What Modern Television Programming Communicates Essay
Since its first appearance in the 1950’s, television has revealed itself to be one of the world’s most influential mediums. Its entrance into the media scene has tossed other mediums, such as the radio and print
media, aside. With at least one television per household in Canada and with the average Canadian watching about 22.6 hours of TV per week, families are absorbing a great deal of television content; which includes the good and the bad. However, with the current selection of television programs, they are more likely to be seeing more of the bad than the good. In addition, kids more likely to spend more time in front of the TV because of their need to be entertained and occupied. This increased exposure of children, coupled with their level of intellect, leaves them far more vulnerable to the influences of television.
A lot of the television programs that specifically target children are permeated with violence. Moreover, the violence is made to seem natural and acceptable; in other words, it’s all in the name of fun and no one will get hurt. Take for example “The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show” with the Roadrunner and the Coyote. The Coyote is forever setting up traps for the Roadrunner which always backfire and send him off a cliff with a boulder close behind or falling victim to his own dynamite traps. Regardless of deadliness of the trick that backfires on the Coyote he still survives to plan yet another attack on the Roadrunner. The contraptions used by the Coyote are endless and so is the violence that results from them.
Furthermore, these shows have a tendency to depict the world as being good versus evil. This depiction is not only dangerous because it is unrealistic, but also because it suggests that the only way to resolve differences with others is with the use of force. For example, the cartoon “X-men” tells the story of mutant humans trying to find their place amongst regular humans. The problem is that some mutants want to wipe out the normal human race, while the X-men are a group of mutants trying to exist as normal people do. In order to protect themselves and normal humans from the evil mutants, they use their special “mutant powers” to engage in an ongoing bitter battle, where the one with most powerful mutant defences comes out victorious. And, hence, the battle between good and evil continues and only the strong will survive.
Unlike mature adults, young children’s ability to pass rational judgement is not yet fully developed; therefore, they are incapable of seeing that, unlike a mere window, television is able change the view it presents. With the use of sound effects, computer enhancements, and other special effect techniques television is able to convey any image it wants to portray. These effects are often used to create grandeur images that incorporate a sense of realism in fictional programs. The effectiveness of these techniques prevents children from being able to distinguish between what is real and what is only the special effects of television.
In addition, the variety of special effects employed by producers downplays the violence, immorality, and deformities in human behaviour—the audience is made to feel empathy for the murderer and is able to justify the immorality of the abused child who murders his parents. For example, music is often used by producers of television programs to elicit a particular type of emotion toward a specific character at a specific time. Music is used to produce feelings of suspense, horror, sadness, joy, mysticism, et cetera. The use of sound and music coupled with other special effect techniques, such as lighting and computer enhancements, greatly add to the intensity of the emotions felt by the viewer. A good example of this are Walt Disney movies, like Snow White, Cindrella, Beauty and the Beast, etc., which tend to use a variety of sounds to elicit horror and sadness in young viewers.
Furthermore, these special effects may add to the adverse effects of television by blurring the line between reality and the imaginative works of producers. For example,
Prove influence of repeated exposure. How does repeated exposure to shows such as the X-men, Bugs Bunny, etc. adversely affect children? Why does this occur—children eager to learn, young minds are like sponges?
Parents are ultimately responsible for monitoring what their children watch. We cannot simply leave it up to film-makers and producers and the rating system to protect our children from TV violence. Although third parties do share in the overall responsibility, there main goal is profit, not the protection of young minds.
It does so in a very subtle and convincing manner. There is obviously great cause for alarming. Children in general seem to be able to absorb much more than adults can. Furthermore, how can such a this paper addresses the fact that children first and foremost are seeing things they should not be seeing. the violence portrays on TV whether it is trough cartoons or movies is definitely not inoffensive. And furthermore, how could such a massive doses of TV fail to have an effect on people?
For most people, television is their window to the world. They believe that the view it offers, is in fact a clear picture of what the real world is.
If we were to borough this expression “the mass media are our window on the world,”
It is with children, though that the subject of violent television becomes more alarming.
Because adults are rational beings, some may be able to perceive the influence of violent acts on Television and in movies and withdrew.
This moves us to formulate that by large, whatever violent programming may do to adults, it can surely do to children. Only more so since the latter are more likely to believe in the fantasy worlds they see on TV.
Kids in general spend more time in front of the TV set than adults.
Also, unlike rational adults, kids and adolescents with their undeveloped minds are simply unable to see that unlike a mere window, television is able to change the view it presents.
However, the film makers and television programmers have ignored this fact.
It is well-taken that television in general can have great impact on its viewers. Watching a coca cola commercial can make one thirsty. Watching a sad movie makes the romantic ones cry.
The story-line respectively casts bad people as robots, while the good people vanquish them with violence. The child learns that justice, reason and effective communication do not achieve success; but the weapon is a tool of power that is necessary to deal with evil.
