The advancements in technology have made it easier to access the various forms of media at any place at any time. Meanwhile, a significant percentage of the media is based on violent content; as a result, of the ease in which violence accessible through television and the availability of portable television gadgets, televised content is easily accessible. The dominance of violent television programming not only influences children, but it also impacts negatively on impressionable adults. Televised violence can influence young minds to be physically and emotionally violent. However, since violence based shows top the most watched television programs, the developers of these programs do not care for the impact that their content has on impressionable minds. They categorize their content on the basis of ratings and viewership (Joe, 2013); While, the freedom of expression is embedded in the constitution; it has been an inherent vulnerability which is manipulated by profiteering enterprises such as television networks and film companies, who are responsible for the content in television shows and movies.
In the recent past, television shows have contributed to the increased cases of physical and sexual violence, death and abuse. These acts are perpetrated by individuals who have been influenced to commit these acts through watching violent television programs or movies. Violence depicted in television shows is among the factors that contributed to criminal activities. Teenagers influenced through watching violent television programs some of which glorify lawlessness, are more likely to be involved in criminal activities than those who do not watch such shows.
Furthermore, adults who are susceptible to adopt what they see in television shows can cause significant damages. In the past, there have been instances where adults have taken guns and killed several people after watching various television programs. However, while the content depicted in these television programs is the cause of such violence; the responsible television networks and film companies are unperturbed by these events. Instead, media companies continue to seek ways of developing and tailoring violence which is targeted at defined demographic groups in society.
Therefore, the media companies invest significant amounts of finances in developing violent television content which is constantly revised to reflect more sinister violent scenes. Meanwhile, the impacts of these programs are felt by the public when individuals are physically or psychologically injured as a consequence of these shows. Significantly, while society suffers significant losses and injuries resulting from the impacts of violent television programs, the responsible television companies continue to relish in increased ratings and viewership and the subsequent high revenues. Moreover, these companies fail to take responsibility for the after effects of people watching their content.
The target group for most of the violent television programming is children and young adults who are highly susceptible to suggestion; therefore, they are easily impressionable to mimics the violence depicted on these programs. Television programs are premised on informing, educating, entertaining and sensitizing the public on critical issues that affect them individually and as a collective. Therefore, television programs serve to put across a defined message in their programs. These are critical factors that impact on the psychological development of children and adults who are constantly watching them. The message that a television program puts across impacts on a child decision making process and perception of what is important and what to emulate. In light of this, it is evident that violence in television programs can only lead to the development of a violent society. Television companies have no care of the potential damages that their programs could have on a child’s social life, school and the development of personal relationship. A significant percentage of the message being carried across through television programs have the potential and capacity to influence negative attitudes towards life.
Repeated violence on television has the potential to desensitize viewers; more so, where television content comprises of constant messages premised on sexuality and violence. While adults can be desensitized, children and teenagers are highly likely to be desensitized. Exposure of televised violence to children has the impact of can disturb a child critically impacting on their sleeping patterns and behavior. As a result, television violence can impact children to develop unhealthy social tendencies where the child is withdrawn from engaging with peers (Eggerton, 2013). Meanwhile, the child could be fearful in various situations and may perceive the world as a violent place, as such, impacting on their social behavior and attitudes towards life.
Television programs that are violent in nature contribute significantly to the increase in violent case. Moreover, cases of this nature are prevalent in children, more so, boys who attempt to imitate the violent scenes they see on television. This not only causes harm or injury to those around them but also causes injury to them. When a child imitates televised violence, they perceive the individuals being violent on screen as role models. This leads to the development of a violent culture, where the younger generations grows up being more aggressive and oblivious to peaceful co-existent. This aspect leads to the development of a violent society where no one feels safe for fear of physical or sexual violence against them. Television shows illustrating robberies, muggings, drug abuse, sexual violence and decapitations among other violent genres are characteristically responsible to the increase of these vices. It is more likely for a teenager to mug, rape or murder someone as a result of a violent television program or film, than going for a nature walk after watching a nature documentary.
Meanwhile, the prevalence of violent behavior emulated from violent television shows has led to a callous and desensitized culture. While the conduct of individuals in society was subject to controlled social norms and expectations, the modern television age has led to the development of ‘don’t care’ culture. People are no longer surprised by violent acts being committed; they see actual violence being committed as ordinary; therefore, they are not excited enough to care on the impacts of such open acts of violence. Additionally, when person is being violent towards another, people tend to stand by and watch the unfolding events since violence has stopped being something to be abhorred but rather it has become a basic form of entertainment, irrespective of the harm being caused to the victims.
Recent events where people have been shot and killed have challenged the society to question the source of such aggressive behavior. Individuals who commit murders in public places and institutions are often, reserved people with inadequate social skills. A critical look at these individuals unearths a history of watching violent television and other media such as violent video games. Therefore, it is evident that children who are raised in an environment characterized by uncensored access to violent television programming are more likely to develop negative tendencies towards their peers and society.
A significant number of children are faced with fear of expecting similar violence as that depicted in television programs on every aspect of their lives. As such, these children grow up with the perception that the world is a violent place where one should be violent in order to survive. These tendencies lead to cases of anti-social or repressed teenagers resolving to use violent means to assert themselves and to ‘survive’ their peers or subsequent environments. Therefore, not only do television programs inspire violence, but also mislead people especially children to develop negative perceptions and beliefs towards their peers, environment and the world. The impact of these negative tendencies is the loss of innocent lives, physical and psychological injuries.
The technological developments in the modern era have made it possible for television content to be accessed anywhere, at home, workplace, or while on the move. While innovations in technology are considered a significant development aimed at simplifying human life; some of these developments have placed human life in jeopardy. Mobile devices such as portable televisions and cell phones are in the modern age capable of accessing television content; as such, people are able to watch anything they want.
In light of this, television companies have taken advantage of mobile telephony to integrate these devises with the capability to access television content at anywhere at any time. In most cases, the television content accessed through mobile devises contains violent programs; which are not censored in the case of children and teenagers. Meanwhile, the development and accessibility of the internet is among the factors that have led to the increase in media content related violence. Similar, to television programs, the internet contains significant quantities of violent visual material; which unlike on television can be either unrated or of an explicit nature. Additionally, the internet has enabled television programs to be streamed to individuals who have access to a computer; therefore, in the absence of checks, children and teenagers are exposed to extremely violent visual content on the internet.
The impacts of violent television programming have been costly not only towards human life, but also on social-economic perspectives. Therefore, a critical analysis and evaluation of the television content is warranted to mitigate the negative impacts which have been observed. An in-depth evaluation of televised content will ensure that television shows do not integrate harmful content in their programming; which may impact negatively on the society. Furthermore, this promotes social cohesion where media content does not lead to a callous and desensitized culture.