Do you know what your children are learning by watching television? You may think of the television as an educational device, but what exactly are the educational messages TV sends? Studies show that violence and deviant activities among children are a result of television viewing. According to most social psychologists, aggression among children is a learned behavior. There are many devices that contribute to a child's learning experience and television has proven to be one of them.
Television plays a major role in shaping how children perceive the world. When a child is watching their favorite television program, he/she has a problem differentiating reality from fiction. The child sees his/her favorite TV character involved in dangerous situations without consequences, the child then concludes that their dangerous actions will result without negative effects. For instance, when viewing The Road Runner cartoon, Wyle E. Coyote is repeatedly injured in what reality is considered dangerous acts but never seems to be harmed. During one episode of the show, he may fall off of a cliff, get blown up by a bomb, hit by a car and be involved in various other harmful accidents. Oddly enough, none of these accidents ever seem to hurt Wyle E. Coyote, or stop him from repeating his harmful actions. He shows no pain, never goes to the hospital, nor does he ever receive any attention or affection from those who care about him, his family. Cartoons, such as The Road Runner, that children view are misleading them, in the fact that they to can partake in these dangerous acts and never face serious consequences. The case of the young boy who set his house on fire after watching an episode of the ever so popular, Beavis and Butthead, is a prime example. Children witness their favorite characters, their heroes, involving themselves in dangerous situations but never getting hurt and they wrongly conclude that they too can do something dangerous and not be affected in any negative way.
Should you ban your child from watching television? This is a question that raises a lot of controversy, because not everything on television is harmful for children. When considering this question, it may be helpful to review the study performed by Robinson and Bechman. In their study, they came to the conclusion that the amount of television a child views contributes largely to the amount of aggressive behavior a child portrays. They performed their study by separating nine to thirteen year old children of both sexes into groups, and then they had the different groups of children watch different television episodes. One group watched shows with a high amount of violence, while another group watched shows with little or no violence. Robinson and Bechman then presented different situations to the children and recorded how each child reacted. In one situation, for example, the children were each asked to pretend that they were playing on the swing set and another kid comes along and pushes them off. They were then asked how they would react to this situation. There were two possible ways in which the children could react, either by using verbal or physical aggression or by using non-violent behaviors. Through their study, Robinson and Bechman showed that 45 percent of the children who watched highly violent television chose to handle the situation by using some form of physical or verbal aggressive behavior. Compare this to the 21 percent of the children who watched little or no violent television programs (Murray). Thus, it goes to prove that the more violence a child watches, the more apt they are to behave in an aggressive manor.
Another study was performed to see what effects viewing the popular children's show The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers had. This study showed that a group of children that had watched a televised Power Ranger episode ...