-Chip Media Argumentative Persuasive EssaysTV Violence and the V-Chip America has the highest crime rate in the world.
Along with that crimerate is also the substantially high violence rate. Why is violencebecoming and everyday event in our society? When you flip on the”tele” and tune into the news, the highlight of every show is somehow directlyrelated or connected to violence. We see it every evening and perhaps say “Ohmy gosh, how terrible.” and then forget all about it two minutes later. Orperhaps we don’t even make any comments at all, just a simple grunt or”.
.huh..”. This numbness to violence is very scary and very real. Why is itthen that America has the most crime and violence. Why not Switzerland orAustralia. Are we not as civilized and advanced as they? I believe it is thisnumbness to violence that has made America so violent.
When I think back to my childhood and remember television I rememberwatching such programs as “Sesame Street”, “Mr. Rogers”, and “Scooby – Doo”. Ihave nothing but pleasant memories filled with happiness, peace, understanding,and learning. When you watch children’s programs today you see senselessviolence often as the first means of solving a problem. The classic view of”good” versus “evil” is the basis of these shows with violence as the answer.
When children watch these programs they copy the actions and “morals” of theseshows depicting “good” and “evil”. Children do not know what “good” is or what”evil” is, how can they? This world is not broken into “good” and “evil”.”Evil” to children is what opposes them, what does not agree with them, or anyother person or thing that poses a possible difficulty. Children must be taughtthat there are differences in this world. This world is filled with many peopleholding different beliefs, ideas, and morals. That is what makes this worldso unique and colorful. Children need to learn to respect these differences froma very young age. They need to learn to talk out and solve any disagreements orproblems through other means than violence.
They must not “know” violence as ananswer, as if violence was never even an option to consider in solving aproblem. I recently became aware of the problem of violence in children when Istarted observing small children at play at my apartment complex. I had knownone small child in particular when he was just learning to speak. I had watchedhim and talked with him for several years and noticed nothing “violent” noraggressive about him. Back then he played more outdoors rarely ever goinginside (except when his mother called for dinner), but as he got older and moreinterested in television I noticed that he was becoming much more aggressiveespecially as he played outside with his friends and sisters. He would punchand copy the moves of the cartoon shows he watched even to the point of copyingtheir war cries and sayings. The media claims that they have no influence onchildren, that could not be further from the truth. Children are the easiestto manipulate and take advantage of because they are innocent and because theyare innocent they are also ignorant.
Some people say that the boy was merelymaturing, becoming more like a man. But how many five year old boys do youknow that have testosterone flowing through their body? The main problem wasthe television shows that he was watching. That is very obvious.
The problem with the above mentioned case was not just television itselfbut the combination of television and child. Children are very susceptible andeasily persuaded as we all know. In the early 1960’s, Albert Bandura ofStanford was the first to present the theory that children not only learned fromtheir parents through imitation but also through imitating television. So whenchildren imitate what they see on television, especially when it is somethingthat is rewarded, and knowing how violent television is these days, televisioncan and does influence children in violent and aggressive means. When childrenare raised with violent television “…
they become desensitized to real people’ssuffering…” (Leland 47). When children watch a man get blown up across thescreen and see the hero prevail from the conflict it encourages the thought thatwhen you want something, it’s alright to obtain it through violence because youwill be rewarded in the end. This along with the fact that a murder ontelevision shows is so common that children begin to project what they see ontelevision onto the world they live in and resulting in confusing fantasy withreality. Most psychologists believe that media alone is not the sole problem ofviolence in children, but one in particular, Dr.
Leonard Eron disagrees. Hehas done a 22 year study of children as they mature from the age of eight toadulthood to prove his theory that television has a greater affect on childrenthan most think. His results are shocking. The studies conclude that the singlebest predictor of adulthood violence and aggression is not due to violent homes,poverty, poor school performance, single parent homes, nor to real lifeviolence, rather to heavy amounts of television/media violence. But “…ofcourse not every youngster is affected.
” (Qtd. Leland 47). The reason for thisis because children with fewer natural aggressive tendencies are less affectedby television violence, in other words, if a child is naturally aggressive,violent television tends to bring these traits out. Eron also discovered thatthe content of the television doesn’t need to be violent to have a violentaffect on children.
In fact television shows with high amounts of action andtension had the same results as those with violence, adding to the largespectrum of television programs that can have effects on children. Researchershave also found that the affects of violence in television on adults is muchlower to that of children because adults know the difference between what isreal and what is “tv land”. Eron also states that though television does notaffect adults as much, they are nevertheless affected, though in other ways.Another view presented by Walter Wink, a professor of biblical interpretationat Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City, states that: Children identify with the good guys so that they can think of themselves as good.
This enables them to project out onto the bad guy their own repressed anger, violence, rebelliousness, or lust… Salvation is guaranteed through identification with the hero. (Qtd. Levine 24)Another interesting tid-bit about television violence: by age 18, a child willhave seen at least 150,000 acts of violence on the television. By age six, mostchildren will have watched 5,000 hours of television and by the end of highschool, over 19,000 hours. That is a lot of television.
What would happen without television? One epidemiologist named Brandon S.Centerwall claims that without television the United States would have nearly10,000 fewer murders per year, almost 70,000 fewer rapes, and 700,000 fewerassaults. Although many disagree Centerwall’s statements and predictions,there is not doubt that without television there would be fewer aggressiveactions in the United States. Proving the “no television, fewer crimes” theorywill be very difficult but the evidence will eventually surface in the years tocome. Perhaps then the television companies and corporations will begin to see,but perhaps it will be too late and television will be planted to deep into theroots of American society.
