Children today are exposed to more violence and unsuitable material on the screen than ever before. With such a wide choice of TV channels and many teenagers having TVs in their bedrooms, parents are finding it harder to control what their children are watching. TV can offer exciting and positive entertainment and opportunites for learning, but it also can have negative influences, especially on a young audience.
Therefore the British government set up the \"watershed\" for TV. This watershed is at 9 p.m. and after that time TV channels may show programmes which are not suitable for children. The watershed should parents help to be aware what kind of programmes are suitable for their children, but many surveys showed parents often ignore the watershed and even the film and video classifications and so 7 out of 10 childen nowadays regularly watch television after the watershed.
Another survey has brought up that many children watch and enjoy violent 18 certificate films. Even 66% of 16 year-olds had watched \"Pulp Fiction\", the Tarantino film starring Uma Thurman which shows explicit violence and drug taking. But the survey also showed that teenagers were very sensitive to realistic violence in TV soaps or real life violence shown on the news.
Is screen violence harmful?
In 1979 a study was published about the link between screen violence and children\'s behaviour. It was a seven year study of more then 1500 British boys and the doctor who conducted that study said in his report that there is as much evidence to link TV with adolescent violence as smoking with lung cancer.
But even after 30 years of research, it is still not possible to prove that watching violence on the screen leads to violent behaviour in children. Specialists also suggest that a violent home life is more likely to make a child violent or to lead it into crime than the violence on TV. They also think that violence on TV does not create aggression where it doesn\'t exist before and that it could just reinforce the anti-social attitudes of people who already have aggressive tendencies. Many people think that violent behaviour in children can be a result of many influences in their lives and not just one. Nevertheless the latest research shows that children who are frequently exposed to violent portrayals are more likely to:
# copy what they see and act violently themselves
# learn the message that violence is a normal and acceptable part of life
# become fearful of the world around them
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) gives parents the following advices to act against unsuitable material.
They should always if it is possible:
# assess the suitability of TV programmes, films and videos for their
children, according to their age and maturity
# supervise or limit the viewing of their children
# teach their children positive viewing habits from an early age
# be aware of film classifications and the 9 o\'clock watershed, to protect
their children from unsiutable material
# influence children\'s attitudes by commenting violence when it arises on the screen
# explain children that screen violence does not necessarly represent real or
# ensure that baby-sitters or childminders are aware which programmes, are
permitted and which not to watch for the children
# check up on their children\'s viewing when when they are with their friends
# watch videos or taped programmes alone first to check the suitability for