Teaches children that the world is divided into “goodies” and “baddies.” Also learn that crime is fun and exciting. Violence is the only way to resolve conflicts.
As social critic Michael Novak puts it best: “Television is a moulder of the soul”
The critics have are stills debating whether violent acts committed on television shows including shows and cartons that are geared to children have long lasting effects on children.
In spite of this accumulated evidence, broadcasters and scientists continue to debate the link between the viewing TV violence and children’s aggressive behaviour. Some broadcasters believe that there is not enough evidence to prove that TV violence is harmful.
But scientists who have studied this issue say that there is a link between TV violence and aggression, and in 1992, the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Television and Society published a report that confirms this view. The report, entitled Big World, Small Screen: The Role of Television in American Society, shows that the harmful effects of TV violence do exist.
Ultimately however, it is up to sensible parents to establish the filtering and to act as “gatekeepers” as to what is appropriate or inappropriate for their youngsters to absorb. Actions affecting an individual especially the young mind may have far-reaching implications that we don’t currently understand. Many died of lung cancer causing by heavy smoking before the truth about cigarette was finally known. While the researchers are still slow to admit there is a direct link …effect of TV violence are still the topic TV shows producers and film-makers out of their greed and crave to make profits will continue to throw at us all sorts of violent acts. We simply cannot go back to the good old days where it would be scandalous to show a … the world has gone from bad to worse and will continue to advance in the same direction.
Unlike a mere window that cannot changes the views it present, television is a powerful mean of intense pressure that convinces that convinces the immature mind that violence is an acceptable way of life. Some may still be in doubt that television violence has harmful effects. However, it cannot be an issue with regard to its presence in children programs.
First and foremost, children see things they should not be seeing.
Rather than having Hollywood judge the content of what is appropriate for children to view, parents should be more aware of the situation and put restrictions on what their youngsters are watching.
The V-chip alone cannot solve the problems. I personally think that it is more insulting than anything. It is like saying to people, hey, we have gone to far to do anything about it. Business is good, we are making tones of profits. We are going to continue in the same line. Just like the tobacco companies are looking for a quick fix by promoting healthy smoking, the TV industry is looking for a quick fix by introducing the V-chip.
What factors determine the moral dev. Of a child who moves into adulthood valuing all human beings as equal, respecting the complexities of humans, loving justice, valuing non-violent conflicts. Well over 3000 scientific studies during decades of research have backed up the conclusion that violent TV has negative effects on children and teenagers. Such reputable organizations as the American academy of Paediatrics’, the National Institute of Mental Health all agree that television violence causes aggressive and antisocial Behaviour in children.
Recently we have seen the tragedy of teens killing teens in high schools first in the United States and then here in Canada. These shocking events have necessarily led us to ask how and why such terrible things can happen. The average American child watches 27 hours of television a week just had a very disturbing conversation with my friend and neighbour whose son plays with mine on an almost daily basis. She asked me if I’d noticed my three-year-old acting differently lately and with surprise I answered yes.
My normally sweet, co-operative boy was suddenly stealing chopsticks from my drawers and using them as swords and bows and arrows. He was taking the plastic knob off his playmates’ golf club and using the stick as a sword or holding it up as a gun. He now has an aggressive posture and look on his face.
He fought his teacher yesterday because he didn’t want to put his coat on. He’s been fighting my husband and I on almost everything in the last three weeks and it has been getting worse, though we’ve tried many different discipline techniques.
So what’s been the problem? My friend sat her son down yesterday and told him she was upset with the hitting and general aggressiveness between them when they play lately and asked him why he was hitting my son yesterday. He replied that when the soundtrack for the movie Shrek is on, that’s the behaviour Shrek does, so that’s what the boys do. In shock, I questioned my son and he gave the same answer.
Although we are both finicky moms and watch our children like hawks, read to them often, laugh, hug and love them, feed them healthy food and have a loving family environment as well as having talked to them over and over about how TV is not real – our kids have been acting violently. I believe the movie industry has been touting movies as Family, but in the ones I’ve seen there are what I consider to be swear words, sexual innuendo, bad grammar and violence, violence, violence. As of today, I’m taking Shrek, and any other show I see violence or other inappropriate images in, out of my son’s viewing.
We’ve gotten too slack, too lazy, too helpless, too accepting of Hollywood and the mindless, dysfunctional garbage they hype at us.
We must say no to it, and in large numbers if the media is ever going to understand they will actually make more money if they produce movies and shows that are healthy for children to learn from, that parents feel safe allowing them to see.
5. South Park
South Park is a violent tv show where a group of kids swear when one of their friends die and usually think of disgusting things to end evil. Although it is violent South Park is very funny.
