Juvenile delinquency results when a child commits a crime that can attract legal action. When a child is accused of breaching the law, the court considers the age of the child, the severity of the crime, as well as the criminal record of the child, if he/she may be having any. The way children behave is a function of how their personality enables them to interpret life occurrences and make necessary behavioral choices. There has been a concern that television violence has contributed much on children’s personality development in the US. Numerous studies undertaken in the US have proved that indeed television violence has led to a rise in juvenile delinquency.
Impact of Television Violence and Juvenile Delinquency
The anxiety about TV violence on viewers’ personality has been in existence since the inception of TV. Crime coverage, suicide cases, and violence have become the prime news on TV in recent times while the actual crime has not changed that much. One aspect that can be construed from the social learning theory is that children usually mold their behavior from the characters that they watch on TV. A research carried out by Kaiser Family Foundation found that children aged 6 years and below in the US spend around two hours per day watching TV or using computers (Siegel and Welsh 111). This is because many children perceive TV images as real, and would prefer associating themselves with the adults portrayed in the commercials.
Watching violent TV programs has been associated with aggressive behaviors among young adults. Children who watch violent TV shows depict aggressive behaviors earlier than those who do not watch violence on TV. According to Siegel and Welsh, a study carried out by Columbia University recognized that kids who spend more than one hour in a day watching TV have shown signs of increased assaults, robberies, violence, and other forms of aggression later in life (112). Viewing TV violence transforms children’s values and encourages violent behavior. If children are exposed to TV viewing for a sizeable part of their days, the reality is that they might start viewing the world as more unsafe than how it is. Since TV news is filled with crime scenes, children are likely to exercise what they are exposed to.
Commercial violence involves attempts by producers to lure people to buy or use their products. However, most commercial adverts have violent scenes that are out of context. The General Aggression Model (GAM) asserts that children are likely to take on aggressive behaviors through learning-activation-application mechanism when they are exposed to media violence (Brocato 98). Many parents ignore the violence depiction parts of commercial advertisements and focus more on what the ads are offering. In fact, many parents believe that commercials expose less violence compared to TV shows, hence, facilitating the chances of children being exposed to TV violence. Children with low IQ are prone to commercial violence, hence, likely to fall into juvenile delinquency.
Television violence has a strong influence over children’s characters. Children are likely to breed aggressive cognitions through a slight exposure to violence of any kind. Most of what is viewed on TV and movie-theater screens fall beyond the powers of federal regulators while the courts have advocated for free expression. Many parents accept that TV violence contributes to juvenile delinquency, but they have no power to control it. If the government would like to minimize homicides and violent crimes in the country, it should endeavor to draft a bill that would check on TV programs. Parents should also be keen on what their children are exposed to, in order to avoid juvenile delinquency.
Brocato, E. Deanne, et al. “Television Commercial Violence.” Journal Of Advertising 39.4 (2010): 95-107. Business Source Complete. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.
Siegel, Larry J, and Brandon Welsh. Juvenile Delinquency: Theory, Practice, and Law. Australia: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.