While watching television or movies have you ever stopped and paid attention to how much violence is shown in them? In 1996, 57 percent of TV programs contained violence. Premium movie channels such as Time Warner’s HBO and Viacom’s Showtime have the highest levels of violent content at 85 percent and in today’s age violence in media is only increasing. Shocked yet?
The typical preschool aged child is exposed to 10,000 violent incidents when watching cartoons for about two hours per day, 500 of those 10,000 are at high risk of modeling aggressive attitudes and behaviors. Children idealize celebrities that they see on TV, if they see those characters committing violent acts what’s to say that they themselves won’t commit violence?
Studies that have been done have shown support to the position that media violence leads to aggression or desensitization toward violence and lack of sympathy for victims of violence, particularly in children. The only thing missing is a direct link between TV or movie violence on committing extreme violence.
As a community, we should strive to identify risk factors for violence and find how they interact, who they affect, and what would reduce modifiable risk factors. An argument to be made is the fact that if we decide to regulate violence in TV shows and movies we will be infringing on the director’s freedom of speech. But if this change would help with public safety and the betterment of our children, would you make it?