Television Violence and Children – How to Tame the Media Beast

September 24, 2016

Children TV

Television is so much a part of our lives we need to be concerned about its effect on our children. The problem is that violence in verbal and physical form appears on screen daily.

Do you know that there are
a) 6 violent acts per hour on prime time television
b) 6 violent acts per hour on children’s programs
c) 50,000 TV commercials exposed to children per year?

Studies show that violence in media does have an impact on children and adolescent behavior. Daily viewing of television in childhood can lead to behavior and social problems.

What can you as parents do about this situation?

1. Monitor very closely what your children watch on TV. Even cartoons like Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers are filled with violent acts.

2. If possible, watch TV with your children and talk with them about what they have seen. Young children are often unable to separate reality from TV shows. Have a discussion with your child about what is real or not real on TV.

3. Encourage your children to look at ways TV characters handle problems. How do they resolve disagreements or issues? Do they use violence or verbal abuse? Are there different solutions other than violence?

4. If your older children have watched a PG rated movie with episodes of violence, ask them if the show or film would still be intact without the violent episodes. Does the violence enhance or detract from the film? This is one way you can help your children become savvy consumers of media.

5. Cartoons often have episodes of violence. We need to ensure that children are aware that there is a huge gulf between what happens in cartoons and what happens in real life. Help your children understand that risky actions (like jumping from a roof) would produce painful and dangerous consequences in real life. Watch your children’s reaction after watching certain cartoons. If they start acting out, that is a strong indication that those shows should be off limits until they are able to discern the difference between cartoon characters and real life.

6. Turn of the TV. Allow your children once in a while to watch approved movies without commercials or violence. The media beast can be tamed if we make television an occasional treat. There are plenty of alternatives available. How about creative play with puppets? Children can make their own shows with puppets and props. Reasonably priced and sturdy camcorders are also available for children to record their own shows.

Positive communication with our children can help them negotiate their way through a media world that is becoming treacherous and slippery.

Bianca Tora is a writer interested in the relationship between lifestyle and the brain, specifically the area of emotional regulation and control. She has published a book on anger management for children. Visit her at http://www.help-your-child-with-anger.com

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