This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Caroline S. de Leon** Philippine News and Features (Vol. XVII, No. 12/2) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org CHILDREN in Metro Manila now spend about three hours a day in front of the television screen. An average child is estimated to have watched 5,000 hours of television by the time he or she enters first grade and 25,000 hours by the end of high school --- more time than would be spent in a classroom earning a college degree. Television has become a potent agency of socialization because like the family, school, and peers, it directly provides the child with experiences which shape their attitudes and influence their behaviors. In evaluating television's influence on children, it is important to view this medium as an element in a matrix of influences in a child's social environment. Television seems to become a growing source of parental anxiety. Parents worry most of all about the amount and kinds of programs their children watch, and definitely these fears are legitimate. According to the American Psychological Association Task Force Report on Television and American Society, by the time the average American child (one who watches two to four hours of television daily), leaves elementary school, he or she will have witnessed at least 8,000 murders and more than 100,000 other assorted acts of violence on television. Unlike books, television programs are easily accessible to children. In a book culture, parents exercise control over the flow of information by selecting the type of books according to the child's reading readiness. Television presents the same information to adults and to children of all ages; and so parents often find it difficult to censor their children's viewing without censoring their own. Understanding of TV How much do children understand what they watch on TV? According to research, before age seven, children have difficulty integrating separate scenes into a continuous story line. Instead, they treat each scene as an isolated incident and are unable to relate a TV character's behavior to its prior motives and eventual consequences. Thus, young children cannot see the connection between violence and its consequences if the perpetrator of violence gets to be punished only at the end of the program.
Effects of TV Violence The link between violence on television and aggression in children has been so thoroughly studied that few would dispute its strength.500 researches of the effects of TV violence have been conducted in the U..Studies show that young children recall little information that is central to the plot of a story.S. A conversation between an author and a six-year-old clearly illustrates the kind of message a child gets from a cartoon program: "Why is GI Joe your favorite show?" "Because it has a lot of fighting. A five-year-old child wondered why an actor who "died" in one TV program "came back to life" in another show. especially those showing physical actions and confrontations. and the medical community have decided to treat televised violence as a serious public health issue that needs to be immediately addressed for the public own safety and well-being. and if Superman can fly. This kind of exposure could lead them to interpret that in real life." Young children who watch a lot of television tend to believe that it is all right to hit someone if one is angry and have a good reason. child experts." "What happens to the bad guys you shoot?" "They die. why can't he (the child) even if he wears a Superman cape. Children observe that cartoon characters manage to recover from severe violent acts almost immediately. . not to mention those done in other countries." "Who would you like to be like when you grow up?" "I want to be like Rambo because he has a big gun. people who are victims of violent acts do not really get hurt at all. Over the past forty years. Because of the gravity of this concern psychologists. Their difficulty stems from their inability to differentiate what is essential to the plot and what is peripheral." "And what happens to you?" "Nothing. more than 3. Young children also have a hard time distinguishing make-believe from reality. Character actions. are remembered better than scenes offering explanations for their actions. Children find it hard to recall scenes recounting inner feelings that explain previous events.
distributed cartoons showed that 50 percent glorified violence or used it to entertain. and again found a relationship between television viewing and aggression. and Bugs Bunny and Pals with 68 acts of violence per hour. According to the study. Among those listed as most violent were: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. and other physically hostile acts. WDCA.846 acts of violence. their teachers as well as parents. Well over a third of all the violence (751 scenes) involved some sort of life-threatening assault. The theme of cartoons such as Popeye is that any problem can be solved by brute force which one acquires by eating spinach. and finding a relationship between television viewing and aggression Eron followed up these children ten years later. cartoons have three times as many acts of violence than prime television. the more aggressive was their behavior . Fox and PBS. This time he found that there was a relationship between early television viewing and arrest and conviction for violent interpersonal crimes. Child psychologists point out that it is a misconception to consider cartoons as harmless just because they are funny. NBC. G. An eye-opener is that cartoons were found to have the most number of violent scenes (471). Tom and Jerry Kids. In the 1980's. A study in 1991 by the National Coalition on TV Violence on 100 nationally. MTV. 673 involved punching. One of the most ambitious longer-term studies was that conducted by Dr.5 in 1988 to 32 in 1991. Eron in 1963 who examined a group of eight-year-olds in a small upstate New York town which covered children. dragging. major feature of contemporary television programming. cartoons may tend to reduce a child's perception of danger. the more serious were the crimes they were convicted of. when they were 18 years old. the USA Network. child abuse. The amount of violent acts per hour rose from 25. pushing. murder. CBS. slapping. and aggravated assault. and 226 scenes of menacing threats with a weapon. The results of an analysis of 180 hours of programming on 10 channels (affiliates of ABC. and suffering. The more frequently the participants watched TV at age eight. one non-affiliated station. The study concluded that violence remains a pervasive. 389 scenes depicted serious assaults. Joe. spouse abuse. 362 scenes involved gunplay. There were 175 scenes in which violence resulted in one or more fatalities. I. He concluded that there were some long-term effects of television viewing on later aggressive behavior. Leonard D.TV Guide conducted a study in 1992 of one day in the life of television. In being funny and fast paced. and HBO) revealed a total of 1. pain. Eron again followed up these individuals at age 30.
