Two of the most important things that the industry is doing now is making sure that all television programs are rated, and using v-chips to keep children from seeing programs that contain violence (Szaflik, 2000). Neither one of these ideas are foolproof, however, and therefore more must be done. Unfortunately, not that many parents and educators are aware of what else can be done to help, and therefore television violence continues to grow. This can also lead to the idea that violence in the real world is increasing and that people are in more danger, regardless of what the actual facts are (Gerbner, 1994).
There are, however, things that parents can do to help their children when it comes to protecting them from excessive violence on television. These include:
Paying attention to what kinds of programs their children are watching and watching some of the programming together
Setting limits on how much time their children spend in front of the television, including not allowing the child to have a television set in their bedroom
Pointing out that the violence that they see on television is not real, and that in real life such actions would result in extreme pain or death
Refusing to let their children watch shows that they know to be violent, or changing the channel or turning off the television set when violent programming comes on, with an explanation as to why that program is not acceptable to watch
Disapproving of violent programming in front of their children, and stressing the belief that violence is not the way that problems should be resolved
Contacting other parents and agreeing to enforce the same or similar rules regarding how much time their children can watch television and what kinds of programs they can watch, to help offset some of the peer pressure that their children may be feeling when their television is limited (Parenthood, 2005).
Naturally, there are other suggestions as well, and this will not stop all children from seeing all violent programming. It is a good start, however, that will help both parents and children keep violence out of their homes. Even though television violence is certainly not the only factor in violent and aggressive behavior by young people and young adults, it is one of the more significant contributing factors (Children, 1999).
Parents should also look at the violence that might be in their child's life in other ways, and work to reduce it, since it all contributes to aggressive behavior. Another way to help children and to deal with the fear angle that was mentioned earlier is to help children learn ways to avoid being victimized. There are various ways to do this, but they can include discussing safe areas of the neighborhood that they can walk and play in, teaching them to walk or play only with at least with one other person, instead of alone, stressing the importance of reporting crimes or emergencies, making sure that they should know what to do if someone approaches them, touches them inappropriately, or otherwise makes them feel uncomfortable, and make sure that they understand never to go with someone that they do not know and trust, and never to open the door for a stranger, regardless of what that person tells them (Raising, 2005).
When parents take the time to work with their children, the schools, and other parents on what their children are watching and how much violence they are actually seeing on television, there is much that can be done to help children grow up in less violent environments. Many parents, however, use the television as a sort of electronic babysitter for their children instead of actually spending time with them and when they do this they often do not pay attention to what the programs that their children are watching are really like.
While many people blame the media for having such violent content, and there is certainly merit to that argument, there should also be blame placed on the parents that simply park their children in front of the television and make no effort to interact with them or to stop and see what they are actually watching and how it may be affecting their behavior. What these children are seeing on television, and the amount of television that they are actually watching, may be influencing them more than their parents realize, and the consequences of this in the future could end up harming more than just those children.
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