I think it does have an effect on children. On the surface, Survivor may not seem as though it explicitly encourages bullying. Not only did these students score higher on aggression tests, but they were more likely to act out aggressively to try to sabotage the job prospects of a researcher who was slightly rude to them while apparently having a bad day.
The abundance of television shows which specialize in glorifying humiliation and the darker side of human nature are there because millions of Americans regularly tune in to watch them.
One poll revealed that children watch up to six hours a day, much of it unsupervised and meant for adults. Following the report, the BBC said it was exploring ways of flashing warnings on programmes to alert parents to violent scenes.
As a society, we seem to enjoy gossip, conflict, and humiliation, especially when it happens to others. Sooner or later, the behavior we immerse ourselves in for several hours each day will also affect what teens do.
Many thought violence was comic and had few consequences. Popular media plays a role in bullying both subtle and direct, and you may be surprised at just how extensively our television programming encourages and condones a bully mentality.
Clarke warned that children who watched a lot of TV alone were most at risk. In the process, all forms of false bravado, backstabbing, disingenuous behavior, posturing, lying, cheating, betraying, and advancing yourself through the exploitation of others is not just permitted, but explicitly encouraged.
Clarke said the level of violence on TV aimed at children was so high it was undermining Government anti-bullying policies. Television can also have a very immediate impact on conflict or peer interaction.
That is now very much not the case. Take a show like Survivor, whose last-man-standing elimination game format has been copied by countless other television programs. Other reality TV shows are not so subtle. In programs such as Flavor of Love or Basketball Wives, the entire format seems to revolve around ongoing conflict and a contest to see who can be the meanest.
Of course, in many ways media is merely an extension of ourselves; the media we get is the media we request through our viewership.
Asked if the watershed had become too blurred, Clarke said: Violence on television encourages people to grow up thinking that violence is an acceptable way of operating. Clarke said regular scenes of confrontation on television led to violence among children and too many broadcasters were complacent about this link.
She and her colleagues from Brigham Young University found that watching a clip of relational aggression a montage of Mean Girls increased later aggressive tendencies in the study subjects. His comments, in an interview with The Observer, will reignite the debate about the effect of violent TV imagery on the young.
To a certain extent this may be true. So when kids watch relational aggression on TV, they become much more likely to carry that mentality with them into everyday life. Much of it was educational. Unfortunately many video games, films, and television programs portray bullying as acceptable, even humorous behavior.
Yet it does so in many subtle but powerful ways. When I was young there were a whole series of programmes for children, classically on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon, which the family would watch.
Nearly 60 per cent of them have TVs in their bedroom and the growth of satellite and digital TV has brought new channels devoted to cartoons, often violent and imported from America. Over time, we grow more accustomed to it, and as our familiarity towards something grows, so does our favorable attitudes toward it.
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