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The Effects of Media Violence on Children

If a child acted violently towards someone else, like if he or she punched another child, there would be consequences for that child. Perhaps detention or grounding, but then their act of violence is mostly forgotten about. Rarely do the parents or school officials investigate why the child acted violently in the first place. If asked, the adults might say something like “the child probably watches a violent television show, like Powerangers, or he/she plays violent video games, like Grand Theft Auto.” Most people would consider that an acceptable reason. It is the norm to blame “the media” for everything that is wrong with our culture. But the question raised now is why; why does our society claim that violence in the media affects the behaviors of children?

The term “the media” is somewhat overused in our culture. It is a vague term we use to include any and all ways that messages are portrayed to us, usually in technology. Dr. Cyndy Scheibe, a professor at Ithaca College and media literacy expert, says that media is “messages conveyed through visuals, language, and/or sound that are mass produced for a mass audience. [Media is also] mediated by a form of technology and the producer of the message is not in the same place as the receiver of the message” (Scheibe). This means that media would include things like television, movies, the internet and print. Media doesn’t include things like text messages because they are not intended for mass audiences. For the purposes of this essay, “media” is mostly going to refer to television and video games.

Media violence can also be broken down to a specific definition. Dr. Scheibe describes the characteristics of media violence as frequent and pervasive (it appears on …

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Works Cited

Browne KD; Hamilton-Giachritsis C. “The Influence of Violent Media on Children and Adolescents: a Public-Health Approach”. Lancet 365.9460 (2005): pp. 702-710. Print.

Jenkins, Henry. Fans, Bloggers, and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture. New York: NYU Press, 2006. Print.

—————–, ed. Congressional Testimony on Media Violence. n.d. MIT Communications Forum.

Olson, Cheryl K. “It’s Perverse, But It’s Also Pretend”. New York Times. 28 June 2011. Print.

Scheibe, Cyndy. Media Literacy and Popular Culture CLTC 11000-01. Ithaca College Textor 101. 25 January 2012. Class lecture.

Walma van der Molen JH. “Violence and Suffering in Television News: Toward a Broader Conception of Harmful Television Content for Children”. Pediatrics 113.6 (2004): pp. 1771-1775. Print.

Television Violence Is Not the Problem

Television Violence Is Not the Problem

We’ve all heard the numbers on the amount of television that children watch and the amount of violence that they’re exposed to. In fact, sources that blame TV for children’s conduct quote this kind of data profusely. American children and adolescents spend 22-28 hours per week viewing television more than any other activity except sleeping (_Effects of Television_). These kinds of facts are strewn about with the hopes of convincing the public that television is to blame for children’s misbehaviors. Sources like these have one thing in common: They believe that if television disappeared, so would many of kids’ aggressive behaviors. Though arguing whether or not television is indeed an influence on children is rather foolish, it is important to recognize what exactly is to blame for their wrongdoing; it is not television. TV shares no responsibility in the actions of children, parents do.

It is common to find in sociology and political science books the main influences on people’s lives. These are usually parents, school, religion and more importantly, the media. These are indeed influences but nothing more. School definitely helps form the opinions and ideas a child will have just as religion does. The media also, depending on the amount of exposure that a child receives, has a big role. According to the _Media Influence_ web page, children will have watched seven years of television by age 70 (n. pg.). Yes, a lot of influence but, ultimately, parents have the most control in shaping the ideas and behaviors of children. These influences (parents or single ones) are the only ones responsible for the paths a child chooses in their lives. Parents are also the biggest influence du…

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… that is. Instead, parents must be on guard to teach the values of right and wrong. If this is done properly, children themselves could judge what they see on TV and make decisions as to whether they will karate chop their teachers or not.

Works Cited

_Fact about virtual violence_. American Medical Association. (1996): n. pag. Online. Internet. 7 March. 1998. Available: com/releases/1996/vvfact.htm

_Media Influence on the Health of Adolescents: Positive Choices_. Andrews University. (1998): n. pag. Online. Internet. 7 March. 1998. Available:

_The Effects of Television on a Child’s Development_. University of Richmond: Department of Psychology. (1995): n. pag. Online. Internet. 7 March. 1998. Available:

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