Sex And Violence In Media Sex and violence in the Electronic media is a pressing topic. This paper raises a number of pros and cons. But mainly, this paper deals with the cons of regulating the media. During research, the most pressing point found was the issue of censorship. Censorship is the keystone of the public’s apparent outcry against the electronic media. To better understand censorship, the term must be defined.
In Webster’s New World Dictionary, censorship is defined as the act of removing or prohibiting anything that is considered obscene or libelous or politically objectionable. Even though there are millions and millions of viewers in the United States that watch the three main networks can and should the networks be responsible for what they put on the air? Yes, they really should have some sort of morals as to the nature of the content and at what time the program airs as well. By the time the average American child has reached the end of Elementary school, he will have witnessed at least 8,000 murderers and 100,000 acts of violence. Now, do you think that children at a vulnerable age should be exposed to that many violent acts? How do you think that it will affect the child’s behavior and mental growth? In a 1970, study at Pennsylvania State University, psychologist Aletha Huston showed cartoons of fists fighting superheros to one group of four year old and nonviolent cartoons to another group. The children of the study were comprised of children that were aggressive in nature.
The study found that the group that was shone the violent cartoons were more apt to hit and throw things after the – 3 – viewing. While the kids who watched the nonviolent cartoons remained relatively calm and docile. It was concluded that children that watch violent cartoons are more apt to commit crimes when they are adults, such as spousal abuse and drunk driving, according to Leonard Eron a psychologist at University Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. Children might think it is okay to rob a bank, shoot someone or commit other violent crimes against another person. Also as the child grows older, he begins to believe that revenge through violence, as demonstrated on such shows as New York Undercover and NYPD Blue where people get revenge by breaking other peoples’ noses, shooting them or committing hit and runs, is okay.
In other words, a false impression of reality is formed for children. We have found out that cartoons are the most violent programming found to date in television today. Between the ages of two and twelve, the average amount of television watched is approximately 25 hours per week. Most of these 25 hours are comprised of cartoons. Cartoons like Tom and Jerry, where they both get hurt or blown up, and never die and always get back together, without a scratch.
Again, this promotes a false sense of reality. Nowadays, there are products out, such as the V box’. This box is programmable by a parent to block out certain channels at certain times so that the child will not be exposed to violence on television at certain times of the day. On the other hand, networks should not be responsible for what they air. What – 4 – they are doing is catering to what the public wants.
In their business, the network with the highest ratings wins. Which in turn means more capital for the network. Why would a parent use television as both a babysitter and a educational outlet? Television is for entertainment purposes only. Much of the information from today’s television programming is purely fictional. And if people decide to imitate what they see on television, then so be it. Everyone in this society has the right to either lay down in the middle of a highway and die or not to and live a happy and prosperous life as demonstrated after teenager saw the movie The Program.
As we all know, this was a real incident that occurred right here in Nassau County. A network can not be responsible for the actions of over 250 million people in the United States. Why should it be the responsibility of the network to change all of its programming because one person decided to do a stupid act. Because of this, CBS had to change its format and it pretty much cut out all of the violent programming. Now, CBS is ranked number three, which in turn means they are getting less ratings, which also means that they get less money.
According to a survey conducted by Aletha Huston in 1970, she stated that all violent nature from children is linked to television. But a major flaw was found. Leonard Eron of University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research stated that, no one is saying that all violence is inspired by television and not all homes have a moral compass. As long as there are individuals that want networks to be responsible, should networks also restrict what they put on the air? – 5 – Long ago jurists decided free speech did not protect the right to shout fire in a crowded theater. A small child could mistakenly turn on the television and watch shows such as MTV’s Beavis and Butthead and imitate what they see.
One perfect example is after watching Beavis and Butthead, Austin Meissner, a five year old, decided to take a lighter from his mother’s dresser and decided to set his house on fire. By doing this, he unwittingly killed his sister, who was only two. Austin’s mother demanded that the show be taken off the air. After watching these shows most young children cannot discern what is real and what is make believe and start to imitate what they have seen. Doctor Prothrow-Stith of Harvard School of Public health stated that I’ve come to see that more and more we use the media to teach children that violence is a way of life.
We also present violence not just as a natural thing, as funny and entertaining. Children begin to learn this lesson from their first cartoons and superheros, before moving on to the high tech violence of action movies for adults. By the time they are teenager using violence to resolve conflict seems very natural to them. Also Steven Bochco, creator of NYPD Blue’ stated that When I was little, I went to the movies every week and saw violent cartoons and two or three Westerns in which the entire Sioux nation was massacred by the cavalry. I never had a question that what I was watching was make believe, because I was raised by a family that gave me a moral – 6 – If a person does not like what they see on cable or a network station, they have the right to turn off the television or change the channel.
Thus the miracle of modern technology comes into play. People, when they order cable channels such as HBO, Playboy and other premium channels know from the get go what they are getting into. Now, if they already know what they are getting into why should there be restrictions on cable television. You now the responsibilities before you order. Like Playboy, it is an added extra and there should be no monitoring what so ever.
Hence restrictions would – 7 – violate the first amendment. Another way the First Amendment is violated is when the government tells broadcasters how much educational television programs they should produce and what time slots they should use for such programs. Jeff Baumann, the general counsel for the National Association of Broadcasters that, It takes away the discretion of the broa …