We as consumers naturally observe each and everything that surrounds us. Whether it’s something as immense as a festival, or an every day item like a park bench, we understand that these things do exist, and the effect we get from these things vary from person to person. With these being said it comes as no surprise that most Americans spend a very large portion of their time stuck behind a TV. Our younger generation is no exception. Kids are beginning to watch television at earlier and earlier stages in their development.
Some may argue that even when a child is too young to understand what a TV is, they begin to associate themselves with it. It surrounds us everyday, and is often hard to turn off as a result. This is an addiction that we as Americans have a hard time kicking. Television promotes too much violence and as a result must be regulated more heavily by the government, and if children are to watch than parents must play a stronger role in setting guidelines. Television shows, especially those for the younger generation, have a good amount of violence in them.
The cartoons are becoming more gruesome, yet we still allow our children to sit in front of the TV for hours upon end. There are plenty of alternatives to violence in TV shows, but nothing sells quite as well. Gary Goshgarian, writer of “What Matters In America” feels that “It is human nature to pay attention to that which is distressing- whether it’s a car wreck on the freeway, or a mass murder in a restaurant in the Midwest. ” (Goshgarian, Gary. What Matters in America. 1. New York: Pearson, 2007. ) This would be deemed boring by any normal child, thus cartoons were invented.
The same logic still applies; whether it’s a character being hurt, or the events leading up to it. These cartoons are no better than the commercials between them. These shows pander to the children, essentially making them their slaves. They imitate every action on the show, something that is extremely dangerous when watching such hostility. Clearly this violence is a problem, and regulations need to be more rigid. The government, namely the FCC, plays an extremely important role in what is and isn’t ok on television. Sure the rating system is implemented, but how effective is it?
Recently, after viewing a children’s television show, I had come to realize that it contained more violence than most of the “adult” shows that I watch. The FCC is extremely lacking in their scope of the whole problem. Being that most of the FCC’s employees are older, they are coming from a completely different background. Their perspectives are skewed ever so slightly that there are many slip-ups in the children’s programs. This is how the media in general operates. If children were media-literate from the second they were born, then this wouldn’t be a problem.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Children will jump off the walls until they get their Sunny D. It is way too much for us to expect our children to know, “How to critically analyze different media, to use and maximize their many benefits, and to defend against their sneaky manipulations. ” (Goshgarian, Gary. What Matters in America. 1. New York: Pearson, 2007. ) It is up to the FCC to truly understand the effect violence on television has on kids. So far they have done nothing but show the kids that violence is ok, that it’s just an everyday thing.
Violence is anything but ok, and to throw such violence on the morning cartoons is going to perpetuate the rate of violence we all experience in America. Some feel that by preventing a child from viewing these things will cause them to eventually blow up in a much worse way. However, if given alternatives to TV such as exercise and reading, then there will be no built up rage in the first place. Even if the FCC was to put extreme regulations on television, there’s no way violence could be completely cut out. At this point, it is ultimately up to the parents to be actively involved and inform their kids about what it is they’re viewing.
When I say actively involved, the top priority would be to have the parent present at all times. Being that this is an impossibility, education on the subject would be a good compromise. Parents need to know what their kids are watching, or they won’t be able to inform them at all. They need to show how television isn’t real, and that most of what they see is just for show. Parents need to inform their children on how there are good and bad aspects in just about everything we come across, including television shows.
I don’t want to convey the idea that children can watch whatever they want as long as the parents inform their kids. No, no the line must be drawn somewhere, and again this is for the parents to decide. Depending on the type of child, how imitative he/she really is, it may be necessary to cut off television all together. No this won’t harm your child, in fact it’s probably much healthier for them. On average, young children spend 2 to 4 hours per day watching television. They also spend 35 hours per week of screen time with TV or video games.
The Kaiser Foundation reports that nearly all children in the United States (99%) live in homes with a TV set and one-third have a TV in their bedroom. (Gooben, Jimmy. “TV Violence and Children. ” 8 Oct 2008 <http://www. turnoffyourtv. com/healtheducation/violencechildren/violencechildren. html>) It may be hard for a parent to monitor what they watch when given these statistics, but it sure isn’t impossible. In conclusion, it is the combination of all these things that instill violence within children, and it is going to take a combination of solutions to help make it better.
Violence will never be completely taken out of television; it makes it too interesting to turn off. Higher levels of understanding need to be reached in order for the violence not to take the effect that it currently does. Nothing is going to happen overnight, but regulations need to be tightened and so does the parenting ability of every mom and dad out there. It’s unfortunate that kids have to be so imitative, but if they weren’t they would end up much more dull and lacking in character. Their minds are like sponges for a reason, and we need to get them to soak up the positive aspects in life.