by Ron Kaufman

"We do not believe there is anything sexist or violent about the World Wrestling Federation. I think it's unfair of you to insinuate it when there are so many shows and so many different movies, and so many different social problems that really do contribute to violence in this country."
-- UPN president Dean Valentine in 1999 after a 7-year-old child in Dallas killed his little brother with a "clothesline" maneuver he had seen on a wrestling show.

One fact should not be in dispute: TV is violent! Guns, shootings, murders, hitting, punching, slapping, screaming, kicking, stabbing, explosions, car chases, car smashes, disasters and death are shown daily throughout TV programming. Most violence is not even in nightly news programs and nearly all of the violence on television is fake. TV presents violent acts through acting -- with fake guns and fake blood. For adults, televised violence is probably not a big deal. When a character is killed off a TV show one week, we know the same actor will reappear the next week on another show on a different network.

A study by the Parents Television Council (PTC) entitled "TV Bloodbath: Violence on Prime Time Broadcast TV" looked at changes in the levels of violence on television from 1998 to 2002. The report notes that on the major non-cable broadcast networks, "In 2002, depictions of violence were 41% more frequent during the 8:00 p.m. Family Hour, and 134.4% more frequent during the 9:00 p.m. hour than in 1998." The study also noted that while CBS was the lest violent network, Fox was the most violent, followed closely by UPN and NBC.

The PTC study, though limited, did see increases in certain types of violence such as an increase in blood, guns, deaths and torture:

8:00-9:00 PM 1998 2002

Fight

44% 32%
Blood 0% 9%
Guns & Other Weapons 29% 38%
Crashes, Explosions, Fire 6% 5%
Threats of Violence 7% 5%
Graphic Depictions 10% 1%
Deaths Depicted 4% 5%
Deaths Implied 0% 3%
Torture 0% 2%

The Center for Media Literacy presents three common themes with respect to TV violence:

1. Violence Drives the Storyline.

    Violence is always involved. The fictional programs on television require a crime, murder or fist-fight to develop plot and story.

    For example, in January 2004 CBS ran three straight hours of violent shows on Thursday nights starting with Cold Case: Churchgoing People, "Lilly investigates the 1990 murder of a church organist who was found in an alley surrounded by crack vials and racy magazines." This was followed by CSI: Fur and Loathing, "A team explores the world of fetishes after finding a dead man dressed in a raccoon costume, the corpse of a convenience-store employee turns up in an industrial freezer." CBS finished off with Without A Trace: Prodigy, "A 14-year-old Russian violinist disappears after a rehearsal for a concert appearance."

    Not to be outdone, the Fox network ran Tru Calling: Reunion, "Tru attends her high-school reunion and finds the most popular girl from school dead in a swimming pool." This program was then followed by The World's Worst Drivers Caught on Tape 3, "Cameras record motorists creating havoc on the roadways."

    The National Cable Television Association's National Television Violence Study (Report 3 released in 1998) states that "across the three years of this study, a steady 60% of TV programs contain violence . . . [and] much of the violence is glamorized, sanitized, and trivialized."


    (National Television Violence Study. Page 27.)

2. Violence Has No Consequences.

Com 'on now -- the hero always wins. The hero of TV shows never gets in trouble for his/her violent actions. The hero is always "justified" in one way or another when committing violent acts. "TV rarely shows the consequences of violence. Guardians of law and order whether it's Maxwell Smart, Kojak, or the Miami Vice squad emerge from their conflicts with little more than a scrape. Occasionally, unlucky characters (but never the hero!) end up in a nice clean hospital bed," explains the Center for Media Literacy (Media & Values, Issue #62 / Spring 1993 by Barbara Osborn).

Television will never show a main character lose and arm, leg or get killed on screen. In reality, with as much gunplay that appears on TV, main characters should also get shot. The "bad guy" can get shot, killed, burned or maimed, but never the hero. In fact, the hero can really be as violent has he/she wants.

A study released by the Center for Media and Public Affairs in June 1999 states that though television shows a lot of violence, it rarely shows its outcome. "We found that despite the high volume of televised violence, viewers rarely see it causing adverse effects," states the report. The report found serious acts of violence -- murder, rape, kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon -- occurred once every four minutes on the major TV networks. However, it notes that "no physical harm was shown three quarters (75 percent) of the time violence occurred on broadcast series and over two-thirds (68 percent) of the time it occurred on cable programs. A mere 7 percent of violent acts on broadcast shows and 4 percent on cable resulted in fatalities."

