Violence among youth is a growing concern in modern society. While there are many causes for violent behavior, research has shown that television plays a role in promoting violent behavior, particularly for younger children. The entertainment industry implicitly recognizes this through its rating system that recommends certain programs not be watched by children of a certain age. Yet, the number of violent acts on televison has not abated while children watch an average of 28 hours per week.
Children's brains are in a state of rapid growth and very impressionable. Violence on television can affect children in various ways. Research from decades ago showed that children imitate the violence they observe on television. They can come to view violence as an acceptable way of solving problems since this is often modeled in shows and cartoons. Additionally, children can become immune to violence and lack empathy for others by the repeated exposure to violent behavior.
Regarding video games and violence , the fact that a child is able to act out violent behavior through the game is an additional reason for concern.
The following recommendations apply to television, compiuters and video games:
- Limit television watching to 1-2 hours a day.
- Be aware of what your children watch.
- Watch television with your children.
- Refuse to let your children watch violent or derogatory programs and explain why the behavior is wrong.
- Explain to children that violence on television is acting and that no one is hurt, while in real life it causes pain and suffering.
- Finally, set a good example as a parent by what you watch and how much you watch on television.
Television is a wonderfull tool but like any tool it can be misused.