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The Tv Made Me Do It

Essay by review  •  October 29, 2010  •  Essay  •  542 Words (3 Pages)  •  604 Views

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Violence on TV affects how children view themselves, their world, and other people. In fact, experts warn that viewing violence can have lifelong harmful effects on children's health. By the time children complete school, the average child will witness more than 100,000 acts of violence on TV, including 8,000 murders. The more violence children watch on TV, the more likely they may act in aggressive ways, become less sensitive to other's pain and suffering, and be more fearful of the world around them. Since we live in a violent society, we're constantly hearing arguments that seeing TV violence, particularly children, desensitizes us so we accept real violence more easily and maybe it even triggers real violence. The theory behind the TV attacks is always the same: if Bobby commits a crime, he's not responsible and his parents are not responsible: something else is responsible.

The problem in this society isn't the easy availability of drugs, or guns, or television, although all are scapegoted. All of these things simply do only what we have them do. All supposedly scientific studies on the subject of TV violence causing real violence are based on a theory of cause-and-effect that goes against humans having the capability of making responsible, moral choices. So is the media causing the nation to stray away from the "old fashion values"? We are voluntary beings by nature: we chose what we do and what we make of ourselves. For example, you take two brothers from an identical poor environment with a missing father, overworked mother, no money, rotten inner city neighborhood. One brother joins a gang and has committed his first murder within a couple of years. On the other hand, the second brother hides out from the gangs at the public library and learns to read out of boredom. Since he learns how to read he manages to stay in school and takes a fast-food job while attending night college classes.

Comparing two specific instances in isolation tells us nothing. How can you isolate one specific set of television images from the effects of the other available images? Furthermore, how do you go inside the brains of the people doing acts of violence and find out the actual causes, when even asking won't give you a sure answer of why? Studies linking TV violence with real violence try to reduce human behavior to stimulus and effect. It may work with rat psychology, but it doesn't work with human psychology.

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