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Social Learning Theory and TV Violence

Social Learning Theory and T.V. Violence By: Don-Ray DON-RAY TV Violence on Children Introduction In the United States children watch an average of three to fours hours of television daily (Cantor & Wilson, 1984, p. 28). Television can be a powerful influence in developing value systems and shaping behavior. Unfortunately, much of today's television programming is violent. Studies of the effects of TV violence on children and teenagers have found that children may become insensitive to violence. Consequently, they tend to gradually accept violence as a way to solve problems by imitating the violence they observe on television; and they identify with certain characters, good or bad. Therefore, extensive viewing of television violence by children causes greater aggressiveness (Rosenthal, 1986). Time Spent Watching Television Typically, children begin watching television at a very early age, sometimes as early as six months, and are fervent viewers by the time that they are two or three years old (Murray, 1997). The amount of time that American children spend watching TV is remarkable, an average of four hours a day, 28 hours a week, 2,400 hours a year, nearly 18,000 hours by the time they graduate from high school (Chen, 1994, p.23). In comparison, they spend a mere 13,000 hours in school, from kindergarten through twelfth grade (Chen, 1994). It appears children spend more time watching TV than any other activity. Studies have shown that children, in the hours between school and dinnertime, spend nearly 80 percent of the time watching television (Chen, 1994). Children living in poverty watch even more television than average -- some up to seven hours a day. TV Violence on Children By the time a poor child graduates from high school, he or she may have watched as many as 22,000 hours of TV (Chen, 1994). Bandura, (1973) indicates that sometimes, watching a single violent program can increase aggressiveness. Children who watch television s...

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