English 101 Composition and Rhetoric
Essay 2: Causal Analysis Argument About the Media
Rhonda L. Carter
17 March 2014
ENGL 101-C02 LOU
The debate over the connection between television and aggression in children has been ongoing for many years. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “Extensive research evidence indicates that media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, nightmares, and fear of being harmed (Vol. 124 No. 5 Nov 1, 2009, pg 1495). There seems to be a link between how much and what kind of television children watch, as to the type of behavior is exhibited. Parents need to be aware of what their child views on television and to limit the amount that they watch. Television violence is a common problem that needs a solution to help prevent the growth of violence in children.
On average, studies show that a child will view over 200,000 acts of violence and around 16,000 murders on television by the time they are 18 (Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 1999). These are some staggering results and parents need to be aware of the effects on children. Many parents don’t give a second thought about the programs that children are watching these days. Even some of the so called “child safe” programs show acts of violence in them. Children will emulate what they see on television into their playtime, and all too often they get a little too aggressive. They not only see this violence in the television shows they are watching but also in the video games that we see available for them to play. As a child is exposed to this violence, they will become less sensitive to the effects it has on the victims and to the suffering it causes (Boyse, K. (2010) pg 4).
Many children have a hard time understanding what is real and what fiction is after being exposed to so much violence. In figure 1, one sees a young boy on one side and a Barbie doll on the other with a knife in it all bloody, with the words, “TV made me do it”. The quote that is seen on figure 1 states, “Well over 1000 studies… Point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children” (AACAP, “Media Violence Harms Children.”(Won, J.)).This is becoming all too common among the young children these days. TV teaches them that they can do these evil things and there will be no consequences for their actions. “Children’s overall TV violence viewing and identification with TV characters were positively correlated with their aggressiveness, as was how real they perceived the violent programs to be” (Ledingham, J, Ledingham, C., Richardson (1993) pg 5). It is hard for a child to understand that the violence they are seeing on the television is made up. Younger children want to be the hero they see in their favorite cartoons and get the bad guys, even though they don’t understand that what they are portraying is violent.
There are many suggestions within the research on how a parent can help the child be less aggressive. Most suggestions tend to deal with knowing what the child is watching and being able to talk to them about what they see on television. According to the AAP, “Media education can help kids become less susceptible to the bad effects of watching violent TV” (Boyse, K. (2010) pg 4). Other studies suggest that children be taught to be media savvy and to understand the difference between what is real and what is made up for TV. Research also shows that television in moderation is not a bad thing for children over the age of about 3. Before the age of 3, a child’s brain is growing and should not be filled with the violence that is on television. After the age of 3, a parent can restrict what the child watches and the amount of time they spend watching television. The parent makes the rules for watching TV and they need to stick to the rules in order to help the child become less aggressive.
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References: Senate Committe on the Judiciary. (1999). Children, violence and the media: A report for parents and policy makers.
Boyse, K. (2010). University of Michigan Health System. Retrieved 03 2014, from Your Child: www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/tc,htm
Ledingham, J. E., Ledingham, C. A., & Richardson, J. E. (1993). The Effects of Media Violence on Children. Ottawa: Health Canada.
Strasburger, V. C., Fuld, G. L., Mulligan, D. A., Altmann, T. R., Brown, A., Christakis, D. A., et al. (2009, November 1). Media Violence. American Academy of Pediatrics, 124(5), 1495-1503.
Won, J. (n.d.). TV made me do it.
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