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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 160259 Find in a Library
Title: Media Violence Should Be Treated as a Public Health Problem (From Violence in the Media, P 130-131, 1995, Carol Wekesser, ed. -- See NCJ-160238)
Author(s): A Disney
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 2
Sponsoring Agency: Greenhaven Press
Farmington Hills, MI 48333-9187
Sale Source: Greenhaven Press
P.O. Box 9187
Farmington Hills, MI 48333-9187
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Public health campaigns that have addressed the hazards of smoking and drunken driving have been effective; a similar campaign should be organized to educate the public about the hazards of media violence.
Abstract: In a single, random day of television programming tracked in Washington, D.C., for "TV Guide," 1,846 individual acts of violence were observed. The study defined violence as "any deliberate act involving physical force or the use of a weapon in an attempt to achieve a goal, further a cause, stop the action of another, act out an angry impulse, defend oneself from attack, secure a material reward, or intimidate others." Of the programming monitored, cartoons were the most violent category, with 471 violent scenes in just one day. Twenty-one percent of all the violence involved a life-threatening assault; 362 scenes involved gunplay. Cable networks averaged three times as much violence as the three major commercial networks. Public education campaigns about dangers that threaten life and health have proven effective with such behavior as smoking and driving while intoxicated. There is no reason why education about the viewing of violent images on television and in movies could not also reduce their impact. It is up to parents to watch what their children are watching, so they can screen out overly violent programs and discuss with their children what the make-believe acts of violence would mean in real life. Children often do not understand the true effects of a violent act. As long as violence increases ratings, it will be difficult to persuade TV producers to reduce it, but through education of viewers and parents who monitor their children's viewing, violence can be viewed as distasteful and inappropriate, thus reducing the demand for its portrayal in the media.
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency prevention
Index Term(s): Media violence; Violence causes; Violence on television; Violence prevention
Note: From "Why Not Treat TV Violence as a Public Health Issue?" TV Guide, August 22-28, 1992.
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