A new study has come out about how television affects children. It indicates that children prone to bad behavior are worse when they watch a lot of television. It also says that children who are “fussy” tend to be “fussier.” Is any of this actually news to parents?
Media Mold: In 1998, statistics stated that primetime television showed at least one act of violence in an average hour. That average increased to nearly 4 acts by 2006. A more recent survey states that by the time children turn 18, they will have witnessed over 200,000 acts of violence and 16,000 murders. How can it *not* change them?
1970s Vs. Now: Perhaps it was where I grew up as much as when, but I didn’t have constant access to a television set. When I did watch TV, we had three channels when we were lucky. It didn’t fill our lives. We went outside to play. We played board games in the evenings. We read books. When was the last time everyone sat around the living room reading?
Does it change as we get older? No, I don’t believe the media mold is broken at the magical age of 18. I think it continues to desensitize us to violence…until it touches our lives. The statistics above won’t change unless we change. How could 100,000 acts of violence viewed per decade *not* change us?
What can we do? This is something that has to be changed by us, the parents and grandparents. We don’t need another law to limit what’s on television, we need to limit television. It also might be a good idea to notice who sponsors violent shows and maybe limit them. That vicarious thrill isn’t worth what it is doing to our children and our country.
Lead by example: This is the most important thing we can do as adults. Turn off the television and get to know your family. Break out the Monopoly board. Spend the evening reading and discussing what is being read. Go out and play catch…with sons and daughters. Sit at the dining room table for dinner…sans TV…and ask about how the day went.
Violence begets violence, even if it is “only a television show.” If we want to have better lives and decrease the violence in our country it starts with us. Television matters and not always in a good way. We can make a difference…and it starts with the “off” button on the remote control.