Does Television Violence Affect Children?

Hollywood doesn’t want to admit it, but numerous studies have shown that children become more aggressive, angry and even sometimes violent when they are exposed to television violence and the results are seen almost immediately. Children’s minds are very impressionable and they learn by modeling the behaviors of those around them. Think of a baby learning to talk. The baby learns to talk by copying first sounds, then words and phrases and finally sentences. Children learn just about everything from watching the world around them and that includes what they watch on TV.

If they are watching television programs where violence is shown as the answer to every problem, they are more likely to react with anger, aggression and violence to the circumstances in real life. This is a very unhealthy pattern to begin as a child. Children need to be shown the proper way to deal with anger both in real life and on television. Many of the old-fashioned television programs did an excellent job of this. The main character almost always faces some sort of crises, makes the wrong choice and has to learn a lesson from it. Often the end of each program showed the parents talking to the child about how they could’ve handled the problem differently.

Does this mean that we should never let our children watch any programs with violence? It is something to consider, to be sure, but depending on their content and message, watching some of these programs together may provide the opportunity to talk about dealing with anger in more constructive ways. Having the opportunity to evaluate why the characters behaved the way they did and what the outcome could’ve been if they had made better choices may help your child to deal with angry feelings more effectively.

Television violence certainly affects children, but maybe not as much as our own behavior. Even more important than what our children are watching on TV is what they are watching in our own homes. It is important to model good behavior, including being able to admit when you are wrong and apologizing. Never expect a child to do something you don’t teach them to do through your actions. Actions not only speak louder than words, they teach far more effectively as well. Letting good behavior rule both in real life and on the television set will greatly increase your child’s ability to handle themselves appropriately.

Studies have definitely taught us that television violence affects our children. How much is too much? Certainly children should never watch violent programs that are intended for adults. Most of the time adults would be better off not watching them either, but the violence is too real and can cause not only aggressive and violent behavior, but depression and anxiety as well. Even children’s programs that focus on violence, such as Power Rangers, should be monitored and viewed with caution. If your child acts out after watching these programs, that is a good sign that they shouldn’t be watching them. Common sense needs to be the guide, but take the time to be aware of the connection between television violence and anger problems and using opportunities to communicate with your child can make all the difference.

Source: Ray Subs
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