TV Violence Needs To Be Taken Seriously
- TV violence can, and does, lead to real-life violence.
- You can reduce your child’s exposure to TV violence.
- Limit TV use to no more than 1 or 2 hours per day.
Television teaches children the wrong things about violence. Adults know that real violence causes pain and sadness. But TV violence is often painless and sometimes funny.
FACT: By watching 3 to 4 hours of non-educational TV per day, children will have seen about 8,000 murders on TV by the time they finish elementary school!
FACT: TV characters often try to use violence to solve problems. Children need to learn how to solve problems in a nonviolent way.
FACT: Young children think cartoons are real, and many cartoons use larger-than-life violence just to keep children’s interest.
Just like children learn from fathers and mothers, and sisters and brothers, they also learn both good and bad habits from TV characters. Some children learn to:
- Fight by watching TV violence.
- Become victims.
- Encourage friends to fight since it’s fun to watch.
What You Can Do
- Set limits. Limit your child’s use of the TV to no more than 1 or 2 hours per day. This includes TV shows, movies, and video games played on the TV or computer. Instead of using the TV as a babysitter, try finding other activities for your child.
- Know what your child is watching. Help your child choose programs and video games that are less violent.
- Don’t put a TV in your child’s room. You won’t know what programs your child is watching or how much time is spent in front of the TV.
- Use the V-chip on your new TV. This device lets you identify and stop programs with violence, sexual content, or other material not suitable for your child. For more information about the V-chip, call 888-CALL-FCC (888-225-5322/voice) or 888-TELL-FCC (888-835-5322/TTY).
- Watch programs with your child. If a program contains violence, talk about it with your child and ask these questions:
- Is this real or pretend?
- Is this the way to solve a problem?
- What would happen if you did that?
- Tell your child how you feel. Real violence is painful and makes people sad and angry.
When you’re watching a program that has violence, don’t allow your child to watch it with you. If you want or need more help making decisions about your child and TV, please ask your pediatrician.