Violence on TV

How the American society deals with violence on TV

Facharbeit (Schule), 2003

14 Seiten, Note: 2,0


Table of contents

A short look at television’s history
Information, inspiration and influence

1. Introduction
1.1 Explaining the topic
1.2 Why this topic?
1.2.1 What material was used?

2. Violence on TV and its effect on the watcher
2.1 How is violence presented on TV and in what dimensions?
2.2 The influence of TV-violence on the watcher

3. How the society deals with televised violence
3.1 Where the violence comes from
3.2 What are the public’s reactions?

4. Solutions
4.1 Is it justified blaming the television?
4.2 What parents can do to protect their children
4.2.1 My personal view

5. List of sources


A short look at television’s history

It was 1926 when the Scotsman John Baird (1888-1946) presented the first television broadcast and when the American W.K. Zworykin[1] (1889-1982) invented the first electronically working television set nearly at the same time, nobody could ever imagine the future dimensions of that big, black and unwieldy box. But since the regularly broadcasting of TV-shows in 1935, the television became a steady rising supplementation of people’s life all over the world. Although television sets got smaller and smaller, the meaning of that medium was never bigger as today.

(source: Das große Ravensburger Lexikon-Band 2, © 1992 by Ravensburger Buchverlag Otto Maier GmbH)

Information, inspiration and influence

While in 1950 only 10% of American families had a television, today 99% do. In fact more families own a television than a phone[2] ! Whether sport-events, rock-concerts or dramas, for people in our time the television is an irreplaceable and untiring source of entertainment. Supplying people with news from every place on earth, the television became also one of the most important deliverer of information and knowledge.

The part television takes up in our society is much bigger than we expect it to be. The times when television just entertained us are already over; today we are also informed, inspired and influenced by that medium. Television became an important addition to our everyday life; it keeps us informed about events that happen all over the world and helps us to shape an opinion by supplying us with information.

The things we see on TV often inspire us and sometimes we might be able to transfer specific occurrences on our own life.


1.1 Explaining the topic

The topic I chose for my term paper is “Violence on TV-How the American society deals with violence on TV”. So what does that mean exactly? Violence on TV is (too often because of current events) an often-discussed topic. Scientists, media experts, politicians and TV-station bosses are quarrelling for years now about the responsibility of television and its influence on the watcher.

Acts of violence or criminal actions are often blamed on TV, parents are afraid of the bad influence that medium might have and violent behaviour caused by television-violence.

1.2 Why this topic?

I think the question about the responsibility of the media, in this case of television, in our modern society is very interesting and of course important. With this term paper I want to explain the situation in America; what the dimensions of violence on TV are, how the society deals with that topic, what scientists say about it, if there is a connection between real-life violence and televised aggression and why there are so many violent programs on TV. The key-question I want to answer is: “Is it justified to blame the television for violent behaviour?”

1.2.1 What material will be used?

The difficulty about this topic is that it deals with the American society. At first it was not easy to find some useful material, because all books to get deal with the situation in Germany.

I decided to search for material on the Internet and the mass of information about violence on TV in America was overwhelming. The material I chose comes from two objective, non-partisan and non-profit research and educational organizations, “The Centre for Media and Public Affairs[3] ” and “Mediascope”[4].

Those so-called “watchdog-organizations” promote issues of social relevance within the entertainment industry. They publish studies and reports on a steady basis to inform (or sometimes warn) the American public about television and other media. Topics those organizations deal with are for example media ratings, children’s television and media violence. The material I took from them contains most studies and reports about the dimensions of TV-violence and the context in which violence is presented.

Further material was taken from the “American Psychological Association”-website, a scientific organization that represents psychology in America and the books “Sündenbock Frensehen?” by Georg Kofler[5] and “Kinder und neue Medien” by Patricia M. Greenfield[6], an American psychology-professor from the university of California in Los Angeles.

Some material is from an article published in the “Los Angeles Times” on March 21st, 2002[7].

2. Violence on TV and its effect on the watcher

2.1 How is violence presented on TV and in what dimensions?

Violence on TV is an often-discussed topic. If we take a look at the extent of violence, we see on TV, this fact is not very surprising.

In 1992 the “Centre for Media and Public Affairs”[8] published a study, which based on the results of analysing 10 channels[9] for 24 hours on a typical American day[10]. The results of that study are really appalling; in the 24 hours analysed there were 1846 scenes showing individual acts of violence, 175 scenes of violence resulting in the death of people, 389 scenes of serious assault[11], 673 scenes of punching, slapping or pushing and another 588 scenes of gunplay or threats including a weapon.


[1] Zworykin came originally from Russia.

[2] See Mediascope: American Public Opinion on Media Violence, 1993

[3] CMPA was founded in 1985.

[4] Mediascope was founded in 1992.

[5] The book was not written by Georg Kofler himself, it contains different texts from different authors, which were collected by Kofler in this book.

[6] The book used is the German translated version.

[7] Los Angeles Times: Sex and Violence on TV: It’s on the Decline Study Finds, by Megan Garvey, March 21, 2002.

[8] Compare 1.2.1: What material was used?

[9] The ten channels chosen included three major networks, public television and some popular cable channels.

[10] Typical means there was no unusual event of civil disorder on the news and no atypical movies were broadcasted.

[11] For example war scenes or scenes with masses of people fighting each other.

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Violence on TV
How the American society deals with violence on TV
Theodor-Heuss-Gymnasium, Dinslaken
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
449 KB
violence, media, TV
Arbeit zitieren
Florian Rübener (Autor:in), 2003, Violence on TV, München, GRIN Verlag,


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