Television nowadays contains violent, sexual and other themes that may not be appropriate for children, it feeds their illusions of a perfect world or leads some of them to desperation for not having the luxury shown on TV. Should children watch these inadequate shows or should parents forbid this? Are they educational or irrational? Are they teaching our children the benefits and dangers of life or simply ways to waste it? Is television today harming or helping our children?
All the Yes points:
- Watching adult content can make children susceptible to commiting violent or sexually inappropriate acts
- Violent or sexual programming has no intrinsic worth beyond the entertainment it provides. Even if the harms are small, why should we accept them?
All the No points:
- Any legislation would be impossible to enforce
- banning wouldn’t stop people viewing them
- Viewing antisocial behaviour may not necessarily lead to its being assimilated, it may in fact cause revulsion
Watching adult content can make children susceptible to commiting violent or sexually inappropriate acts
In a study done carried out by Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute in 2002 children who watched between one and three hours of children’s television programmes each week had a higher chance of growing up to commit violent acts than those who watched less than an hour of childrens TV a day[[ BBC Online News “Talking Point can watching childrenhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/1900498.stm]]. Now although this study is based on children’s television it raises questions as to what adult content a child should watch. Already we get reports of violent attacks by children and sexual assualts on children by children being exposed to things at a younger age than they should have been.
Television might feed their illusions and ambitions but it is indisputably a great source of information and contains not only violent but educational themes as well.Parents who are not capable of directing their children on the right life path cannot blame television because it can only be a part of the problem but never the problem itself.Parents need to make peace with the idea that their children will always be under certain outer influence and will always have many voices telling them and influencing them to do different than what they are taught but the parents
voice always needs to be the loudest and the strongest.And if we were not to watch every TV show which contains violence than we shouldnt watch the news either.
It is better that children start being exposed to adult themes before they’re completely independent so that their parents or other support networks can help them interpret and make sense of what they’re seeing. Preventing children from encountering these themes attempts to protect them until the age of majority, then throws them in the deep end. One does not magically gain the ability to deal with mature themes on a certain day, it is developed over time like other aspects of one’s personality and parental involvement in this process will, in most cases, assist children in developing their ability to cope with the adult world.
There is also another element that contributes to this disscusion which must be added. In todays society most, if not all adults think that they in public maintain a sort of facade if you will and wont ever deviate from what is commonly accepted by society. One such case that difinatively proves this is the famous play, Antigone by plato which explores the psychology of the human mind when faced with an ethical dilemma, should he obey and follow what he is told and kill the man or should he disobey the authourity and refuse to do as such and save his life. By now i would expect almost all of you would have chosen to refuse allow a man to be killed, but the surprising thing is that when faced with such a decision in real life we are not as quick, as demonstrated by a simple experiment where there is a teacher, an assistant and a learner. Both the teacher and the learner are actors, while the assistant is an ordinary person. The teacher tells the assistant to read out the words and if the learner doesnt recite them he or she flips a switch which will administer the student an electric shock. The teacher will never come in contact with neither the assistant nor the learner during the duration of the experiment, and the learner will indicate that he is in pain when he “recieves” an electric shock at increacing levels of intensity. The results of this experiment were extremely surprising. 60% of participents were fully obedient to the teacher and administered the highest shock on the board. This is the difference between what people think when they are presented with a situation and what they do in that situation. The assistant could have stopped participating in the experiment at anytime of their own free will. It also concluded that most of the assistants were more worried about the legal compications after the experiment after which the teacher assured them he or she would take full responsibility the assistant continued administering shocks. This diffinatively proves that people are much more concerned with their public face than ethical or moral correctness. this translates into more than the majority of people instantly concluding, without contemplation of the real world nor what the world would be if this were put in place.
Another point that is more than present in most of society is bias. It is the mind of a person who really seeks the truth to look upon the world in the third person completely free from bias and solely on the facts, and from this ideas evolve. The main bias present is religeon. Christianity teaches people that both violence and sex are sin and thus forth negative. this bias runs deep in many western societies which hold these beliefs so deeply to heart they escalate the problem to the point at which a relatively simple thing becomes a gigantic waste of time for the national court system. There are also those who worship so blindly they become hypocrits and they themselves commit violence. A similar problem is the hypocracy exhibited by people worship so blindly they cannot and will not see their own sins. These are all issues that are bought around by bias and can be resolved by thinking in the third person which allows a free mind.
There is also the steriotype that adults are older and thus smarter. This is pure ignorence and to the greatest extent patronizing I have once had a teacher who patronized me and verbally abused me till in court i displayed my intellect and successfully sued her. She lost her job from the department of education and was banned from teaching till after an anger management course, after which she found a job at a public school where she was shanked to death by one of her students. this without a doubt proves that these antiquated notions are strangling society from ever flourishing.
Violent or sexual programming has no intrinsic worth beyond the entertainment it provides. Even if the harms are small, why should we accept them?