South Park Episode a Sacrilege
An episode of South Park aired June 8 on Global TV which depicts a boy acting as Jesus Christ, hanging on a cross, has been labeled a “vile, unrestrained attack” by the Catholic Civil Rights League and received strong condemnation from American Christian groups. The boy’s friend, whose father has marital problems due to erectile dysfunction, confuses the word “resurrection” (of Jesus Christ) with the word “erection”. The confusion occurs when the two boys meet a priest who tells them that Jesus was crucified, died and was resurrected on the third day. Kyle, thinking that a resurrection is the same thing as an erection, wants to help his father, so he asks a third boy, Cartman, to hang on the cross,
hoping he’ll have an erection once he dies. Rose Dyson, chairperson of Canadians Concerned About Violence in Entertainment, calls the episode “an inexcusable excess in television programming.”
South Park is an outgrowth of the Beavis and Butthead show banned by the CRTC last year in Canada. It is produced by Comedy Central, a joint venture of Time Warner entertainment Company and Viacom International. Dyson says South Park is even coarser and more violent than Beavis and Butthead. “This is a debasement of Christians who take the crucifixion of Jesus seriously, and it is marketed to adolescents. I would put it in the same category as misogyny, anti-Semitism or racism. These are all acts of violence because they harm the offended party through abuse of power”, says Dyson, who is publishing a book later this year about violence in the media.
Dyson says the content of shows geared to adolescents is alarming and often depicts children in the role of enabling adults, rather than the other way around. “The message is given that children must take on far more than they’re emotionally capable of. The pendulum has swung too far the other way of ‘children must be seen and not heard’ to ‘children rule the roost.’”
Thomas Langan, president of the Catholic Civil Rights League, says that attacks on the church by the mainstream media are becoming increasingly outrageous. “These attacks are an obvious attempt by one segment of society to stir up loathing and anger at the church. Christians must take action to awaken society at large to the extreme danger this presents to all Canadians.”
Calls made to Global Television about the episode were not returned.
Rugrats and violence
• Some Russian circus handlers upset several tables as they race outside to chase after a train — which several circus monkeys have commandeered — and that later crashes in a forest.
• Dil repeatedly hits Tommy on the head with a rattle (at first by accident, but then seemingly on purpose) and then with his bottle.
• Stu and Drew get into a brief tussle where Drew ends up pinning Stu to the ground and holding his arm behind him. When Stu exclaims that he’s breaking his arm, Drew says, “That’s because I can’t reach your neck.”
• Spike (the dog) attacks a wolf that’s menacing the kids and the two fall from a bridge presumably into the river below.
Though children watch TV at just about any time (including programs aimed at adults), the UCLA Television Violence Monitoring Project focuses on Saturday-morning children’s television shows.
It is true that people rarely die on Saturday morning TV, but they do fight – a lot. The shows send the message that fighting, if not fun, is at least the norm. It is ironic that adult programming is showing promising signs with respect to violence while children’s shows continue to have serious problems.
The study classifies violence into three categories: Slapstick, Tame Combat Violence and Sinister Combat Violence
This is the classic approach to cartoons as exemplified by Bugs Bunny and The Roadrunner. The violence is not designed to be taken seriously by viewers. Some examples:
1. Addams Family (ABC)
2. Animaniacs (Fox)
3. Beethoven (CBS)
4. The Bugs and Tweety Show (ABC)
Tame Combat Violence
The violence here usually stems from a battle between good and evil. While the tame combat violence is sometimes central to the resolution of the story, it is never the focus. Some examples:
1. Alladin (CBS)
2. Dog City (Fox)
3. Free Willy (ABC)
4. Reboot (ABC)
Sinister Combat Violence
Shows typified by sinister combat violence raise the most concerns because fighting is the main attraction or focus. This is not a new genre, but the dark overtones and unrelenting combat are signs of a growing trend. These shows are mean-spirited and feature violence for the sake of violence. Their message is: fight! The study found eight shows that fell into this category.
1. Batman and Robin (Fox)
2. The X-Men (Fox)
3. Wild C.A.T.S. (CBS)
4. Skeleton Warriors (CBS)
5. Mega Man (Fox)
6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (CBS)
7. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Fox)
8. Super Samurai Syber Squad (ABC)
Series with the most frequent violence:
1. Walker, Texas Ranger (CBS)
Virtually every episode features Chuck Norris in prolonged, graphic scenes of hand-to-hand combat. Of 15 monitored shows, 12 raised concerns.
2. Mantis (Fox)
The intensity of the violence is less than in Walker, but there are far more violent scenes. This is violence for the sake of violence. Mantis raised concerns 12 out of the 17 times it was watched.
3. The X-Files (Fox)
The X-Files always includes several disturbing violent scenes. But the violence is portrayed as evil, and the two protagonists have a strong aversion to violence. The show was examined 34 times and raised concerns 12 times.