The CMPA report notes that in its study, "serious violence was more likely to have tangible consequences, but a majority of even these more brutal acts had no direct harmful results. Fifty-nine percent of acts of serious violence on broadcast series and 54 percent on cable lacked negative consequences." Only in rare instances, about 10%, did violence result in some type of mental distress for the victim or another character. "Thus, fully 90 percent of violent acts on broadcast and 87 percent on cable proved psychologically painless," says the report.

Context of Violence in TV Series (%)

 
Broadcast
Cable
 
All
Serious Only
All
Serious Only
Presentation
Shown
98
82
98
67
Aftermath
2
18
2
33
Physical Harm
None
75
59
68
54
Fatal Injury
7
14
4
8
Other Injury
11
18
20
32
Property Damage
7
8
8
6
Psychological Harm
None
90
84
87
84
Victim
8
8
11
10
Others
2
8
2
6
(Center for Media and Public Affairs: "Merchandising Mayhem: Violence in Popular Entertainment 1998-1999")

The current trend in TV programs is to not only permit the police to commit justifiable violence, but criminals as well. "HBO’s The Sopranos, [is] the beginning of a new trend celebrating what’s called the 'criminal protagonist,' in this case a murderous crime boss we can learn to love," says L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Parents Television Council. "Entertainment producers and critics alike love 'moral complexity,' but what they’re sowing is moral confusion. They think good and evil, black and white, is so old hat. Let’s coat everyone and everything with a lovely shade of gray – as the red blood flows."

Bozell's group is not against TV, but has serious problems with the amount of violence currently shown on the networks. The PTC has also lead many campaigns against advertisers to try and reduce the revenue streams to violent programs. "Imagine my shock – and the shock of millions of others – coming across FX’s wicked-cop series The Shield . . . the show ended with 'criminal protagonist' Vic Mackey gratuitously shoving a man’s face into an electric burner. Watch the melting flesh as Fox counts the advertising dollars."

On TV today, it's not even that "bad" characters go unpunished, but that "good" characters are justified in being bad. Sure, the cops on Miami Vice had to be violent to get the criminals, the A-Team was always "wrongly accused" and Buck Rogers didn't ever do a bad thing with a laser gun. The idea of justifiable violence is something that should have parents really consider what their children are watching.

3. TV is a World of Good and Bad

Even though both criminals and cops can both commit justifiable violence -- television is still a simple medium. TV presents "good guys" and "bad guys." On average, there are 15 minutes of commercials for every one hour of TV programming, so producers only have a short amount of time in which to establish plot, story, characters and resolution. Good characters and bad characters must be quickly and simply established.

"Deeper, more realistic, more ambiguous characterizations make it hard for viewers to know who to root for. It also requires more screen time that takes away from on screen action," states the Center for Media Literacy. "As a result, TV and film criminals are reduced to caricatures. They are l00% bad. No one could care about them. They have no families. Many of them don't even have full names, only nick names. They deserve no sympathy and they get what they deserve."

The bad guys, whether they are cops or robbers, have to be 100% bad to justify the violence against them. Television violence is the struggle of good versus evil. It's OK to shoot the bad guy -- after all, he's the "bad guy."

According to the study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs, the most violent show observed in 1999 was CBS' Walker, Texas Ranger. This show "took the top spot for overall violence with a rate of 112 acts per show, over two-thirds of them (82) serious. Almost every episode of this long-running Chuck Norris cop show includes several martial arts fight scenes and some gunplay," says the report. "The fall season's first episode was especially violent. It opened with a combination gun battle/fight scene that ran approximately ten minutes, resulting in several characters being shot and beaten. This episode also featured a montage of violent scenes, including police raids to catch the bad guys, as well as another major gun battle."

 

There have been many studies about the effects of television violence on children. Research shows a number of facts:

1. Children in the United States watch many hours of TV.

According to the ACT Against Violence Project, on average, young children spend 2 to 4 hours per day watching television. They also spend 35 hours per week of screen time with TV or video games. The Kaiser Foundation reports that nearly all children in the United States (99%) live in homes with a TV set and one-third have a TV in their bedroom. "The vast majority of children are growing up in homes where television is a near-constant presence," writes the Kaiser Foundation in a report entitled "Zero To Six: Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers."

