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When children are taught how to tie their shoes, it is because of how
their parents showed them. When children are taught how to do math problems it
is because how their teachers show them. With all of the role models how does
television affect our children?
Many adults feel that because they watched television when they were
young and they have not been negatively affected then their children should not
be affected as well. What we must first realize is that television today is
different than television of the past, violence is more prevalent in todays
programming unlike the true family programming of the past.
EFFECTS OF TELEVISION – THE BEGINNING
Questions about the effects of television violence have been around
since the beginning of television. The first mention of a concern about
television’s effects upon our children can be found in many Congressional
hearings as early as the 1950s. For example, the United States Senate Committee
on Juvenile Delinquency held a series of hearings during 1954-55 on the impact
of television programs on juvenile crime. These hearings were only the beginning
of continuing congressional investigations by this committee and others from the
1950s to the present.
In addition to the congressional hearings begun in the 1950s, there are
many reports that have been written which include: National Commission on the
Causes and Prevention of Violence (Baker & Ball, 1969); Surgeon General’s
Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behavior (1972); the
report on children and television drama by the Group for the Advancement of
Psychiatry (1982); National Institute of Mental Health, Television and Behavior
Report (NIMH, 1982; Pearl, Bouthilet, & Lazar, 1982); National Research Council
(1993), violence report; and reports from the American Psychological
Association’s “Task Force on Television and Society” (Huston, et al., 1992) and
“Commission on Violence and Youth” (American Psychological Association, 1992;
Donnerstein, Slaby, & Eron, 1992). All of these reports agree with each other
about the harmful effects of television violence in relation to the behavior of
children, youth, and adults who view violent programming.