Exposure to violence on TV, the Internet, in movies and video games can be harmful to children. It can frighten, desensitize, lead to aggressive behavior and depict violence as an acceptable solution to conflict.
Children who view shows in which violence is frequently repeated or unpunished, are more likely to imitate what they see, according to The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Most would agree that exposing children to violence can be detrimental, but whose job is it to prevent this exposure?
Some people think that it is the responsibility of the government to regulate violence on television. The problem with this is that regulating what can and cannot be shown on television violates the First Amendment.
Although I agree that many shows depict violence in a way that makes it seem exciting and desirable, they have just as much right to do that as the daily news has to report all stories.
Besides that, allowing the government to regulate TV would be next to impossible. Who gets to decide what is too violent for television and what is not?
Congress probably couldn’t even come to an agreement on whether or not the sky is blue so how in the world would they ever be able to come up with a standard for what is too violent?
Many top television shows would be significantly changed if they were forbidden from showing many of the scenes that make them dramatic, powerful and ultimately interesting.
Just imagine an episode of “CSI” without violent crime scenes, dramatic murder plots and gruesome autopsy footage. It wouldn’t exist.
Should adults not be allowed to watch “CSI” and shows like it just because it isn’t appropriate for children?
The government can’t just go telling the creators of these shows what they can and can’t do, nor can they try to control what adults want to watch in the comfort their own homes.
They can’t take every single show that isn’t appropriate for children off of the air.
Although I can sympathize with the cause of keeping kids away from violence, it is impossible for the government to tell people how to raise their children.
Rating systems, V-Chips, family friendly cable packages, time-shifting technologies and TV channel blockers make it easy for parents to control what their child sees on TV.
The Federal Communications Commission criticizes that few parents actually take advantage of these devices. That is unfortunate, but even if parents don’t use these devices you can’t force them to.
Most of the parents who have used these things have been satisfied with the results, and other parents said they don’t use them because they keep track in other ways.
The tools for parents to censor what their kids are watching are available. I don’t see what else people expect, but it’s not the government’s job to raise their children.
You can’t censor an entire country because a handful of parents don’t censor what their kids see for whatever reason.
All the government can do is provide a pathway. Ultimately it is up to parents to decide what is best for their household.
If the government wants to educate parents on how to do this properly then they can create a program to promote and encourage parents to use the available devices, and prevent their children from exposure to violent programs.
Outside of that there isn’t much else left to do.
Rabab Al-Sharif is a sophomore magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]