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Children, Violence, and Entertainment

Updated on September 25, 2017

A young boy playing with a gun

A young boy experimenting with a weapon
A young boy experimenting with a weapon | Source

Violence And Our Society

There is no doubt about it, everyday we hear so much violence on the news. It seems our society is becoming more violent with each passing generation. We, as parents, grandparents and society in general have an obligation to try to stem the tides of violence. So where do we start? Our government wants to take away our rights to own firearms, and the ability to protect ourselves, because they think the solution is gun control. But most of us, know that if a criminal wants to inflict violence on others, they will find a way. They may choose to steal guns or there have been recent cases, where they have used various other weapons such as knives, ropes, bricks, hammers or rocks.

We know that mental illness plays a role in most cases of violence. But, here again, there are many who suffer from some form of mental illness, who would never harm someone else. But suppose that a slightly mentally ill person, grows up viewing violence on a daily basis from their television programs, movies and video games. Would that make the chances of that person committing a violent act increase? If they view this every day, does it not distort their thinking and reasoning ability? If a mentally ill person, who viewed violence as a way of life, had issues with other people, would they choose to use violence as their way of dealing with the issue?

Effects Of Violence On Children

Sandy Hook School Shooting Memorial

School shootings have become a frequent area of violence
School shootings have become a frequent area of violence | Source

Children Learn Violence

Most children are not born with violent tendency, with the exception of certain mental illnesses. They learn what their surroundings and those people around them teach them. A National Television Violence Study project was done by the government nearly twenty years ago. The studies results showed the following.

  1. Children learn aggressive behaviors
  2. Children who watched a lot of violent television and movie content seemed to lose their empathy towards others
  3. Some children would develop fears of becoming victims of violence

Yes, children do learn from watching violence on television. A friend of mine has the scar to prove it. Her brother, after watching cowboy and Indian shows decided to try to scalp my friend with his pocket knife. Of course, in this case, the child was punished and made sure he knew what he had done was wrong. My own son, after watching a show called Circus of The Stars, decided to try to ride his bike over his younger brother. These are just two example of how children react to what they see on Television.

Hero Or Nasty Villain

We have all watched movies where the hero did some very extreme acts of violence himself. However, the hero is shown as being glamorized and his actions are excusable in his efforts to destroy the villain. The villain is portrayed as so evil, that any violent acts the hero does is justifiable even if the hero has killed, harmed or damaged just as many people as the villain.

Now movies, and television drama shows would be very dull without some sort of conflict, I agree. But, do they have to show in graphic detail, blood and body parts flying? I think not. Movies were just as good years ago, without having to see blood smeared and detached limbs and heads.Some of these shows, movies and video games are so graphic that children are growing up seeing blood splatter that it has no effect on them and it doesn't seem to bother them. In fact, to them this is exciting and normal. Some movies I have watched recently have shown people being tortured or being beaten so badly, that I had to turn off what might have otherwise been a good movie. In fact, it was a remake of Bonnie and Clyde, but it was so much more violent than the original, which was quite violent enough.

Everyone Can Help Change The Violence

All of us have the ability to help to curb violence in the media and protect our young people from its harmful effects. Here are some tips that may help parents or caregivers of young children.

  • Know what programs your child is viewing and what video games they are playing.
  • Watch with your child the games they are playing and the television programs they are watching
  • Limit the amount of time the child is allowed to play games or watch television
  • Make use of the time you spend watching television programs by discussing how this is not what reality is
  • Talk about the violence and let your child know it is not reality and there are consequences to violent behavior
  • Change the channel and explain why you are doing so
  • Refuse to watch overly violent shows or movies
  • Talk with other parents and encourage them to avoid violent games, movies and television programs
  • Also discuss with other parents if there are violent games or shows you do not wish your child to be exposed to. Chances are they may agree with you.
  • There are groups that try to curb violence that children are exposed to. Join one and make a difference
  • Most televisions have parental controls which can be used to help eliminate viewing violent and sexual content. Be sure to use these controls
  • Join groups that work towards curbing violent games and television

The Good Things

Yes, there are good programs on television and good movies. It is just getting harder to find good family type movies. There are some good educational channels, such as the History Channel, and some good family movies can be found on the Hallmark Channel. Teach your children to look for the good and protect them from being overly exposed to the violence. Hopefully, our society may change its course amid all the violence and eventually hold the entertainment industry accountable for what it produces.

Does Watching Violent Media Affect Our Children

Do you think that watching too much violence has an effect on children?

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    • L.M. Hosler profile image

      L.M. Hosler 3 years ago

      Thanks for the comment. No, I totally believe in the freedom of speech. That would be like telling writers what they can write. I do think parents are the ones responsible for what children view. Unfortunately, too many parents watch this themselves and expose the kids to it.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I was afraid you were going to say that this kind of programming not be allowed and then I would have had a hard time, only because I believe in freedom of expression. I lay the blame squarely on the parents with regards to violence and the media. All of your suggestions are right on, and any parent worth their salt is already following all of them. Excellent article my friend.