"Two-thirds of zero-to-six-year-olds (65%) live in a home where the TV is on at least half the time or more, even if no one is watching and one-third (36%) live in 'heavy' TV households, where the television is left on 'always' or 'most of the time.'"


(The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, "Zero To Six: Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers," Fall 2003, Page 4)
2. Violent behavior is a learned trait.

Most psychologists agree that experiences children have during their early years will have a longstanding impact in their lives. "What a child learns about violence, a child learns for life," states ACT Against Violence. The organization breaks down the early years of TV viewing development this way:

INFANTS (0—18 MONTHS)
From birth to 18 months, infants are interested in TV only for brief periods of time because they are attracted to the light and sound.
TODDLERS (18—36 MONTHS)
They pay much more attention to what is on TV and are able to get meaning from programs they watch. They react equally to animated violence and real violence because their link between fantasy and reality is not strong.
PRESCHOOLERS (3—5 YEARS)
Children look forward to shows. They understand what they are viewing, but cannot give it a context. They cannot judge reality versus fantasy or commercials versus regular programs. They are attracted to highly vivid scenes, rapid movement, sound, and color. In other words, most children pay the most attention to the most violent scenes on the screen.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AGE (6—11 YEARS)
Children believe that TV reflects real life and will become more active and show more aggressive behavior after viewing violent scenes. High viewing levels have been shown to interfere with reading development.

The Kaiser Foundation report states that 81% of parents have seen their children imitate either positive (eg. sharing, helping) or aggressive (eg. hitting, kicking) behaviors from TV. The report notes that overall, by the time children are 6 years old, nearly half (47%) the parents studied reported that their children imitated aggressive behaviors from TV.

A child's cognitive development during the early years is extremely important. ACT Against Violence explains that "young infants can imitate live models as well as what they see on TV, even without full understanding of their actions; they learn by watching and imitating others." Over the course of a child's first three years, the brain continues to grow and expand at a rapid pace. New nerve connections (called synapses), permit more complex methods of thinking, moving and talking. Children learn a great deal about the world when they are young and base their future cognitive, motor and emotional development by "mimicking" adults.

Children exposed to large doses of violent programming will give them violent heroes to imitate (and it doesn't matter if the TV character was justified to use violence). It will also show children that violence is the right way to handle conflicts and may also whet their appetite for viewing more violence. Violence usually begets more extreme forms of violence.

The American Psychological Association notes that research shows that babies as young as 12 months will read and react to actors emotions on television. The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under two years old do not watch TV at all. An AAP policy statement asks pediatricians to "encourage more interactive activities [for infants] that will promote proper brain development, such as talking, playing, singing, and reading together."

3. Children who watch a lot of television become aggressive adults.

The most influential research released to date on this subject was published in March 2003. Researchers from the University of Michigan published their findings from a 15-year longitudinal study of 329 youths. It showed that men and women who watched violent TV programming as children were more inclined to show violent tendencies as adults.

"Results show that men who were high TV-violence viewers as children were significantly more likely to have pushed, grabbed or shoved their spouses, to have responded to an insult by shoving a person, to have been convicted of a crime and to have committed a moving traffic violation. Such men, for example, had been convicted of crimes at over three times the rate of other men," says the study entitled "Longitudinal Relations Between Children's Exposure to TV Violence and Their Aggressive and Violent Behavior in Young Adulthood: 1977 - 1992."

"Women who were high TV-violence viewers as children were more likely to have thrown something at their spouses, to have responded to someone who made them mad by shoving, punching, beating or choking the person, to have committed some type of criminal act, and to have committed a moving traffic violation. Such women, for example, reported having punched, beaten or choked another adult at over four times the rate of other women," says the report.

The report also proves that violent programs that probably have the most detrimental effects on a child's cognitive development are the ones where the hero is justified in being violent. "Violent scenes that children are most likely to model their behavior after are ones in which they identify with the perpetrator of the violence, the perpetrator is rewarded for the violence and in which children perceive the scene as telling about life like it really is," according to the researchers. "Thus, a violent act by someone like Dirty Harry that results in a criminal being eliminated and brings glory to Harry is of more concern than a bloodier murder by a despicable criminal who is brought to justice."

