing them to grow used to violence from a young age, and thus being more comfortable around it.

So, if this is the case, and all violent games are ‘bad’ for children,then why bother putting age restrictions on them? If these are just going to be ignored; but parents are going to complain when their child acts ‘violently’ after playing a game that is not suited for their age range, then what point is there?

The same applies to TV programmes; where reports are made about violence being shown on children’s channels. If you are concerned about this, in my view, then simply do not let your child watch the show. If they are upset by what is being shown, explain that it is simply a programme.

People may argue that if children are shown violence on television from an early age, they begin to think that it is normal; and is ‘the way’ to act. I do not think this is true; or fair, and children should be credited with more intelligence than this. There have been arguments that violent games and television programmes have led to an increase in crime; as crime is portrayed as something positive in some games.

However, I do not think this is true. Some children may be slightly influenced by games or television, but I don’t think that the influence is that great, and that a bigger issue is made of it than needs to be.

For example; if a teenager or slightly younger child is given a violent game, they might enjoy playing it. They might even wish, at times, that they were in the game. But I highly doubt that they would believe how they act whilst playing is an example of how to act in social situations; in ‘real life.’ For this reason, I do not believe that violence shown in games or on TV matters that much; what matters more is how the knowledge of that violence is dealt with and controlled, and how violence in real life, where it really matters, is handled.