The dangerous aftermath of violence on television

Sung Kang, Contributing Writer

As viewers in the twenty-first century, we are bombarded with violent videos and imagery every time we switch on the television. It is almost impossible to escape the images of explosions, war, and death that are so prevalent in today’s films and television shows.

Even looking at the daily news can make us believe that we are living in a terrifying time. Tragedies in Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Israel, Afghanistan, Somalia, and all over the world flood television screens, Facebook feeds, and daily newspapers. This never-ending flow of depressing news can be overwhelming, especially for young audiences.

“Of course, it’s important for news agencies to accurately and effectively show us what’s going on around the world. However, when the news is constantly filled with violent events, images, and videos, and with the amount of time that children spend watching television on the rise, it can make children more accustomed to violent actions than we may like,” said senior Robert Rosso.

Popular T.V. shows such as Dexter and The Walking Dead feature much more violence than those of previous years. Similarly, a number of people criticize satirical shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons for their blunt mockery of politics and society.

“Even though the shows that tend to be more filled with violence are intended for adults, that doesn’t mean children can’t or won’t see them,” said junior Jennifer Short. “If we continue to introduce violence to younger generations, even inadvertently, we are ourselves granting a dangerous approval of violence.”

The subject of TV violence and its effect on children has become increasingly concerning, as many people claim that too much exposure to graphic imagery can cause children to become more hostile or anxious.

“Violence can influence young kid to act violently towards their friends. It really is an epidemic in our society,” said senior Emily Epstein.

Research from The Nielsen Company shows that on average, children ages 2-5 spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV watching television and kids ages 6-11 spend about 28 hours a week in front of the TV. Children who watch many hours a week of violent TV may become inured to violence and begin to see the world as a scary and unsafe place.

“Violence on television is more apparent and more graphic than it ever has been. It has become very desensitizing to the point where parents, understandably, don’t want their kids watching TV,” said senior Stefan Appel.

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary claims that an average American child will see 200,000 violent acts and 16,000 murders on TV by age 18. The American Academy of Pediatrics said, “Extensive research evidence indicates that media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, nightmares, and fear of being harmed.” They also added that “watching violent shows is also linked with having less empathy toward others.”

Essentially, the problem of TV violence is a problem that modern society has created, and, unfortunately, continues to create. As younger generations become more accustomed to violence in general, the less they will see it as a problem in our country and across the globe. Of course, violence in film production and on the news is important, but it is also important that it not be senseless and unrestricted in magnitude. This is a problem that our society can monitor and perhaps fix in the years to come.