Children everywhere are being born into a cruel world of imagery and messages. In society today, people who want to say or do something that is not worthy of talking about, are just people who have something to sell. However, the unique thing about the Media Industry is that it has become part of our culture, our everyday lives, our identity. Social scientists and child psychologists have been studying the effects of the Media for decades, yet it is only recently that the concern has sparked a public debate.People are now asking themselves if their versions of entertainment are more violent than historical forms of sport and punishment, such as gladiatorial games or public hangings. There is a desire for everything of a slight threat to be censored, but just what is censorship? According to the Heinemann English Dictionary, censorship is perceived in three different ways, the first being “The suppression of all or part of a publication, play or film considered a threat to security or offensive. ” The second is any suppression, “The suppression or attempted suppression of something regarded as objectionable.
And finally from a Psychiatry point of view, “The suppression of potentially harmful memories, ideas or desires from the conscious mind. ” So if there is a lacking of censorship, could it really get to the point where it is affecting our children’s development? Television viewing affects children in different ways. If a child spends many hours in front of a TV at an early age, the programming has little effect. But, if the child is around two years old, he/she will imitate the actions of the characters.
These imitations get stronger as the child gets older.However, most parents do not realise that whether aggression is presented in reality or in a cartoon, it makes no difference to the child, who sees it as funny and violent, because they cannot tell the difference. Exposure to this violence is not believed to increase aggression but being aggressive increases the liking for violent programmes. A 1993 report by the British Psychological Association stated: “Viewing violence increases fear of becoming a victim of violence, with an increase in self-protective behaviour and in mistrust.
Not only is the mentality of the person affected, but also the physical conditions.The basic physical needs of children (such as developing healthy hearts and lungs) are directly endangered by the number of hours the child spends watching The Box. ” On the other hand, some parents use TV to their advantage, using it as a babysitting type device, letting them do something with fewer disturbances, while their kids are plonked infront of the TV. This has consequences though. On average, in 1960-1992, children lost 10-12 hours per week of parental time, the result of that being that the children were more aggressive compared to those who were given the opportunity to spend quality time with their parents.By the time a child is in their First Year in Secondary School, they will have watched (on average) 3-4000 hours of broadcast TV alone. Even more astonishing is that they are likely to have witnessed around 8000 murders, and more than 100,000 acts of violence.
As technology improves, it seems that the amount of violence in entertainment is increasing, and imagery is more and more graphic, resulting in a more realistic portrayal of violence. If a swear is said on television it is normal as long as it is said after the 9pm watershed, but if it was said around 30 years ago, it would be a different story.If a child plays video games that portray a graphic image of violence, it will affect their ability to understand and decipher situations. Before the age of 8, a child is most likely to interpret situations based on the obvious face value.
When violent actions are either rewarded or not punished, which is the case with electronic gaming, the probability of imitation of the behaviour increases. Electronic games differ from other forms of media in that they are interactive, repetitive and there is the natural delight of gaming as a reward.Especially in the last few years where technology has become very advanced, gaming has become extremely popular.
There have been many concerns brought up about these games and whether or not they should be censored. Surely the way to solve all these problems would be to just eliminate violent programming? But from the business prospect, violence sells, and the more viewers means higher ratings. In an adult programme, you can witness 8-12 acts of violence in one hour, and in a child’s it is at an all time high; 32 acts of violence in one hour!This can lead to devastating effects to a child when older, even criminally. Professor Centrewald of the University of Washington predicted that if TV was never invented there could be 10,000 fewer murders, 70,000 fewer rapes, and 700,000 fewer assaults in the US.
Even though violence is seen and portrayed as bad, I think it can be educational, showing the harsh and cruel reality of everyday life to people who want to see it. I mean, if you do not like violence or you wish something to be censored, then do not watch it!People do have the choice to look at it or not, so if they don’t agree but watch it anyway then I think that is a bit hypocritical. There is a hypothesis called the Catharsis (developed by two German men, Feshback and Singer) and it states that by viewing violent programming the individual is able to release previously built up tension and anger. This theory explains why people take pleasure in viewing brutal violence acts, they could actually commit these crimes themselves so as to test their reactions to mortal danger without actual risk.Although there has always been crime and violence through children’s TV, never have there been such serious extreme acts made by children, until recently. One very well known instance is the brutal death of James Bulger.
The movie Child’s Play 3 was under debate when two 10-year-old boys tormented and murdered the child. The film was then criticised after Suzanne Capper was kidnapped, tortured and set on fire, as the group of young people chanted, ” I am Chucky, wanna play? “Never before have children been targeted as a lucrative market for entertainment, violence and sex (however innocent the material is). If you turn on your TV, you open the doors of violence, sex and the tough aspects of reality into your living room, or worse, your child’s bedroom. The 19th and 20th centuries were teeming with murder and mystery, yet when violence involves people against people, it challenges the audience’s ideas around the topic of the effects of Media violence on children and young adults, resulting in us challenging our instinctive denial of our earliest thoughts of fear and aggression.