Sex and Violence on Television Term Paper

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Scaflik makes the claim that these types of tactics from networks mean that the network believe that violence is what attracts viewers the most.

Finally, shows such as Law and Order and Dark Shadows manage to show minimal amounts of violence and in inappropriate context, while they ultimately showcase the violence in a de-contextualized manner in the promos (Scaflik 2004). Scaflik points out that this is a serious problem for many different reasons, including the fact that viewers will get the wrong impression from the show and that viewers may also believe that there is a great deal of action and then will later be disappointed when only two or three minimally violent scenes are shown throughout the film or show.

The other problem is that violent promos are often times run during showtimes targeted towards children. Sometimes shows that have absolutely no violence in them at all will use violence in promos to attract viewership (Scaflik 2004). Scaflik uses Dark Shadows as an example of this. The show aired in 1991 on NBC and the network focused primarily on the love interest between the two main characters, however, promos of the show suggested a certain amount of violence in the show. Viewership ultimately declined because these types of promos offended the viewers who wanted to see the violence (and didn't get to) and also the viewers who did not wish to see a violent show and thought that the show would have violence based on the previews (Scaflik 2004)


Sex and violence on television plays a huge role in how children in society act out (Scaflik 2004). Studies show that there is a significant difference in a child's attitude who has watched a great deal of violent films or films with a lot of sexual content (Scaflik 2004). According to Scaflik, there are two ways that parents can prevent children from viewing violence and sex on television: the V-chip and the television rating system. The V-chip is a device that can block the transmission of violent television shows in homes and the television rating system either helps the chip work correctly or the parents to regulate what their children can and can't view. Studies show that children who watch violent television shows are more likely to have violent attitudes and may become withdrawn from family life, as well as become afraid of the world around them (Scaflik 2004).

According to Scaflik, "common sense alone dooms the device to fail." Scaflik was referring to the V-chip. Scaflik points out that it is nearly impossible for anyone to rate nearly 600,000 hours of programming broadcast per year. He also points out that since the V-chip is only offered on new television sets, it could be years before every household has the V-chip in every room with TV, not to mention the difficulty in parents having to choose between appropriate programming for their younger and older children.

Scaflik claims that the industry and the government are looking for a quick fix with the V-chip and with using newer regulations, but he points out that there is violence and sexual content on television for the simple reason that people are watching it and it gets ratings. U.S. News-UCLA did a survey and determined that viewers and ratings pressure are most responsible for encouraging violence on television.


Abelard, (1999-2008), Children and Television Violence, Retrieved from

Cantor, Joanne, and Suzanne Stutman, Victoria Duran, (1996), What Parents Want in a Television Rating System: Results of a National Survey, National Survey Report, Retrieved from

Chandra, Anita, and DrPHa, Steven C. Martino, PhDb, Rebecca L. Collins, PhDc, Marc N. Elliott, PhDc, Sandra H. Berry, MAc, David E. Kanouse, PhDc, Angela Miu, MSc, (October 31, 2008). Does Watching Sex on Television Predict Teen Pregnancy? Findings From a National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. PEDIATRICS, Vol. 122 (No. 5). Retrieved from

Moran, Mark, (July 6, 2007), Govt. Seeks Ways to Reduce Kids' Exposure to TV Violence. Psychiatric News, Vol. 42. (No. 13)(Pg. 5). Retrieved from

Mortimer, Jeff, (June 1996), Chipping Away at Violence, Michigan Today, Retrieved from

Schulenburg, Caroline, (January 2007), Dying to Entertain: Violence on Prime Time Broadcast Television 1998 to 2006, Parents Television Council, Retrieved from

Szaflik, Kevin, 2004, Violence on TV: The Desensitizing…[continue]

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