Children need to be more creative and television certainly does not givechildren the opportunity to be creative, Henry Alptrum puts it best with “Theabsence of television spawns creativity.” (Alptrum). Television gives theviewer both sight and sound at once leaving only three senses to imagine. Radioleaves four senses.
Books leave all five senses to imagine. In fact a study inCanada conducted by Tannis MacBeth 20 years ago on the effects of television ona small town produced results that were not surprising at all. She discoveredthat with the introduction of television to this small town creativity droppedand within two years the number of incidents of pushing, shoving, hitting,biting, and all other forms of aggressive actions by children increased as muchas 160 percent. This cannot simply be coincidence. In another related studydirected by Centerwall murder rates and in the United States, South Africa,and Canada doubled ten to 15 years after the introduction of television. Thereare hundreds of documented tests and experiments relating to the fact thatviolence on television has a very negative effect on children. Is the media to take all the blame? Of course not. After all, this isAmerica and I believe nothing more strongly than freedom of speech andexpression.
The solution to this problem is censorship. Censorship not at thegovernmental level, nor at the state level, nor at the cable company level,rather at the level of the parents. They and they alone are the ones who needto decide what is best for their children for only they know what is best. WhenI was a child my mother was always there to tell me what I could and could notwatch. Of course when I was smaller I hated it, but now that I am older I amso grateful and thankful that my mother censored what was fed into my brain.
But another problem arises! In today’s society, two working parents is the norm.For many children there is no one at home to tend them, to tell them what todo and enforce it. Children are left to their own. A baby sitter as an “adult”replacement is fine for watching over the safety of the children, otherwisethey could care less what the children watched because they undoubtedly watchedor still watch the same program or consider it harmless because it is an “afterschool kids cartoon”. What has the media done to counteract this? Very little to nothing.They deny that the problem actually exists. But the problem does exist and isvery real, and they can help stop it.
They can help change it. What then ispreventing it? What is preventing the media from trying to help? Money ofcourse. What could be more important than money? These children’s shows arebig money makers and that says it all. The media has done very little in theactual solving of the problem, in fact about the only thing they have done isto add a special 30 second warning before a show or television movie that maycontain scenes that require “parental supervision”. Although this is a step inthe right direction, more action is needed.
So where does the solution lay? There are several options some areobvious and some are just mere ideas. One way to control the television is tonot turn it on. Another idea is to not purchase a television, but that isridiculous because television can be informative and educational. Just when itseems that all hope is lost technology finds an answer: The V-Chip.
The V-Chip was invented by a Canadian several years ago with the purposeof censoring what can be seen on television by youngsters. This chip could beinserted into all new television sets and would enable the owner to define whattype of television shows could be viewed at home. This gives the parents totalcontrol over what is viewed on the set when no one is home to keep an eye on thenest. The chip is complete with a password to stop the little computer geniusfrom overriding any settings. Ratings include such topics as, violence (inseveral levels), sex, language, mature content, etc..
It offers quite anexpansive array of options and certainly has it’s benefits. But with every newidea there is opposition. There are some that claim that it will never help inthe battle against violence, but these are the same people who believe thatmore real type violence should be shown on television because of the supposedfact that it would have a cathartic affect on the populace.
Others are wearyabout who decides what television show is violent or what movie is too risqu.They fear the government will take control over what the people will see and forthat reason the V-Chip is unconstitutional. But the V-Chip should be offerednevertheless to those who want to take advantage of what it has to offer notunlike television sets that are mandated to have equipment for the hearingimpaired.
Dr. Eron, a well known and well accredited psychologist, adds anotherpossible problem to the V-Chip. He believes that the V-Chip is too easy. TheV-Chip actually takes away the responsibilities of being a parent. Thetemptation for parents to merely block something out with a chip and hiding thetruth is much too great with the V-Chip.
When parents simply use the chip toblock out the unwanted information children’s curiosity is heightened. Theparent’s responsibility should include talking and discussing the problems oftelevision violence. They should discuss the feelings of victims of realviolence and draw a distinct line between what is seen on television and what isreality. Family rules and regulations should be made on how much, when, andwhat television programs can be viewed. The V-Chip helps in setting theseguidelines but is in no way designed as a stand-alone apparatus.
One thing is for certain and that is tv does have an affect of childrentoday. It has been proven over and over again in the many hours of research andyears of testing that in the long run tv affects people. None are more affectedthan children.
This problem of the affects of television is just recentlybecoming a known and well established health issue. A handful of scientists andpsychologists had predicted that this nation would turn into “…a nation ofmorons.” (Qtd.
Davies 36). America went from a nation with the highest standardsof education and excellence in education to a nation with some of the lowestscores in education in the third world. This prediction of a “…
a nation ofmorons.” (Qtd. Davies 36) is sadly becoming true.
When headlines like ‘Six-year-old charged with battering baby’ are written across the front page of thedaily newspaper that is when we should realize that there is something wronggoing on in this nation. Children learn from watching television. Whether itis something morally sound or something criminally sound children take ineverything they see and learn it. Parents must be the first line of attackagainst television taking over the children because they can no longer ignorethe problem and hope that the television stations will somehow come up with asolution.
The stations have done very little to help. The V-Chip offers somehelp but must be reinforced with parental discussions. There is always one otheralternative to censoring what is fed into the minds of our children. Peter Goddard states it well with “You can turn the damn thing off, you know.” (25)