Media Violence invading your HOME?
Turn it OFF
For too many people, violence is an ordinary way to be
entertained, settle arguments, or blow off steam.
Violence results when many different forces come together, and we know that
exposure to violence in the media can be one of those forces. American children
spend more time each week watching television than in any other activity except
sleeping. But violence isn't limited to TV - it can be found in music, video
games, newspapers, comic books, radio broadcasts, magazines, and movies.
Exposing children to violence can make them less sensitive to the pain and
suffering of others, more fearful of the world around them, and more willing to
act aggressively. Fortunately, most media violence can be turned off.
Look At What You're Watching
Take a hard look at what you and your family watch on TV - "action"
movies, talk shows, sitcoms, cop shows, and even news programs.
What values are they teaching? Are the characters racist, sexist, or
stereotypes? Do they make violence appear exciting or humorous or macho? Do they
solve real-life problems without violence? Do the programs teach skills or
convey unique, valuable, interesting information?
Technology Can Help
Hi-tech tools can help parents monitor what their children are watching. The
newest device being developed is the V-chip, which allows the TV to be
programmed to block shows that are rated high in violence, sex, or other
material not suited for young viewers. Many cable companies already offer
parents the option of "locking out" channels they don't want their
children to see. This is done through scrambling channels, (parents can access
with a key, blocking out specific cable channels on request, or using
programmable remote controls which can be overridden with a personal
However, nothing can take the place of parents when it comes to monitoring
children's TV habits.
Use TV's Incredible Potential To Educate
Ask teachers what they will be covering in the upcoming school year. Look for
TV specials and videos on the topics. Talk to teachers or school librarians
about videos that enrich your child's studies in school.
Use everyday viewing to tie into your children's school lessons. Ask them
questions as they watch TV. Does today's news have something in common with
what's being studied in history class? How is a television program different
than a book on the same subject? How do television producers get their messages
across compared to writers and artists?
Use TV to encourage your children to read. Sometimes a child will get excited
about something they viewed on TV. Follow up that excitement by taking them to
the library to check out books on the same subject.
If your child has a particular interest or hobby, tape shows that relate to
it. A budding ballerina may enjoy watching a professional dance group perform or
a child who collects and plays with dinosaurs may enjoy a movie on how dinosaurs
Turn off violent television, radio, and movies that you think send dangerous
messages to children about violence and its victims. Tell radio and television
stations and movie theaters about your decision through calls and letters. Also
use calls and letters to thank the media when they show programming that
portrays positive, non-violent ways of solving problems. Encourage the media to
provide more family-related programming and show positive actions by people to
improve the community.
Contact your local school to see if it has a mediation or conflict resolution
program. If not, help start one. You can get information, training, and
materials from colleges, community or neighborhood dispute resolution centers,
or national organizations that focus on dispute resolution.
Make one night a month a family night. Why not go to dinner, go for a walk,
take in a nonviolent movie, play board or card games? Play volleyball, ping
pong, or a game of catch, go to the library, read aloud, or go through old
family photos and slides? Ask everyone in the family for suggestions.
Don't buy products whose advertisements glorify physical or verbal violence.
Write the manufacturer to express your concern. Check product packages or call
your local library for addresses.
Work with a local church, business, or civic group to sponsor a violent toy
turn-in drive. Ask a local business to donate gift certificates good for a
nonviolent toy, a book, or sports equipment.
* Made available by The National Citizens' Crime Prevention Campaign,
sponsored by the Crime Prevention Coalition