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Does Violence On Tv And Films Influence Children's Behaviour?

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The violence that is portrayed on televisions and in films, its impact on the lives of children is fast becoming inexorable. The use of force amongst a number of children and perhaps adolescents currently is as a result of early exposure to violence on television programmes and films. Violence represents a form of electronic child abuse which we must have the courage to regulate and resist (Gunter, Harrison and Wykes 2009). This essay will deliberate on the negative effects of exposure to violence on television and in films, and how they can influence the actions of children.

Violence may be define as "an overt expression of physical force against self or other, compelling action against ones will on pain of being hurt or killed, or actually hurting or killing", writes Gunter and McAleer (1990:94). Consequently, violence though is part of human being but the height of which they make use of it varies depending on the type of activity they frequently engage on.

Human beings in general apparently get addicted and behave more like what they do always as children are not left out. Barry (1997:3) believes that 'visual communication dominates most area of our lives. As sleeping becomes the only activity that occupies children more than watching a television screen, we must become more sensitive to how images shape the fabric of our lives'. This means that majority of them spend more time watching television shows and films. Therefore, they will not only spend more time watching television daily, but also will get more addicted to it and likely want to express what they see while watching television programmes.

According to Gunter and McAleer (1997:98) an American Surgeon General's report in 1972 and National Institute of Mental Health review in 1982, their findings concluded that frequent exposure to television violence plays a sizeable role in the causes of aggressive behavioural problems in the life of children. This also implies that science has long ago proven the negative effect on children in television and in films. Then again, with the increase of television shows over the years and also the violent scenes that they portrays to grasp viewers' attention, children will probably see additional violence daily and become more aggressive.

The negative impressions that television impacts on children sometimes needs no scientific research to prove Freedman (2002) says that life experience has shown connections involving children who after watching television programme tend to practice what they have seen in the physical and in the process can hurt themselves or others. He also talked about two significant incidents that ruined life and property in America involving children after watching a television programme.

On October 14th 1992 several titles of newspaper articles in America read 'boy lights fire that kills sister'. This was as a result of a television programme that Tommy Jones (not his real name) an eight-year-old boy, watched two days earlier before the incident occurred. He set a fire that burned down the trailer where he and his family used to live. His baby sister was trapped inside and was burned to dearth at that moment. Another occasion was in February 1993 where two ten-year-old boys murdered a boy that was about to turn three in England, and they were sent to jail. Therefore, it can be argued that a child that watches violent television shows tend to think that this type of violence is normal behaviour or a norm, these thoughts are often said to be difficult to change in their future. For the males, they tend to become aggressive to their wives, and the females have a propensity to throw things at their husbands.

Equally, majority of children have the ability or stimuli to learn very fast, and most likely to be influenced by the things they see around them. In essence, they are more vulnerable to aggressive behaviour if they are exposed and addicted to violence television programmes. There are four main causes of violent effects on children while viewing television programmes (Media watchout-Uk 2010).

The first of these effects is arousal. Potter (1999:134) points out that arousal is a key element in explaining aggressive effects in television because it causes arousal of emotions and also that it can be transferred from a particular activity seen in a film or a television programme to another activity. Consequently, children that are exposed to violent television programmes may have the tendency of becoming aggressive and can pass on the aggressiveness from one activity to another. Likewise it can change their perspective of how they tend to handle issues as he/she is growing grown-up.

The second effect is disinhibition. The oxford dictionary defines inhibition as 'a



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