a lasting effect





A Lasting Effect
The alarm clock sounds, but this time Jeff wakes up well rested. It is the first day of summer vacation, and that means he can watch all of his favorite day time television shows with no interruptions. Grabbing a big bowl of his favorite cereal he settles on the couch for what is to be a very eventful day in the world of soap opera heaven. As he gets comfortable little does Jeff know the effect his television watching will have on him.
Since the 1920’s the television has been an integral part of the lives of Americans. When the television was invented, it was designed as a means of dispersing information to the general public. The problem is not just television shows per se, or the Nintendo or internet, but it’s the build up of recent years of electronic substitutes for the home life, along with television and it’s advertisements (Shapiro, 56 ). As the television became a popular household item, television programmers changed their focus from educating to entertaining. This change resulted in an increase in the number of viewers. Over the last ten years, broadcasters have become more lenient when it comes to the regulation of aired material. Television broadcasts many shows aided primarily at adults during the time when children are the prospective viewers. Unfortunately, children are being exposed to it are experiencing drastic effects on their development. THESIS: It is evident that television not only promotes aggressive behavior, but also encourages passive rather than acting viewing which leads to obesity as well as racial and sexual stereotyping.
Violence is any cruel and obstructing act done to harm another person. In America, the average child watches television between two and five o’clock in the afternoon. During this slot, there is an average of 138 murders and 175 stabbings or individual attacks on a person shown on television (Signorelli, 127). Most television shows provide violence with the hope to increase their ratings. By showing a lot of violence, broadcasters send a message to children that violence is an acceptable way of dealing with a difficult or trivial situation. The use of violence is often justified by the acts of another who seemingly ask for it. Another issue brought on by the display of violence is the fantasy world that is portrayed (Leung, 910). In an hour show, a person could be beat up by three people and could return after a commercial break without any bruises, but be filled with an instinct to get revenge. Television does not depict a realistic world when it comes to violence. Television often gives the impression that the villain or the person creating a problem is the “bad guy” and the person who is using violence to save the day is the “good guy”. Therefore, the message is sent to the child that violence is acceptable if used to regulate another person’s behavior. After watching a show which contains violence, children of often try to replicate what had taken place (Voort, 1986 ). In a study by Gunter (1991), children will most likely view a show that is closely related to a world that they envision. Therefore a perfect world for a child is one which the “bad guy” hurts someone and the “good guy” saves the day by killing or destroying the villain. Gunter (1991) also found out that children are often in control of what they are watching. Neither mother or father are monitoring what is being seen. Therefore the child does not have a basic understanding of what is happening and does not know what other outlets could have been used instead of violence (Gunter, 1991). Violence is not only observed during adult programming, cartoons often depict violence. On “The Tom and Jerry Show”, for example, the two spend the entire show trying to annihilate each other by using traps, guns, and common kitchen items. There is a direct correlation between violence on television and post-traumatic stress disorder. This is experienced when a child has witnessed a traumatic event on television. The child exhibits sleep disturbances, nightmares, loss of appetite, depressed mood, and irritability (Leung, 912). Although measures have been taken to reduce the amount of violence viewed, opponents feel that it is