Impact of Television Violence In Relation To Juvenile DelinquencyWhen children are taught how to tie their shoes, it is because of howtheir parents showed them. When children are taught how to do math problems itis because how their teachers show them. With all of the role models how doestelevision effect our children?Many adults feel that because they watched television when they wereyoung and they have not been negatively affected then their children should notbe affected as well. What we must first realize is that television today isdifferent than television of the past, violence is more prevalent in todaysprogramming unlike the true family programming of the past.
EFFECTS OF TELEVISION – THE BEGINNINGQuestions about the effects of television violence have been aroundsince the beginning of television. The first mention of a concern abouttelevision’s effects upon our children can be found in many Congressionalhearings as early as the 1950s. For example, the United States Senate Committeeon Juvenile Delinquency held a series of hearings during 1954-55 on the impactof television programs on juvenile crime. These hearings were only the beginningof continuing congressional investigations by this committee and others from the1950s to the present.In addition to the congressional hearings begun in the 1950s, there aremany reports that have been written which include: National Commission on theCauses and Prevention of Violence (Baker ; Ball, 1969); Surgeon General’sScientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behavior (1972); thereport on children and television drama by the Group for the Advancement ofPsychiatry (1982); National Institute of Mental Health, Television and BehaviorReport (NIMH, 1982; Pearl, Bouthilet, & Lazar, 1982); National Research Council(1993), violence report; and reports from the American PsychologicalAssociation’s “Task Force on Television and Society” (Huston, et al., 1992) and”Commission on Violence and Youth” (American Psychological Association, 1992;Donnerstein, Slaby, ; Eron, 1992).
All of these reports agree with each otherabout the harmful effects of television violence in relation to the behavior ofchildren, youth, and adults who view violent programming.The only thing that we know about the effects of exposure to violenceand the relationship towards juvenile delinquency we gather from correlational,experimental and field studies that demonstrate the effects of this viewing onthe attitudes and behavior of children and adults.Children begin watching television at a very early age, sometimes asearly as six months, and are intense viewers by the time that they are two orthree years old.
In most cases the amount of televised viewing becomes greaterwith age and then tapers off during adolescence. ). The violence that is viewedis more important than the amount of television that is viewed. According toaudience rating surveys, the typical American household has the television seton for more than seven hours each day and children age 2 to 11 spend an averageof 28 hours per week viewing. (Andreasen, 1990; Condry, 1989; Liebert ; Sprafkin,1988)The most important documentation of the amount of violence viewed bychildren on television are the studies conducted by Gerbner and his colleagueson the nature of American television programs.
The results of these yearlyanalyses of the amount of violence on American television for the 22-year period1967-89 indicate a steady but growing high level of violence. (Gerbner ;Signorielli, 1990)Programs especially designed for children, such as cartoonsare the most violent of all programming. How many times have we all seen theCoyote try to kill the RoadRunner? GI Joe and many other programs also representviolence and the use of deadly weapons.
Overall, the levels of violence in prime-time programming have averagedabout five acts per hour and children’s Saturday morning programs have averagedabout 20 to 25 violent acts per hour. (Lichter & Amundson, 1992) However arecent survey by the Center for Media and Public Affairs identified 1,846violent scenes broadcast and cablecast between 6 a.m. to midnight during one dayin Washington, D.C. The most violent periods were between 6 to 9 a.
m. with 497violent scenes (165.7 per hour) and between 2 to 5 p.m. with 609 violent scenes(203 per hour). (Lichter & Amundson, 1992)Most of this violence is shownduring hours that are not generally viewed by the adults therefore violence inthe early morning and afternoon is viewed by children and youth.CORRELATIONAL EXPERIMENTSWhat are the effects of this televised violence on our children?