With very few exceptions, the media that would be most commonly affected by such a ban exists solely for entertainment’s sake and for the profit that can be made by its distribution. There are lots of non-violent or age-appropriate ways to entertain children. Even if we agree that research has demonstrated only moderate or uncertain harm from exposure to such media, what is the harm in preventing it from being seen by children? Rights, even fundamental ones like free speech, are not absolute; they are measured on a criteria of social harms and benefits. This is why, despite my right to free speech, I can’t shout fire in a crowded theatre or talk about bombs in an airport. There is an overwhelming public safety interest in preventing some harmful forms of speech and preventing these particular types of expression does not greatly harm me.
In the case of children’s programming, preventing a few “bad apples” from becoming violent after exposure to inappropriate media represents a significant social benefit and the only harm is that adults are slightly inconvenience by having to show ID from time to time.
Any legislation would be impossible to enforce
Legal restrictions would be nearly impossible to enforce in the way that same trying to restrict what children watch on DVD’s is. Currently the law prohibits children from buying DVD’s and video shops from selling and renting them. This may have an effect in that it stops children unless they use fake ID from renting or buying DVD’s that may be too violent or sexually explicit etc. However its a wide net as adults can and do rent DVD’s ostensibly for their use but which is really for their child’s use. Restricting what a person watched on their TV would be more impossible given that parental controls can only be put on by parents and not children.
100% enforcement may be impossible, but bans can reduce the frequency of exposure. Much of the effect of violence or sex on childhood development takes the form of desensitization to such acts, thereby lowering the normal psychological barriers that prevent people from engaging in similar behavior. Desensitization is caused by repeated exposure, so it makes sense that reducing the frequency of exposure, even if it cannot be reduced to zero, might reduce some of the social harms. It seems perfectly clear that in the absence of the bans imposed by most countries, children would probably see a lost more sex and violence than they do currently. More effective age validation software on the internet, coupled with current enforcement efforts at movie theatres and other media outlets can significantly mitigate the harms.
Moreover, the inability to enforce laws does not mean we should give up in our attempts. No law is enforced 100%, does our failure there mean we should give up on drunk driving or murder? If partial enforcement can bring a partial return, then principles of harm reduction encourage us to make our best attempt.
banning wouldn’t stop people viewing them
children technically aren’t supposed to watch programmes after the watershed anyway. this makes them more likely to want to – it makes the programmes look cool and exciting. kids sneak into films over their age limit all the time and sneak downstairs to watch the TV when their parents have gone to bed. if the adults just sat down with them in front of some of the programmes that weren’t too bad, explained to them about what kind of things are on adult programmes, which they should trust, which are informative etc. they wouldn’t be like the forbidden fruit. the other side to the coin is that children’s programmes should actually be interesting and not patronising – children’s news should contain actual relevant news, not dumbed down too much, not biased.
Not All programs with explicit content ARE educational. Tasteful nudity or swearing is not banned even for children( watch National geographic or discovery science). These bans act as warnings and work well with responsible parents and children. Children KNOW that this is bad and if they choose to see it, great. BUT if there were no such bans or warnings , unwilling children would unwittingly stumble upon content that just serves cheap thrills. Removing restrictions, would be unfair to the many children who respect them and whom they protect.
Viewing antisocial behaviour may not necessarily lead to its being assimilated, it may in fact cause revulsion
Whilst it may be argued that merely seeing and knowing the existence of a type of antisocial behaviour may inure us to its being committed, it may also forearm us against such behaviour and even lead to revulsion and the resolution not to immitate what we see. The responsibility lies with how the programme maker is seen to reward or punish the good or bad behaviour that that depict
The revulsion mentioned in the opposing argument is predicated on the viewer of revolting possessing full, rational agency. The argument is an application of Mill’s “Marketplace of Ideas” concept, in which rational agents will, more often than not, reject negative or harmful ones. Children do not possess the mental faculties to make these kinds of decisions. This is why they’re not allowed to drive or own guns either.
While the research on the subject is mixed, it generally agrees that exposure to violence will cause some children (usually those already at risk of antisocial behavior) to mimic violent or inappropriate actions and lowers psychological barriers against such action in the future.
Not all young people exposed to violent/’adult’ material are influenced. The amount that young people are influenced by environment(media) is different in every individual. It is not the responisiblity of the media companies to tone down or limit ‘adult’ material, but the responsibility of parents to decide or control what they allow their children to be exposed to.
I, personally, don’t find myself influenced to steal cars or kill people in real life after playing ‘Grand Theft Auto’. Aswell, I don’t feel compelled to take drugs after watching ‘Skins’.
The problem with violent or sexual material being viewed by children is not that they necessarily lead to “anti-social” behaviors but that they are having an affect on society as a whole. Younger and younger children are viewing what some deem inappropriate materials and are coming out on the otherside completely desensitized to human suffering. As a society we may not have such a problem with someone in America not caring about someone in Iraq because of proximity issues, but what about when dozens of people walk past a rape victim without offering help? Violence and sex are pushed on us to normalize the behavior and cause us to not think critically about the human circumstance. Ultimately though, the push to change any of this has to come from consumers as we live in a consumerist society. This of course, is only possible when parents jump on board and stop letting their children decide what they want to watch.