The National Institute of Mental Health has identified three major effects of seeing violence on television:

* Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others.
* Children may be more fearful of the world around them.

* Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others.

"For parents who are concerned that their children spend too much time with electronic media, there is good news: there appear to be concrete steps parents can take that will impact the amount of time their children spend with media. Turning off the TV in their home when no one is watching, getting televisions out of children's bedrooms, and setting rules about how much time their children can spend with media all appear to make a significant difference in the amount of time children spend in front a screen."
-- The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, "Zero To Six: Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers," Fall 2003.

The extent to which these behaviors manifest themselves in a child can depend on other factors -- environmental and parental. However, there is a lot of research showing a strong link between televised violence and it's effect on children.

The APA notes that children exposed to a large dose of TV violence when they are young will be less aroused by violent scenes as teenagers. In general, the group notes that "they're less bothered by violence in general, and less likely to see anything wrong with it. One example: in several studies, those who watched a violent program instead of a nonviolent one were slower to intervene or to call for help when, a little later, they saw younger children fighting or playing destructively."

"Children who watch the violent shows, even 'just funny' cartoons, were more likely to hit out at their playmates, argue, disobey class rules, leave tasks unfinished, and were less willing to wait for things than those who watched the nonviolent programs," says a researcher commenting on a study done at the University of Pennsylvania.

The question for parents is not: "Shouldn't entertainment media be less violent?" Whether for good or for bad, violent programming is popular and is here to stay. For adults, TV shows such as The Sopranos, The Shield, 24, or Walker: Texas Ranger are usually no big deal. Most adults can deal with fake televised violence in a mature manner.

The real question is how the children of today's world deal with being bombarded from nearly every entertainment outlet with an array of violent acts, situations and language? What lessons are children learning about the world? Children are impressionable and look at TV and movies differently than adults. What is TV teaching?

"The amount and influence of violence on television has long been the topic of study and national debate. For close to 30 years, dating from the 1960s to the Surgeon General's report in 1972, the National Institute of Mental Health report in 1982, and the American Psychological Association's report in 1992, more than 1,000 scientific studies have validated the premise that TV violence influences aggressive behavior in some children," writes a doctor from the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP).

"Because television is our children's No. 1 leisure activity, we should not minimize the ongoing impact of its thousands of visual messages on children, especially those at risk for behavioral problems."

Modern television violence is so much more vivid than a play by William Shakespeare. Families must put limits on the amount of TV young children watch.

"Children have fewer checks on primal violent urges than adults. As parents and pediatricians, we hope to contain and rechannel those urges. Unprotected use of media can warp psychological development that allows awareness of human suffering to control violent desires. Knowing media and how they work will allow children to recognize and direct their effects, to use them wisely, and to learn of human suffering through ways that allow them to grow up healthy and safe," says the AAP.

Though cable has its share of violent programming, the CMPA study found that of the 3,381 acts of violence in 284 series episodes it counted during its two week study period, 80% of the violence occurred on over-the-air broadcast TV (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, UPN and the WB).

"The simple fact . . . is that people watch programs. If the program is something they want to see, they will watch," said William F. Baker and George Dessart in their book Down The Tube. "Nothing can make people watch a television program they don't want to see."

Violent programming is obviously popular and commercial television is entirely based on gaining audience. "Commercial television is not in the business of presenting programs; commercial television is not in the business of selling advertising," write Baker and Dessart. "Nor is it in the business of selling time to advertisers. Commercial television is, quite simply, in the business of aggregating and then selling audiences.

"In its simplest terms, the business of television in this country is the buying and selling of eyeballs."

To a broadcaster, viewers are only numbers. Those numbers are then used to charge a sponsor and adjust advertising revenue. Television watchers, say the authors, only matter in respect to "how much the sponsor is willing to pay to reach any single viewer. Thus, in the marketplace model, programming has only one function: each program must attract as many viewers as possible."

It should go without saying, that television is not about performing a public service. TV networks are only concerned with making money.

The most important task for television networks is the creation and cultivation of viewers. Violent shows are the most popular shows on television. For example, one of the consistently top rated shows on TV is the CBS crime drama C.S.I. (Crime Scene Investigation). This program, ranked as the #1 worst show on television for families by the Parents Television Council almost completely revolves around violence. "C.S.I. [provides] graphic depictions of decaying bodies, grisly crime scenes, brutal murders, and themes of incest and sado-masochism," says the PTC. The group notes that during the 2002-2003 season, "episodes of C.S.I. have included story lines about cannibalism, S&M sex clubs, and pornographic snuff films. Episodes this season have also contained scenes depicting a man receiving oral sex in an alley, the mutilated victims of a deranged killer, and a man in bed with two women."

