Challenger Essay

This essay has a total of 771 words and 4 pages.


Children and adolescents in the United States are exposed to violence in increasing
numbers each year. This may seem like an obvious statement, but consider the following:
The average child watches 21 to 23 hours of TV per week. This means that by the time this
child reaches age 70, he will have spent 7 to 10 years in front of the television. And
with regular Saturday morning children's television containing about 20 to 25 acts of
violence per hour, it is no wonder the average person has viewed around 200,000 acts of
violence by the time he reaches 18 years of age. And while tragedies such as Columbine
cannot be explained simply by blaming media violence, it currently appears to be one of
the most easily correctable contributing factors.

The entertainment industry has maintained a stance that there is no link between media and
real-life violence. And yet, scientific studies that number in the hundreds have concluded
that there is not only a direct connection, but children repeatedly exposed to this type
of violence lose the ability to discriminate between real-life and entertainment violence
and tend to accept violence as an acceptable way to resolve even complex problems.

The solution to this problem is a bit complex due to the multiple parties involved. Health
care providers need to inform their patients and the public about the real effects these
media messages send. The entertainment industry should improve their product by spending
more time depicting the consequences of violent actions. And the government could take a
more responsible role in regulating the industry. However, in a market economy, money
talks, so it is the parents that must take the biggest role by being the watchdogs over
what their children view on TV. If there is no interest in violent programming, the
industry will change its focus. Just as good nutrition habits begin in the early years, so
do media habits. So, here are some helpful hints to make your child more "media savvy."

Avoid television for children under two years of age. Current research on early brain
development suggests that babies and toddlers have a critical need for direct interaction
with parents and other caregivers in order to allow for appropriate development of social,
cognitive, and emotional skills.

Set limits and be actively involved. The first step is to know what your children are
watching and encourage them to ask questions. Children develop attitudes about violence at
a very young age, and these tend to last. By challenging your child with questions about
how they feel about what they watch, you might be surprised at their enthusiasm of having
a dialogue with you about the programming. Choose TV watching times in advance. This helps
set limits on the endless viewing. In addition, it takes away the parental temptation to
use the TV as a baby-sitter.

Keep the TV, VCR, video games and computers out of the child's room. If the parent can see
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