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The Effects Of Multimedia Violence On Culture Are Preventable

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The average child has seen 100,000 acts of violence including 8,000 murders by the time they leave elementary school, according to Daphne White, executive director of the Lion & Lamb Project, a Bethesda, Maryland, organization created in 1995 to reduce violence in the media (Blakey 1). Other researchers have found that video games and movies expose children to similar levels of violence. The internet is also being blamed, with its easy access to information; it is becoming easier to access violence. The effects of violence in American culture seem to be elevating, along with increased aggression, with recent shootings and various other acts of needless bloodshed. We seem to be desperate to lay the brunt of the blame on to something and it seems that violent media may be the scapegoat we are looking for. The effects of violence in the media are apparently negative, especially on young children; however, parents are able to prevent them.

Television has become an integral part of American culture; it is being watched more now than ever, nearly every household has a television, and the shear number of channels available is astounding, it is becoming an evermore profitable market. Television is becoming increasingly violent with representation being seen in everyday life. However, it is not fair to blame TV for everything wrong with society; parents are using the television as a baby-sitter. Children's shows may not be violent, but they leave an opening for more violent shows to take the place of them later on in life. The fact of the matter is violent TV attracts viewers, who then make money for the networks, by buying products advertised by companies who pay millions of dollars to be shown on popular television shows. It may be a fact that children are becoming more violent with the excessive amounts of TV they watch. Parents who substitute television for parenting are reducing the amount of time of real influence in their children's lives and are unable to remind their children that TV is not real and that the actors are just pretending. Children need to be told that if it was real they would not be rewarded, they would be punished. "Children who watch the violent shows, even 'just funny' cartoons, were more likely to hit out at their playmates, argue, disobey class rules, leave tasks unfinished, and were less willing to wait for things than those who watched the nonviolent programs," says Aletha Huston, Ph.D., now at the University of Kansas" (APA 1). These studies do not take into account the amount of parental involvement in the children's lives. Television seems to be taking the blame for several of problems, including increasing levels of violence in daily life.

"Parents can protect children from excessive TV violence in the following ways:

" pay attention to the programs their children are watching and watch some with them

" set limits on the amount of time they spend with the television; consider removing the TV set from the child's bedroom

" point out that although the actor has not actually been hurt or killed, such violence in real life results in pain or death

" refuse to let the children see shows known to be violent, and change the channel or turn off the TV set when offensive material comes on, with an explanation of what is wrong with the program

" disapprove of the violent episodes in front of the children, stressing the belief that such behavior is not the best way to resolve a problem

" to offset peer pressure among friends and classmates, contact other parents and agree to enforce similar rules about the length of time and type of program the children may watch " (AACP 1)

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