advocacy groups. 2. Finland. and mental health professionals . Similar findings were found when the study was replicated in Australia. Israel. Aggressive children are unpopular and because their relationship with their peers may not be satisfying. They rarely show remorse at the time they engage in aggression and are seldom condemned by others or immediately apprehended. Congress to examine for a period of three years (1996 to 1998) the amount of television violence and the manner this is presented across 23 broadcast and cable channels in the U. A worldwide concern has prompted parents. children's programs contain the greatest number of high-risk violent portrayals.S. 1. Violence is typically shown with little or no harm to the victim. The violence they see on television serves as an assurance that their behavior is appropriate. Of all program forms. and Poland. Eron said in 1982. It is also probable that aggressive children prefer to watch more violent television programs. Portrayals that have a high risk of teaching aggression to children under seven are concentrated in the very programs and channels targeted to young viewers. Of all channel types. Perpetrators of violence are often the "good characters" who therefore become role models to children. more than half of the violent incidents on television depict on physical injury or pain to the victim. child-oriented basic cable (Cartoon Network. they tend to spend more time watching television compared to their more popular peers. Disney. and frequently sanitized. Perhaps the most comprehensive assessment of violence on American television in the history of social science research can be said to be that of the National Television Violence Study (NTVS) commissioned by the U. Regulating TV violence The urgency and seriousness of this issue on media violence has reached global proportions. educators. In fact. Essentially the same results emerged when the researchers examined another group of youths for three years in a suburb of Chicago.S.when drinking. Content analysis of some 2. and Nickelodeon) contains the most high-risk portrayals for children. As they apply new coercive techniques learned from television. they become more unpopular and they are driven more into television watching.700 programs from 1994-95 to 1995-96 television season revealed that violence on television is glamorized. and the harsher was the punishment they inflicted on their own children.
a microchip which can be incorporated in a television set or cable selector. coarse language. In the Philippines a number of bills were filed to mitigate the negative effects of televised violence. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. violence.to launch protest activities and public discussions on how children can be protected against harmful media influences.S. advisories at the beginning and during the program ("scenes of violence intended for adult audience). did set some limits on the amount of advertising in children's programming and did set some expectations that stations applying for license renewal will have to explain how they have served the educational needs of children in their broadcast area. ratified by 191 countries by the end of 1997 (all States except the US and Somalia is an example of a global collaborative effort to draw up guiding principles for decision-makers. and red for adult programming (used in Italy). The Children's Television Act of 1990 in the U. This labeling. which was criticized for its lack of specificity of content. Being tried out in the U. yellow for parental guidance. Just when "later" is varies with different countries which may be between 7:00 in the evening to 12 midnight. and other measures to minimize the influence of television violence Different countries have adopted various measures such as the U. This device can program the chip to block the signal of programs with a classification which exceeds the level considered pre-selected as acceptable. Other measures include scheduling TV programs unsuitable for children "later" in the evening (called "watershed). Relevant sections pertaining to responsibility towards children are: . House Bill 19183 proposes a ratings system for TV programs. The Kapisanan ng Mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas has its code and internal guidelines. House Bill 10183 provides that cartoons featuring violence and unethical conduct should be aired only during times when young children are not usually watching. classification of programs such as PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned and R-Restricted. A number of nations have introduced legislation.S. self-regulatory codes by association of broadcasters. and Canada is the V-chip.S. was amended in 1997 to include letters which indicate whether the rating level was due to sex. a visual signaling system with color coding such as green for family.