C.S.I. and its spinoff show C.S.I.:Miami are two of the top rated shows on television. They regularly get Nielsen ratings between 13 and 14 which converts to around 15 million households.

Another ultra-violent show on television is NBC's Kingpin. Though only the air for one season, Kingpin's violence was almost unmatched. "Kingpin is centered on the criminal protagonist Miguel Cadena, a Mexican drug lord and troubled family man," explains the PTC. "In the six episodes that aired [in 2003], the PTC counted 16 raunchy depictions of sex, 23 murders, eight depictions of torture, and 16 instances of drug use. In one particularly gruesome episode, a man is shown tossing a human leg to his pet tiger . . . In yet another episode, a man is brutally beaten and then sodomized by a police officer."

Another popular, but extremely violent show is Fox's 24. Throughout the show's 3rd season (2002-2003), 24 was regularly getting Nielsen ratings of 4.9 (5.1 among adults 18-49) which converts to around 5.3 million households. New York Daily News TV critic David Bianculli, who watches a lot of television, was shocked at the brutality on the program. "Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer died at the end of Fox's 24 Tuesday, which may have shocked a lot of people (even though he could be revived). What shocked me was the way he died," explains Bianculli. "He was tortured for most of the show's hour, in some of the most disturbing and graphic depictions of violence I've ever seen on a broadcast network entertainment program. Bauer was hung naked from his wrists, with his mouth forced open by a bit gag. His skin was sliced with a scalpel, he was shocked with electrical current and Tasers, and his flesh was burned until parts of his body emitted smoke."

Bianculli also notes that 24 plays on the old "good guys versus bad guys" theme which plagues most TV violence. "Those scenes were so disturbing to me precisely because the characters and the conflicts were credible enough to suck me in. These encounters with evil let us know just how bad the bad guys are in these cases, and how high the stakes can be."

Another TV critic, Matt Feeney, writes that 24 is a show entirely focused on graphic violence. He writes that 24 shows pain in the form of "brute physical agonies of gunshot wounds, heroin withdrawal, and radiation sickness. (In its real-time, single-day format, the show was poised to allow the daylong radiation death of one character to take an entire 24-show season, but this hideous, closely observed demise was cut short two-thirds of the way through—in an irony of almost comic massiveness—by a nuclear explosion.) Then there is the torture, which occurs with astonishing regularity.

"On 24, torture is less an unfortunate last resort than an epistemology. Whenever an urgent or sticky question of fact arises, someone—bad guy or good guy, terrorist or counterterror agent; it doesn't matter—automatically sparks up the electrodes or starts filling syringes with seizure juice."

Fox scores another violent hit program with The Shield. Shown on the FX network, The Shield is another program whose entire plot is based on violence. The main character is a TV anti-hero similar to the mafia-with-a-heart characters on HBO's The Sopranos. The Shield's main character is Vic Mackey, "a crooked, bullying and bigoted cop who is running his own drug operation within the Los Angeles Police Department," explains Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales. "Virtually every episode . . . [includes] scenes of extremely gory, graphic violence. During the opening credits of last week's season premiere, gang members murdered a police informant by putting a gasoline-soaked tire around his neck and lighting it. The screams of agony were chilling, as were shots of the body being consumed by flames," he explains.

"On tonight's show, a cocaine addict vomits blood copiously and, later in the show, the reckless Mackey mercilessly brutalizes a suspected gang leader -- first by beating him so furiously that Mackey himself gets splattered in blood, then by forcing the man's face down, repeatedly, on a scalding hot plate."

Though some advertisers have pulled their spots from The Shield because of the intense violence, actor Michael Chiklis won an Emmy in 2002 for his work in the principal role.

