Television is a handy scapegoat for the ills that our society suffers. Before the advent of television people opined that radio would cause the decline of society. There are many other influences on children besides television. It is lazy thinking to just blame television for children’s use of bad language and violence.
Parents who use bad language and are aggressive and violent, raise children who use bad language and are violent. Parents who do not set standards of behaviour for their children raise an undisciplined, rude and probably foul-mouthed child who is aggressive and probably violent to others when thwarted.
Broadcasters too must take their share of the blame; there is far too much violence in television programmes generally these days. It seems sometimes that they put in a violent scene because they think that the viewer’s attention may wander without a sensational clip. There is too much violence in adult programmes, let alone those actually aimed at children.
Films, too, have sensational unnecessarily violent scenes apparently grafted into them to sell the film, not to tell the story. Some computer games are also extremely violent.
Too many parents do not ensure that the television programmes or video films that their children are watching are suitable for their age and sensibilities. They never check computer games to see whether they are suitable for their child. Children’s computers are often in their bedrooms, where parents cannot see what internet sites their children are looking at. Computers should be in a family area not a child’s bedroom.
Bad language occurs everywhere, on TV in videos, in computer games and in the street. Parents can teach children that bad language is not acceptable but when children hear bad language in other places, it is difficult for them to understand why it is not acceptable. Other adults should be circumspect in their behaviour around children, especially those adults whom children respect, such as aunties and uncles and grandparents and other family members.
Teachers must accept part of the blame, some teachers, of especially secondary school children, try to be a friend to their pupils and use bad language in order to fit in with the children. A teacher is not, and should not try to be, a child’s friend.
Teachers are, in part, right to blame television for children’s use of bad language and violence but that is by no means the whole story. Society itself is really at fault, since parents, teachers, other adults, broadcasters, film makers and computer games producers, all play their part in influencing children’s behaviour. As one child psychologist says “it takes a village to raise a child”.