Television cartoons aimed at children often contain violent acts. Other shows, such as the “Law and Order” franchise and other police shows, contain depictions of graphic violence. Television violence pervades much programming available to families, who are trying to limit their children's exposure to both television and violent content.

What Television Shows Do You Watch?

Today’s children view an average of 200,000 acts of violence by their 18th birthday, reports Kids Health. This includes violent acts carried out by actors in “good guy” roles, which can confuse young children. Parents who let their children know which shows are off-limits are on the right track in controlling what shows are allowed in their home; when their children visit a friend and watch TV at the friend’s house, a different set of rules may be applied.

Do Your Parents Restrict How Much TV You Watch?

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Children are exposed to television images from a very young age. Kids Health points out that two-thirds of toddlers and children under age six watch an average of two hours of television every day. Children and teenagers watch even more, clocking an average of four hours daily in front of the television, on top of nearly two additional hours playing video games and non-study-related computer time.

If You See Someone Hurt Someone Else on a Show, How Does That Make You Feel?

Children and teens that were exposed to the images of the World Trade Centers’ collapse and the attack on the Pentagon reacted with fear because they were unable to understand that the attacks were limited to New York City and Washington, D.C. Dr. Charlotte Reznick, educational psychologist and associate clinical professor at UCLA, advises that “preschool and elementary children” be restricted from viewing anything depicting that day “because it becomes real to everyone and then it’s too hard to handle. 2

Do Your Parents Allow You to Watch Shows With Violence?

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Parents are able to control the television shows their children watch. Technology, such as the V-chip, enables families to block shows with violent content. TV sets with screens larger than 13 inches are manufactured with internal V-chips; set-top boxes are available for hookup to TVs made before 2000. In addition, parents can take advantage of the ratings provided in television listings and guides: TV-Y, suitable for all children; TV-Y7, suitable for all children over 7 years of age; TV-Y7-FV, contains fantasy violence that may be more intense than in shows rated TV-Y7; TV-G, suitable for a general viewing audience; TV-PG, parental guidance recommended; TV-14, parents are strongly cautioned that this programming is suitable only for children over 14; TV-MA, intended only for mature audiences and unsuitable for children under 17.

  • Parents are able to control the television shows their children watch.
  • Technology, such as the V-chip, enables families to block shows with violent content.

What Do You Think About Violence on TV Shows?

The American Academy of Family Physicians has published a position paper on this subject, saying that television depictions of violence contribute to aggression, desensitization and trauma and victimization in young viewers. Even Saturday morning cartoons contain acts of violence--20 to 25 per hour, reports the AAFP.

Professional Concerns about Effects of TV Violence on Children

The AAFP states that violent episodes coupled with humor, weapons and attractive actors can increase real-life aggression while episodes of violence coupled with humor, as well as depictions of graphic violence, are likely to instill fear and a feeling of victimization in viewers.