- Family and Parenting
Television and Children
Television and Children: Understanding and Combating Media Violence
With the right programming, a television can provide entertainment and education for children. However, as we all know it contains a significant amount of negative images. Television violence, harsh language, and sexually explicit content as well as aggressive marketing are prevalent. It's those types of images and messages which most professionals and parents wish to eliminate for young children.
Of course such violent content isn't confined just to television. Music, video games and more are in question.
Should parents really be concerned about television and children? What does the research show as far as the effects of TV violence? This page focuses primarily on the case against exposure to media violence, tips for parents to counteract or block such programming, and help in finding the best viewing options out there. Learn all about this by reading further on this page.
What Are the Effects of Television Violence on Children?
Over the past 30 years, thousands of studies have examined the effects of TV violence on children. Viewing violence on TV has been linked to aggression in both males and females despite other factors such as intelligence, social status, or parenting style. It has been said to be a powerful influence in developing value systems and shaping behavior.
Clearly, viewing violence on TV is not the only influence and it's effect varies based on the age of the child. Studies have shown the effects of TV violence are greatest at an early age. It seems that the type of violence seen can also result in different responses. Violence which is not seen as evil or does not result in punishment, disapproval, or human suffering appears to be that which is the most likely to result in agressive behavior in children.
Find more information on this topic below.
The Effects of Media Violence on Children
Get a taste of what the research and various professional organizations have to say about the effects of TV violence on kids.
- The American Psychiatric Association
Find out what the APA is saying about the effects of media violence and their recommendations for parents to limit exposure and to counteract the effects.
- Media Awareness Network
An overview of a number of research studies looking at the effect of TV violence.
- National Institue on Media and the Family
A brief fact sheet about the findings of a variety of medical, pediatric, and psychological organizations regarding the effects of media violence.
- The Psycholgical Effects of Media Violence
A paper by Joanne Cantor, Ph.D. giving an overview; complete with references.
- The Influence of Media Violence on Youth
The findings of a study published in December 2003 regarding the effects of TV violence with an extensive listing of sources.
- Public Health Agency of Canada
A discussion of the effect of media violence and a number of recommendations for parents.
- Youth Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General
A report covering effects of media violence, research findings, and preventative efforts.
- Children, Violence, and the Media
A Senate Judiciary Committee report. Interesting facts about the exposure to music, video game, and television violence from 1999.
Learn More About the Effects of Media Violence and How to Deal With It
What Are Your Children Learning From Television?
Other Sources of Media Violence
The violence and other inappropriate content present in television shows is sometimes easy to spot. From fist fighting and arguing to shooting and other criminal activity it is clear that much of prime time TV is filled with such images. Cop shows, dramas, and reality TV don't sneak by the watchful eye of most parents.
But how about other sources of media violence? The rioting, war coverage, and crime stories on the news. The violence present in many cartoons. How about the unrealistic violence in a WWF fight or a brawl in hockey? Some sporting events don't really provide the kinds of role models children need. Then of course, there is the unabated violence in some forms of music and in videogames.
For parents who wish to limit exposure, all media really needs to be evaluated.
What Can Parents Do to Protect Their Children From Media Violence?
Parents can do a number of things but primarily they can:Limit their child's exposure to violence on television by monitoring and restricting what they watch through parental controls/rules and providing better programming Watch with their children to discuss and help interpret what they are seeing rather than leaving television and children left unmonitored.Find out the specific recommendations of experts below.
Countering the Effects of Media Violence
Learn how to reduce exposure to media violence and make a child's viewing time a better and more educational experience.
- Kids Health
Tips for guiding your child's viewing time, a description of the TV rating system, and an overview of the V-chip technology.
- Center for Media Literacy
Limiting exposure is important, but learning to recognize violence and to find alternatives is important too.
- Youth Violence Prevention
A list of resources to help parents and teachers.
- Getting Along: Taming the TV
Additional tips and talking points when viewing TV to reduce the effects of TV violence.
- Children and Television
How to use television sensibly: from advertisements to regualar programming. Ways to develop critical thinking about what children view.
Although we might want media to reduce violence, the most effective thing to do is take your own action. Parents can limit TV viewing time, restrict what programming is viewed, watch TV with their kids and discuss it, and set a good example themselves. Letters to studios can be useful as well.
Parental Controls for Television
Televisions over 13-inches in size now have a V-chip which allows parents to block programming based on ratings. With a V-chip, pairing television and children is a bit safer. Parents can learn more about the V-chip by browsing this FCC site.
In addition most services offer parental controls to allow users to restrict viewing. For example, Dish Network satellite receivers offer parental controls/system locks that restrict what programs can be viewed based on password protected locks. Restrictions can be set up by channel or by ratings. The software operates in conjunction with V-Chip technology and parents simply program the system to restrict access to certain shows. For even greater protection, Dish's "Adult Guard" software can even completely remove Adult Channels from the Electronic Program Guide.
Here are some reference pages for other providers:
Limit TV Viewing Time Easily
Battling Television Violence by Selecting the Best Kids TV Shows
Obvsiously, television violence is minimal or absent in some programming. In fact, there is some great programming for kids out there. Much of it's entertaining and educational. Most services offer programming such as Discovery Kids, the various Disney Channels, Nickelodeon, Nick Toons, and other award winning shows such as BabyFirst TV.
Certainly, there is also the option of many of the classic TV shows available on select channels. Shows such as Leave It To Beaver, The Andy Griffith Show and others often provide great entertainment but offer the added benefit of a great lesson for character development.
For help in finding some of the best that is out there, check out the links below.
Best Kids Shows
See what shows other parents rated highly.
See how parentstv.org rates all TV programs.
PBS is a trusted source for quality educational content for kids.
- Rate It All
More top picks by parents.
- Parent Center
Top picks by the Parent Center.
- Common Sense Media
Best Science Shows for Kids as rated by Common Sense Media.
Reviews of kids TV shows and DVD's to help you select the best.
Classic Family TV Shows
Non Violent Video Games
Looking for video games with non-violent content? Here are some recommnedations.
What Do You Say?
Does Violence on Television Influence Kids?
Introduction Photo Credit: aaronyx
Effects of Television Violence on Children Photo Credit: debaird
Best Kids TV Shows Photo Credit: pfly
Other Sources of Media Violence Photo Credit: dan4th
What Can Parents Do to Protect Their Children from Media Violence Photo Credit: orangeacid.
Parental Controls Photo Credit: frenkieb.