Often we hear complaints that our television airwaves are full of violence and that it is harming our society. They argue we are becoming so desensitised to violence in our entertainment that we are becoming more violent in our behaviour as a result. While it may be true that our airwaves are indeed full of violent programs, it is an unfounded claim to say society itself is turning more violent because of it.
If it were true, it is certainly not to be blamed on the television networks. It is not as though they decided one day to force feed us with horrific scenes of bashings and rapes and decaying corpses and we slowly developed a taste for it. Television networks air what viewers want them to air, otherwise they wouldn’t stay in business.
Will Durant once said, “It is not that society is becoming more violent, it’s just there are more newspapers”. When a youth commits a terrible crime, the voices of the sceptics resound. Not only do they blame the television networks, but they blame every other form of media also; computer games are a popular target. If we focus on violent video games for a moment, it is important to keep in mind that the youths that spend hours every day being brainwashed by this mindless form of entertainment probably have parents. Those parents allow their children to sit in front of a screen all day instead of encouraging them to get out and live a little. Surely even sitting in front of a cooking show for hours on end is going to foster anti-social behaviours.
So, to the people who do not like to watch violence, please turn off the television (or change the channel).