and political considerations contribute to the problem of finding a universally acceptable resolution of the problem.Children's programs shall not present violence. has elicited strong protests from different sectors. educators. 000. 000 to P15. as a means to resolve conflicts and problems. whether physical or psychological. and Daimos. Young parents who watched these cartoons as children defend the series by saying that they grew up all right. Mazinger Z. These include fines ranging from P5.Penalties have been stipulated for violations of these rules. some form of solution may lie in parents. economic. which seeks to regulate the airing of violent animation series on public television. What can be done Parents should watch at least one episode of programs their child watches to know how violent they are. Aren't the harmful effects of violence serious enough to justify some form of regulation? Since legal. Mayo Almario sought for the immediate banning of violent cartoons which include Voltes V. They should explain to the child how violence in entertainment is "faked" and not real. Davao Oriental Representative J. When viewing together. The larger policy questions involving televised violence need to be addressed. Others contend that lawmakers should learn to trust parents regarding what their children can or cannot watch. These three cartoon series were among those banned during the late 70's due to strong protests from nongovernmental organizations.. whether at . and children themselves. they can discuss how the conflict could have been solved without the violence. Some argue that the KBP is incapable of enforcing its rules and that the rules are seen more as a show to convince the public and the government that self-regulation works to forestall any attempt by either congress or NTC to regulate the industry. This measure. expulsion from KBP membership. Self-regulation has been seen as a ploy of broadcasters to protect their interests. to recommendation to the National Telecommunications Commission for suspension of station lease for the fourth offense.Children's programs shall not emphasize perverted sex and undue violence. . . At a recent hearing of the House Committee on Public Information. suspension of KBP privileges. Such interventions. Some view the proposed ban as a "Marcosian edict" which would open the floodgates to censorship. Debates concerning the role of government in implementing policies to control television content continues to rage.
The Kids are Watching can be very effective in stimulating classroom discussions on the impact of TV violence. and then vote accordingly during election day. beliefs. symposia. labeling programs and movies as to their violence content. Several major organizations in the US such as the Center for Media Education. Mediascope. TV panel discussions. Other possible steps which concerned citizens can take include: 1) urge the broadcaster. and the way they are presented in both media forms. characters. 2) make TV violence part of the public health agenda (as with smoking and drunk driving) by means of a vigorous public information campaign on its harmful effects. and that there are other ways than violence to solve real-life problems. Another approach involves working with the industry to introduce changes in the role that advertising plays in supporting children's programming. the power of this same medium can be harnessed to mitigate the negative effects of televised . One such videotape. and home video industries to adopt a unified ratings system of advisories to parents. Parents should also set clear guidelines on the time and length of television viewing. Children can be taught to be more discriminating viewers and can be helped to understand the influence and the effects of television and other media. the inclusion of media literacy courses in school systems can be very effective. At the school level. and the National Telemedia Council are producing materials for parents and community organizations. Co-viewing with children can provide occasions for parents to discuss values. Teachers should point out that real violence actually hurts. Parents can also encourage their children to find pleasure in other mass media. This can be done through letters to the editor. and moral issues. Advertisers can be encouraged to shift (at least in the area of children's programs) from advertising to increase corporate profit to underwriting to enhance corporate image. cable. Center for Media Literacy. has negative consequences.the personal or family level can moderate the impact of violent scenes on children. and events. If television has been able to teach violence. Adult explanation improves children's understanding of plots. They can select books that highlight the themes in programs which children have viewed on television and discuss with them what was the same and what was different. 3) solicit from government officials their views and policies on televised violence. such as books and newspapers. National Alliance for Nonviolent Programming. as well as their feelings and preferences about characters and scenes.
Though researches have all pointed to the association between televised violence and aggression in children. what a child learns from television may be "a product of the broader relationship among medium. responsible parental involvement in the child's television viewing does make a great difference. *This article is abridged from an unpublished paper. The power to initiate change should come from the "market"-. but a market that is critical. and imbued with a strong resolve to protect children's well-being and right to wholesome entertainment. school. Television producers do get pressured to respond to strong public opinion. Quezon City. should be supported and commended. sensitive minds. enlightened. **The author is Chair of the Department on Family Life in Miriam College’s Graduate School. on the other hand. active. Perhaps the most effective approach in dealing with this problem of television violence should be systemic and multilevel---changes must take place at the home. .violence. child. One of the greatest weapons of the consumer is to boycott products sponsoring violent programs and to write manufacturers of the reason for the boycott. and industry levels. Those who sponsor programs with positive. and parent" Thus. wholesome messages. television can be used to solve the problem of violence.not a market that passively laps up unhealthy and disturbing programs that assault young. Just as it has played a major role in public health and environmental awareness.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.