Essay: Should Sex and Violence on Television Be Restricted?

In a world where sex and violence is part of our everyday lives, not only in fictional form, but also in our neighborhoods, among our friends, in many parts of the world and even on the kid’s playground, it is very hard to restrict television from showing scenes containing graphic images not meant for all audiences to see. It is difficult to go without seeing these images of violence or speaking about sex because it is everywhere. The better question is whether sex and violence should be restricted in order to protect young children from such images? Due to the influence that television has on children and teenagers, sex and violence needs to be restricted on television in order to minimize the negative effects of what is being broadcast.

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Children who are extensively exposed to violence on television are more likely to become socially isolated. Unfortunately, violence does not appear solely in the movies and programs for adults, but also in many cartoons that children, who are not supervised, watch. Children learn many things through imitation. Therefore, it is possible that they try to imitate the heroes and villains they see on television. This can lead to many unwanted and dangerous consequences.

In addition, the social behavior of children who spend many hours almost hypnotized in front of the television set, also changes drastically. These children become less communicative and pursue fewer real life friendships. This can lead to the development of many different types of new personality disorders in the future. Specialists in the field of Child Psychology are not yet equipped to properly deal with severe cases of child aggression caused by the influence of such graphic images.

When is the proper time to start educating children about sexuality is also a question to which there is no right answer yet. Nowadays, parents have many options to choose from when it comes to educating their children about sex. Many books have been adapted for different stages of childhood.

However, sex does appear very often in television and it can be portrayed in a way that it becomes confusing for children and teenagers.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 stated that, within two years of its passage, televisions must be manufactured with a V-chip. This allowed a parent to block television programs that they feel are inappropriate for their children by working together with a television rating system. Television programs, except news and sports, received ratings, and then parents used these ratings to decide which programs they wanted to block.

The first system used was developed by the entertainment industry. It was called the „TV Parental Guidelines,“ and went into effect in January of 1997. This method of rating television shows was very familiar to the general public. It was similar to the Motion Picture Association of America’s system for movies. The original TV Parental Guidelines contained the following four ratings: TV-G (general audience), TV-PG (parental guidance suggested), TV-14 (parents strongly cautioned), and TV-MA (mature audiences only). The One difference between the two systems is that the TV Parental Guidelines included a separate, two-level rating system for children’s programs: TV-Y (all children) and TV-Y7 (directed to older children).

Both the MPAA ratings and the TV Parental Guidelines are „age-based“ systems, meaning they recommend or discourage viewing based on how old viewers are. Both rating systems are missing any indication of what material content is in a given movie or television program or why it might be not suitable for viewers of a certain age.

Fortunately, however, the TV Parental Guidelines were revised. Because of the intense criticism that the system received, the industry agreed to modify the existing system to include ratings that would indicate what kind of content appears in programs. The letters V, S, L, and D were added to indicate the presence of violence, sex, language, and suggestive dialogue. The letters „FV,” indicating „fantasy violence,” were then added to the children’s ratings to warn parents of the presence of „more intense“ violence in those programs. The revised TV Parental Guidelines went into effect in October of 1997.

This is a great resource for parents to use in order to determine the appropriateness of what their kids watch. Sexual content and violence in television can’t be avoided. Sex and violence should be restricted from children, and this gives parents the option of choosing what content to restrict on an individual basis, depending on their child’s maturity level. This is a good solution; it provides an opportunity to protect kids from graphic images which have potential to damage a child. Overall, this is one of the best solutions to restrict sex and violence on an individual level, and leaving the responsibility to the parents of what content should be allowed in their home.

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Reference Page
Nathanson, Amy. “Protecting Children from Harmful Television: TV Ratings and the V-chip.” Parenthood in America.

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