Shales explains how justifiable violence is used in The Shield for dramatic effect. "Viewers are likely to find themselves rooting for the 'bad guy,' Mackey, who for all his contemptible traits often seems sympathetic . . . Chiklis is skillful enough to show a trace of pathos behind the vindictiveness . . . The good and honest cops, meanwhile, often come off as prudes, stuffed shirts or spoilsports. CCH Pounder plays a cop who is diligent and tough, but Mackey's slick effectiveness, which includes beating confessions out of suspects, makes humane tactics seem naive or even quaint. Another 'good' cop in the precinct, played by Jay Karnes, comes across as a WASPy dork," writes Shales.

Of course, any discussion of violent TV must include the World Wrestling Federation. The WWF (now called WWE for World Wrestling Entertainment) has been around for decades. It is not a sport -- it is not real. WWE wrestling is fake with outrageous acts of physical punishment. The WWE could be called comical or silly or even "mindless television entertainment." However, to say it is not violent is quite naive. The WWF is entirely based on physical violence, machismo and blood. As with other violent programming, the WWE gets extremely high ratings: primetime showings of WWE Raw on the Spike Network are some of the highest rated cable programs with around 3.5 million households watching (during the week of April 12th, 2004, WWE Raw Zone tied for first place in ratings with the George W. Bush presidential news conference concerning the war in Iraq).

The National Institute on Media and the Family quotes a year long study (50 episodes, from 2/12/98 to 2/1/99) by Indiana University's Department of Telecommunication of World Wrestling Federation's Raw is War program. The study recorded instances of sexual and violent interactions:

* crotch grabbing or pointing: 1,658 instances
* garbage cans, chairs, tables and brooms used in wrestling: 609
* kicks to the groin: 273
* profane descriptions of people: 158
* obscene finger gesture: 157
* simulated sexual activity: 128
* scantily clad women: 70
* urinating (talking about/appearing to): 21

This is really only significant when one considers that 15% of the audience for wrestling shows (more than 1 million viewers) is 11 years old or younger.

Overall, only 10% of children's viewing time is spend watching TV designed for kids. The other 90% of the time is spent watching programs designed for adults. (Iowa State University, "Getting Along: Taming The TV," Oct. 1999)

Violent television is popular and high ratings means more advertising revenue. However, a new study actually shows that ad recall is diminished when place between a program with intense violence or sexual content.

In a report called "Violence and Sex Impair Memory for Television Ads," researchers from Iowa State University found that both men and women had problems recalling a particular advertised brand when the content of the TV program showed graphic violence or sex. Their findings were consistent regardless of whether the viewer liked the program or not.

"We suggest that sex and violence impair commercial memory because they consume attention and prompt sexual and violent thoughts, thus reducing the likelihood that the commercial message is encoded into long-term memory," says the report.

The study notes that because viewers have a limited amount of attention to direct toward TV shows, if they are thinking about violence they are not absorbing commercials. Because violent programs are more engaging and "attention grabbing," advertising will get lost. "The more attentive individuals are toward a TV program, the less attentive capacity they have for the commercials embedded in the program," states the report.

Clearly, the violence shown in TV programs of today is far more graphic and disturbing than in the past. Television of today is gruesome and shocking -- gone are the days of The Lone Ranger, The Untouchables, Gunsmoke, the A-Team or Battlestar Galactica. TV of the past is tame by comparison to today's programs. Part of the reason, is that TV networks have been free to become as violent as possible, without any government oversight.

The United States Federal Communications Commission is supposed to be the governmental body which holds networks accountable for their programming. The FCC is supposed to enforce the ban on violent programs during the prime time "Family Hour." However, currently there are no laws on the books prohibiting or restricting depictions of violence on television. The only types of broadcasts the FCC chooses to control are those which, in the words of the FCC, display "in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law." In the eyes of the FCC, breasts, genitalia or one utterance of the word "fuck" will get maximum fines imposed on a TV network or station. However, murder and torture in a graphic manner can pass over the airwaves without comment.

In the end, however, even if the FCC took a responsible attitude toward televised violence, censorship is not the answer. Censorship is never the answer. TurnOffYourTV.com advocates choosing to not watch television -- Turn Off Your TV and Kill Your TV. People should stop watching television because of its effects on the human body and its troubling content. The bottom line is that television is violent and parents must use discretion to get control over the medium and not allow children to watch inappropriate programming. Only parental involvement, not the government, not a special computer chip and certainly not the networks themselves will help the situation. The issue of TV violence is a matter of content and parental control.

So for your children . . . Turn Off Your TV!

 

© 2004 by Ron Kaufman @ TurnOffYourTV.com


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