Did you ever wonder why the World Wrestling Entertainment champions are so popular? Or why is it that television shows like Prison Break enjoy such wide-scale popularity? Televised violence on several channels are known to have severe effects on all audience groups, be it children or adults. Television's influence on kids has been an area of argument since aggression, manipulation and bad judgment is stemmed by it.
Definition of Violence
According to the National Television Study research program funded by the National Cable Television Association, violence is defined as 'Any overt depiction of a credible threat of physical force or the actual use of such force intended to physically harm an animate being or group of beings. Violence also includes certain depictions of physically harmful consequences against an animate being or group that occur as a result of unseen violent means. Thus, there are three primary types of violent depictions: credible threats, behavioral acts and harmful consequences.
According to a report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in the year 2000, violence (in the form of homicide, suicide, and trauma) is a leading cause of death amongst children, adolescents as well as young adults. It is a more prevalent cause than diseases like cancer and congenital disorders.
The top consumers or the heavy consumers of violent television programs are males in the age group of 18 to 34, followed by females in the same age group.
According to research done by Huston in the year 1992, by the time a child is eighteen years old, he/she has already witnessed 200,000 acts of violence including 40,000 murders on television.
The Telecommunication Act of 1996 adopted information provision as one of the ways to reduce the dangers posed by televised violence.
A number of studies by George Gerbner, at the University of Pennsylvania, have shown that children's television shows contain about twenty violent acts each hour. These studies also observed that children who watch a lot of television are likely to develop a negative perspective of looking at the world.
Since the early fifties over one thousand studies have been carried out about the effects of violence on television and in the movies. A majority of these studies conclude that children who are exposed to considerable amounts of television violence are more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior.
According to research done by Buchanan in the year 2000, children who watch more television or even play more video games are exposed to more media violence and tend to exhibit more aggressive tendencies amongst their peers.
According to Denis McQuail's theory published in 2002, violence from media, especially television is encoded in the cognitive map of viewers and subsequent viewing of television violence helps to maintain aggressive thoughts, ideas and behavior.
Most of the children in the age group of two to five yeas watch television for an average of 31 hours each week, which is equivalent to more than four hours of television viewing per day. No wonder, impressionable young minds are falling prey to the element of violence present on the television.