Turning Off Media Violence
Too many people believe violence is an ordinary way to be entertained, settle arguments & blow off steam, and exposure to violence in the media can effect you. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, children spend more time each week watching television than in any other activity, except sleeping. Violence can also be found in music, video games, newspapers, comic books, radio broadcasts, magazines, movies and the real world.
Look at what you are watching
Look at what you watch ! - action movies, talk shows, sitcoms, cop shows, & news programs, movies, video tapes, comics, and computer & video games.
- What values are they teaching? Are the characters racist, sexist, or stereotypical ?
- Do they make violence appear exciting, humorous or macho ?
- Do they solve real-life problems with violence ?
- Do the programs show how the victims of violence, their families & friends suffer ?
- Do the programs teach skills or convey unique, valuable & interesting information ?
Technology can help
High tech tools like the V-chip can allow parents to block out shows that parents do not want their children to watch such as violence, sex, or other material not suited for young viewers. Many cable companies offer parents the option of locking out channels that they don’t want their children to see. This is done through scrambling channels, blocking out channels, and PIN number control over certain channels. However, NOTHING can take the place of parents when it comes to influencing children’s habits.
Use tv’s incredible potential to educate
- Ask teachers what they will be covering in the upcoming school year. Look for TV specials & videos on those topics. Talk to teachers & school librarians about videos that enrich your child’s studies in school.
- Use everyday viewing to tie into your child’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 message 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 & plays with dinosaurs may enjoy a movie on how dinosaurs became extinct. TAKE ACTION !!!
- Turn off violent television, radio, and movies that you think send dangerous messages to children about violence & it’s victims. Send the message to radio & television stations, and movie theaters about your decision through calls & letters. Also use calls & letters to THANK the media when they show programming that portrays positive, nonviolent 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 & slides? Ask everyone in the family for suggestions.
- Do not 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 local business to donate gift certificates for a nonviolent toy, book, or sports equipment.