TV violence

There are many parents who don’t monitor or care what their children watch on tv. They allow children to have tv’s in their room. They think as long as the child is staying out of trouble, it doesn’t matter. This is wrong.

Young children have a difficult time telling fact from fiction. Especially today with all the real crime dramas that often mimic events shown on the news. Sometimes, it can even be hard for an adult to tell a short clip of one of these shows from a news clip. Children do not yet have the discretion to tell them apart. As such, they assume it is all real. Yet they do not understand the consequences of real violence are real and permanent.

Children learn by example. If they constantly see violence, they will subconsciously become hardened against it. They will also mimic what they see. If they see violence on a daily basis as an acceptable way for a character to get what they want, that is what they will do too. Just compare the play of groups of children who watch violent tv to those who either don’t watch violent shows or watch no tv at all. There is a marked difference. This difference continues over into adulthood. Only instead of sticks and play guns, it is real clubs and handguns.

This was shown to me today. I brought my children to a park after church. It was one we hadn’t been to before, located in an area of rent subsidized low income housing. I’m not saying that having a low income means you will have violent children, however, they are more often allowed to watch violent tv. The girls wanted to play house. However, their idea of playing house was full of verbal abuse, swear words against the “child” from the “mom”, hitting, and other domestic violence. They thought this was fun. All 4 other girls took turns being the mom and the violent parenting style  was shown by each of them. They may have been acting out home situations, but also may have been imitating what they see on  tv.

If you only show violence, children think this is normal behavior. They don’t know any better. After a few minutes of this, my kids came over and told me it was time to go to another park. My kids who are not exposed to tv or home violence did not think this was fun or normal. They knew it was wrong and didn’t want to be around it.

Being a conservative Christian mom, I also have to consider Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” Video game and TV violence falls short of this standard. Therefore, we should not allow them.

So what can you do to protect your kids against tv violence other than banning tv? Monitor the shows they watch. You don’t have to stay in the room with them all the time, but check them periodically to be sure the show isn’t violent and to make sure they are still watching the show you expect them to be. Explain to the kids why you won’t allow violent shows. Do not allow tv in the kids room. You are less able to monitor what they are watching. Limit the time spent each day watching tv. Finally, have other activities available for them to do if there is nothing without violence on tv so they aren’t watching it anyway out of boredom.

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5 Responses

  1. My guess the girls learned that concept of domestic life from first hand experience not TV.

  2. Supervising and limiting tv time is good for everyone, I rarely watch tv, my husband watches news programming in the evening, my daughter has one show she watches regularly, and my son doesn’t watch much. The main reason we don’t watch is that there is very litte on that interests us. Considering that a huge majority of our population watches tv and grew up watching tv and most are law abiding citizens not prone to violence I think it is hard to blame bad behaviour on tv. Blaming has become a national past time, it is infantile, “the tv made me do it”, is nothing more than a lame excuse to not be accountable for your own behaviour.
    I agree with DeeZone, most likely the children in the park were playing out, probably in an exagerrated form, what they see at home. I am always amused by parents who are shocked when their little one says a cuss word, yet they themselves cuss all of the time, and they always say things like I don’t know where he/she heard that, and usually go on to blame the babysitter or a neighbor child, or the school – always easier to blame others than be accountable for ourselves.
    I don’t think you need to do tons of explaining to reduce tv for kids, pick out a favorite show to watch, or set a small portion of time each day for tv/video time, and leave it at that. The rest of the time is time to do other activities.

  3. Bean,

    TV doesn’t make you do violence. It just numbs you to it. It becomes entertainment. There comes a point when you just don’t care anymore. TV Violence used to be just a few shorts scenes or implied. Now it’s all over the place and sometimes very graphic.

    Yes, parents can be rather hypocritical and naive sometimes toward the behaviors of their kids. It’s easier to blame someone else than realize you should perhaps change your own behaviors. I know a few parents who are guilty of that.

  4. I guess over the years I have watched horror movies, mainly during my high school years, and some violent movies, I don’t watch them anymore, they made me uncomfortable, and I would feel the pain, I don’t think it numbed me to the violence. As far as tv, I guess it depends what you choose to watch, I don’t watch, my family does, they mainly watch news (husband) or reality stuff, (teenagers), none of it is violent, if anything it is non-violent, but generally over-sexed. I think the high emphasis on do what feels good is much more destructive to the values of our society, and has done way more damage to the moral code.
    So in conclusion, the messaging behind a lot of programming is extremely destructive to the soul, so be careful what you watch, because even a drama set in the 1800’s can appear to be good, no violence but the story may be very hedonistic. Does that make sense?

  5. I understand and agree 100%. This is why parents need to actively monitor their child’s tv viewing.

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